When the results of the Assembly elections are declared next week, they are likely to show a clean sweep for the Congress in Haryana. The exit polls are unanimous on this point and reports from the ground also suggest a one-sided race.
Whatever anti-incumbency mood exists against the Bhupinder Singh Hooda Government has been dissipated by a three-way split in the opposition votes. A grand alliance against the Congress may be what the doctor ordered but there was never any chance of Om Prakash Chauthala and Kuldeep Bishnoi joining hands. Yet, there could have been a more credible contest had the BJP (which is the fourth party in the race) entered into an alliance with either Chauthala or Bishnoi.
There is a story behind the BJP's suicidal policy of going it alone, a step that may at best yield a couple of seats.
Why was the alliance with Chauthala's INLD broken? There was no decision of the BJP Parliamentary Board and neither was the matter referred to the NDA convenor to resolve.
According to INLD sources, Chauthala was willing for a 61-29 division of seats, the basis on which the earlier Assembly election was fought. Quite inexplicably, the BJP demanded a 45-45 division, a preposterous suggestion, which Chauthala naturally rejected. The BJP then unilaterally announced the end of its alliance with INLD.
However, Bishnoi was also interested in a tie-up with the BJP. He had been interested even during the LS poll. Bishnoi was also more accommodating in terms of seats and there was a harmony between the social bases of both parties.
The BJP, it seems, was not interested. It said that there was no question of acknowledging Bishnoi as a CM candidate in the unlikely event the alliance won. The talks ended without ever becoming serious.
The overall impression was that the BJP was not serious about defeating the Congress. It actually seemed intent on giving Hooda a walkover.
The grapevine in BJP circles now indicate that this partiality towards the Congress didn't stem from ideological pig-headedness but from straight forward commercial compulsions.
At the heart of the matter is a property development company, with capital drawn ostensibly from overseas tax havens but controlled by a NRI relative of a well-known BJP fixer. That company, which has suddenly acquired a high profile in both Haryana and outer Delhi was the instrument by which the Congress neutralised the opposition--by keeping it horribly divided.
The whole thing was a straight-forward commercial quid pro quo.
The same group of carpetbaggers are also behind the persistence with which Vasundhara Raje is being targeted.
The rot is at the top of the BJP. The RSS ombudsmen know about it but choose to keep quiet. No wonder some fixers are happy to deal with these ideological warriors. It's a question of low investments and high returns.
As the BJP drifts into irrelevance, some leaders have decided to mortgage politics to commerce. Haryana is a shining example of the perversions that have crept in.
No wonder the Congress is having a ball. It has managed the BJP. A sobering thought for this festive season.