Turmoil and test: On Haryana politics  


Haryana is in political turmoil after three independent MLAs withdrew their support to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its former coalition partner, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), offered support to the Congress to form an alternative government. In the 90-member State Assembly, which currently has an effective strength of 88, the BJP government led by Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini appears to be in a minority with 43 MLAs by its side — it needs 45 for a majority. But BJP leaders assert that their government is under ‘no threat’ and if there be any need, ‘other MLAs’ will support them — an indicator of support from disgruntled MLAs of the JJP. The Congress and the JJP have come out all guns blazing at the BJP, but appear to be moving with a guarded approach by putting the onus to initiate the process of bringing down the incumbent government on each other. Both parties have asked Governor Bandaru Dattatreya to intervene. While the Congress has demanded immediate Assembly polls under President’s rule, the JJP has asked the Governor to seek an immediate ‘floor test’ to determine the majority of the incumbent government in the Legislative Assembly.

The Congress and the JJP are trying to consolidate their base in the midst of the general election and in the run-up to the Assembly election, which is due to be held in normal course in October. At least two of the 10 JJP MLAs have declared their support to BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha polls, and it is getting hard for the JJP to keep its flock together. After parting ways with the BJP, the JJP, which draws its support largely from the agrarian class, primarily the Jat community, has upped the ante against its former partner. In March this year, when the BJP replaced Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar with Nayab Singh Saini, it indicated the party’s strategy to sharpen its caste-based politics pivoting towards the non-Jat constituency. Haryana witnessed a violent pro-Jat quota stir in the year 2016 and the agitation left Jats and non-Jats pitted against each other, straining inter-community relations. The Congress appears to be channelising its energy to form the next government for a full term of five years, instead of focusing on any possibility of a short-term gain. The political turmoil has cast a long shadow of doubt on the Saini government’s legislative majority. The Governor should take appropriate measures to clear the doubts regarding the numbers.

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