Chandigarh, Oct 24 (IANS) The ruling BJP in Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday won 40 seats but failed to cross the halfway mark in the 90-member Assembly.
Also all the party’s state ministers, except two, lost the polls, including Anil Vij and party chief Subhash Barala.
However, the rival Congress won 31 seats, while the less than 12-month-old Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which broke away from the state’s once major regional Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) owing to family disputes, won 10 seats.
The INLD won a lone seat against 19 in 2014 Assembly election. Eight independents have also won.
While Khattar retained his Karnal seat with a comfortable margin, two-time Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda too managed to win in his bastion of Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak district.
Khattar won by 45,188 votes over his nearest rival Tarlochan Singh of the Congress.
BJP’s outgoing ministers Captain Abhimanyu, O.P. Dhankar, Ram Bilas Sharma, Kavita Jain, Krishan Lal Panwar, Manish Grover, and Krishan Kumar Bedi, all ended up with humiliating defeats.
But BJP candidate and Public Health and Engineering Minister Banwari Lal won the Bawal seat. Also Health Minister Anil Vij retained his seat from Ambala Cantonment.
Two sitting ministers, Rao Narbir Singh and Vipul Goel, were denied tickets and fresh faces were brought in.
Sitting Congress legislator Kuldeep Bishnoi, whose hotel worth Rs 150 crore in a prime location of Gurugram has been attached by the Income Tax department, retained his stronghold of Adampur by defeating his nearest rival and TikTok celebrity Sonali Phogat of the BJP by over 29,000 votes.
JJP chief Dushyant Chautala and his mother Naina Chautala won the Uchana Kalan and Badhra seats, respectively.
Outgoing Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu, who lost to JJP candidate and BJP rebel Ram Kumar Gautam in the Narnaud constituency in Hisar district by a margin of 12,029 votes, admitted his defeat during counting.
With it becoming clear that the BJP would not form the government on its own, its state unit chief Subhash Barala also lost the Tohana Assembly seat in Fatehabad district by more than 20,000 votes to JJP’s Devender Singh Babli.
Barala has quashed rumours of his resignation from his post after his defeat.
BJP candidate and former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh defeated Congress’ Mandeep Chatha in Pehowa. This was the BJP’s first win in the constituency.
While BJP candidate and international wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt faced defeat, another of its candidates, wrestler Babita Phogat, emerged third in the Dadri constituency in Bhiwani.
Another prominent defeat for the BJP is its sitting legislator Prem Lata, 59, wife of former Union minister Birender Singh, who was defeated by JJP chief Dushyant Chautala, great grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal.
Congress’ national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, who lost by a mere 1,246 votes to BJP’s Leela Ram, conceded defeat from Kaithal.
Surjewala, a two-time MLA, was seeking his third term from Kaithal, once a known stronghold of the Surjewala family.
Congress leader Kiran Chaudhary, however, retained her Tosham seat by over 12,000 votes.
The Congress candidate from Ferozepur Jhirka in Mewat, Mamman Khan, defeated BJP’s Naseem Ahmed, an INLD defector. Ahmed had won this seat in the 2014 and 2009 Assembly elections.
BJP’s Zakir Hussain, who was the sitting legislator in Nuh constituency, lost his seat to Congress’ Aftab Ahmed as the latter won by a margin of 4,038 votes.
BJP’s Pramod Vij and Mahipal Dhanda won Panipat City and Rural seats, respectively.
The JJP appears set to play kingmaker in the state. Dushyant Chautala said he has called a meeting of the party executive at 11 a.m. on Friday in Delhi to discuss the party’s strategy.
JJP candidate Ram Niwas won from Narwana (reserved). He contested against BJP’s Santosh Rai. JJP candidate Ram Karan won from Shahbad (reserved) by a margin of 37,127 votes against BJP’s Krishan Kumar.
Another JJP candidate Amarjeet Dhanda has won from Julana beating the incumbent Parminder Singh Dhull, who switched to the BJP from the INLD.
Independent candidate Nayan Pal Rawat won from Prithala.
INLD’s Abhay Chautala won the party’s lone seat of Ellenabad.
Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) President Gopal Kanda registered a win from Sirsa seat. He extended unconditional support to the BJP.
After winning his seat, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the mandate is against the BJP government.
“The mandate is against the current government of Haryana, and all parties should come together to form a strong government whether it’s JJP, BSP, INLD or independent candidates,” Hooda told reporters.