Murmurs in the corridors of power about early assembly elections in Haryana have put the main political parties and politicians into drive mode — quite literally.
Top politicians and parties have opted for different modes of transport in this political season to drive home their respective political messages to the voters in Haryana.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is claiming that it will have over 100,000 motorcycles ready next month to be flagged off by BJP national president Amit Shah on February 15.
The party’s ministers, legislators and leaders have been asked to arrange a minimum of 1,100 motorcycles from each of the 90 assembly constituencies in the state so that the BJP is prepared to give itself a second term in office as an when the elections are held.
“Amit Shah will flag off the motorcycle rally from Hisar. The campaign will highlight the achievements of the BJP governments in Haryana and the Centre,” said Haryana BJP media in-charge Rajiv Jain.
Even though the assembly polls are scheduled for October 2019, there are indications that the first BJP government in Haryana, led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, could opt for simultaneous polls along with the Lok Sabha (general) elections at the end of this year or early next year.
Khattar’s government came to power in the state in October 2014, with the BJP winning a majority on its own for the first time in the assembly polls.
The Chief Minister has become an open votary of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls in states, a proposal mooted earlier by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — and given a thumbs-down by most opposition parties.
As the BJP gears itself for the elections, the opposition is not exactly in a sleep mode. Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda has already announced his “Rath Yatra” across all 90 assembly constituencies starting at the end of February.
“There is complete failure of law and order in Haryana. Rapes, murders and other crimes are increasing. The state has no governance,” Hooda told IANS here.
Hooda will use a modified mini-bus as his chosen mode of transport to counter the BJP’s motorcycle campaign.
“Hooda will cover two constituencies every week, including villages and towns, during the Rath Yatra,” Hooda’s media adviser Sunil Parti told IANS.
Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar, whose political differences with Hooda within the party are well known, has chosen to ride on a bicycle for his political campaign across Haryana from February.
“The dates of Tanwar’s ‘Cycle Yatra’ and Hooda’s Rath Yatra will clash, but the faction-ridden Congress in Haryana is not yet bothered about it.
“Congress leaders like national spokesman Randeep Surjewala and former minister Kiran Chaudhary are also not on the same page with these leaders,” a sitting Congress legislator admitted to IANS.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which is the main opposition party in the assembly, has still not opened its cards on the mode of transport for its electoral campaign, but its young MP from Hisar, Dushyant Chautala, recently chose to ride a green-coloured tractor to Parliament House in New Delhi.
“I rode the tractor to protest against the amended rules of the Motor Vehicles Act which no longer mentions tractor as an agricultural vehicle. This will lead to tractor prices going up and farmers will be forced to pay toll for using it to transport goods,” said Dushyant, 29, one of the youngest Members of Parliament.
By : Jaideep Sarin
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])