Assembly Election 2019: A Preview On Haryana Polity

Election Commissioner of India has declared the dates for the assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra. Both states will go for polling on October 21, 2019, and the counting will be done on  October 24, 2019. Thus, it’s time for a pre-poll analysis. In this article, I am taking up the scenario of Haryana.

Haryana polity has changed significantly since 2014. Until 2009, the major parties in Haryana were Congress and INLD (Indian National Lok Dal). In 2009 assembly election, Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress party beat the anti-incumbency and got 40 seats with a vote share of 35.08%. This was a loss of 7.38% vote share and 27 seats compared to the 2005 assembly election where INC got a vote share of 42.46% and 67 seats. This can be understood because Congress contested the 2009 assembly election against anti-incumbency.

INLD had a vote share of 29.61% in 2000 assembly election but could win 47 seats because of its alliance with BJP, which got around 8.94% vote share and six seats. In 2005, INLD contested alone and got just nine seats with 26.77% vote share. In 2009, INLD got 25.79% votes, yet it got 31 seats which are far less from a majority; thus, Bhupinder Singh-led Congress retained power, taking support from independents and others. Till 2009, BJP had a vote share of less than or equal to 9%.

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However, BJP’s fortune changed since 2014 general election where the “Modi Magic” worked fully. In the general election, BJP got an astounding increase of its vote share up to 34.7%, whereas Congress and INLD got a 22.9% and 24.4% vote share respectively. Seat-wise BJP won 7 out of 10, whereas Congress won one seat and INLD won two seats. Point to be noted here is that the BJP took away most of the vote share from Congress and other parties, whereas INLD was able to maintain its vote share losing some 2%.

In the 2014 assembly election, BJP, Congress and INLD got 33.2%, 20.6% and 24.1%. The interesting point is that all three parties lost some vote share compared to the 2014 general election. The reason is simple. In the general election, Narendra Modi was the face, whereas in the assembly election there was no face for BJP. Yet, the anti-incumbency against Congress was so high that people chose BJP as the party giving them 47 seats. Some other small parties and independents increased their vote share.

In the 2019 general election, the scenario completely changed. BJP got 58.02% vote share and won all 10 seats. Congress increased its vote share a little (28.42% vote share) compared to its 2014 vote share. But INLD was defeated utterly getting just 1.89% vote share. Thus, the story for the 2019 general election is that INLD is sent to oblivion and all its vote share has simply been transferred to BJP. Narendra Modi’s magic is alright, but INLD’s downfall was mostly due to its corruption and nepotism.

Now the question is, who will win in 2019 assembly election? Will it follow the 2014 trend or will it be any different? To understand this, we have to look into the demographic distribution and acceptability of parties.

As per the 2011 census, Haryana has 87.46% Hindus, 7.03% Muslims and 4.91% Sikhs. Among Hindus, the caste/community-wise distribution is Punjabi (10.3%), Brahmin (8.4%), Baniya (6.6%), Jat (27.8%), Yadav/Ahir (10%), Rajput (3.1%), Gujjar (2.2%), Dalits (21%), others (8.9%). Here, it must be noted that Jats are the largest community, around 27.8%. Both INLD and Congress used to win elections because of the equation of Jat+Muslims+Dalits. Jats were politically effective vote bank till 2009. In 2014, it’s said that the BJP won because of complete polarisation of non-Jat votes.

But then, in the 2019 general election, it’s seen that BJP got support from all communities including Jats. According to a report, the BJP, in the 2019 general election, got 74% of non-Jat upper caste votes, 50% Jats, 73% OBC, 58% SC and 14% Muslims votes. That means BJP increased its vote share by 26% from Non-Jats, 31% from Jats, 30% from OBC, 39% from SC and even 5% from Muslims. That means BJP has destroyed the vote bank politics and caste equations in Haryana polity.

An assembly election is always different from the general election. The state-level issues always come into play, and regional players sometimes play key roles. Manohar Lal Khattar is not so popular, but then Congress is in disarray, INLD looks lost, and other new parties are yet to show some credibility. The AAP has failed to win any trust either. Thus, looking at all these factors, I think BJP will retain the power even if it loses 10-15% vote share compared to its general election performance in May this year.

Just a caveat is that speculating on Indian voter’s mood is always a risky affair and I might be horribly wrong. But then, the statistics say that BJP will retain Haryana in the upcoming assembly election. What’s your opinion based on the above data?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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