Haryana will go to the polls for 46 municipal bodies on Sunday and the result will be announced on June 22.
As BJP-JJP vie for the party symbol in a seat-sharing arrangement, all eyes are on how AAP, which is running solo and making its debut in the Haryana municipal body polls, will fare.
Although AAP contested 46 of Haryana’s 90 assembly constituencies in the 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls, it was a landslide defeat.
In most seats, the party’s candidates were unable to save their security deposits and were voted below the 1,000 mark. AAP’s percentage of votes in the 2019 assembly polls was around 0.48 percent, while for NOTA it was 0.53 percent. Before that, AAP had formed an alliance with the Dushyant Chautala-led JJP in Haryana for the Lok Sabha elections held in April-May 2019, but failed to make a mark. Eventually, both parties ended their alliance.
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However, building on its stupendous victory in the Punjab assembly polls, where the AAP won 92 of 117 seats, the municipal body polls will be the first test for the AAP in neighboring Haryana.
AAP has decided to go solo and its candidates will compete for the party symbol. Party sources said it would also help the party check the strength of its cadre and weaknesses at the grassroots level, especially when Congress is already out of the race. Congress has announced that the party would only support candidates, but would not compete for the party symbol.
Voting is scheduled to take place in 28 municipal committees and 18 municipal councils from 7 am to 6 pm. This time, due to the likelihood of an extreme heat wave, the voting time was extended by one hour. If necessary, the re-scrutiny will take place on June 21.
State Elections Commissioner Dhanpat Singh said: “Elections for Faridabad Municipal Corporation and three other municipalities will be held later while the voter list review is underway. Elaborate arrangements have been made for the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections. An adequate police force will be deployed to maintain law and order in polling stations, especially in sensitive and hyper-sensitive areas.”
BJP in its manifesto has mainly made more than two dozen promises. These include LED/solar street lights, playground equipment, new parks, renovation of cremation grounds, vending zones that provide vendor licenses to street vendors, new community centers, road repair/repaint, better water supply and sewage lines, better rainwater drainage system, door-to-door garbage collection, mobile/community toilets, corporate buildings, front doors, night food streets, regularization of illegal neighborhoods, simplification of property tax regulations, land distribution schemes, CCTV to keep crime rates under control, developing new gaushalas, better markets, dealing with the threat of stray dogs, etc.
While addressing a public rally in Kurukshetra last month, Kejriwal had called on Haryana voters to give him a chance by promising that he would improve Haryana’s education system and schools, just as he did in Delhi. Former Congress leaders Ashok Tanwar, Nirmal Singh and Chitra Sarwara also joined the AAP ahead of the MC polls.
According to the agreement between BJP and JJP, out of the total 18 municipal council seats, BJP would compete for 14 while JJP would contest four seats, including Narwana, Tohana, Dabwali and Nuh. The decision on the election of 28 municipal committees has been left by both parties to the leaders at the local level.
For the BJP and JJP candidates, the ongoing protests against Agnipath’s policy and last year’s farmers’ protests are also likely to present a difficult challenge.
However, the leaders of both parties are confident that their candidates will emerge victorious.
4712 distributed EVMs
“A total of 4,712 EVMs have been distributed for municipal council and municipal elections. The police have been ordered to carry out additional patrols and blockades in the electoral areas. Proper arrangements have been made for drinking water and toilets in the polling booths,” said Dhanpat Singh.