Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday travelled by train from Chandigarh to Karnal and then rode a bicycle to reach a polling booth to cast his vote. Polling in the 90 assembly constituencies began on Monday morning. Khattar said he had a lively interaction with co-passengers during his train journey to Karnal.
“I travelled by Jan Shatabdi train to reach Karnal. Then I travelled in a e-rickshaw and then rode a bicycle to reach the polling booth,” he told reporters after casting his vote in Karnal, from where the 65-year-old first-time MLA is seeking re-election.
Sharing his experience about the two-hour train journey Khattar tweeted, “had a lively interaction with my co-passengers during my journey to Karnal to cast my vote!”
The ruling BJP-led by Khattar is locking horns with the redemption-seeking Congress and unexperienced JJP of Dushyant Chautala for the 90-member Haryana Legislative Assembly. As many as 1,169 candidates of various political parties, including the BJP, Congress, INLD, JJP, Akali Dal and others, are in the fray for the 90 seats. While the Congress is hopping to improve its prospects following the Lok Sabha debacle, the BJP has set eyes on 75-seat target. Currently, the saffron party has 48 legislators in the 90-member state Assembly.
Dushyant Chautala's Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), is also looking to make inroads into the state after miserable outing in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year. The JJP was formed after a feud among the Chautalas in December last year.
While the main contest is between the Congress and the BJP, the JJP, BSP, AAP, INLD-SAD coalition, Swaraj India and the Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) have also thrown the hat into the ring, even though most of them are not fighting on all 90 seats. In the 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP for the first time came to power in Haryana on its own strength.
As far as the poll campaigning is concerned, the BJP made revoking provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan a major poll plank. The Congress and other Opposition parties targeted the ruling governments in both states over rising unemployment, slumping economy, farmers distress, alleged scams and "deteriorating" law and order situation.