There exists a Jat-Belt in Haryana that runs across Sonipat, Jhajjar, and Rohtak. Every party has always been desperate to crack the strategy to ‘rule’ the Jat-Belt. And the same election story has begun again. The Jat-belt and its politics have again become the talk of the town as the incumbent BJP has set its goal to crack the ‘Jat strategy’ in this upcoming assembly elections, thus reducing the party’s dependency on the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP).
BJP’s plan to woo Jats
BJP has a habit of preparing for elections years before the arrival of the election. The party is enacting the same practice in the northern state of Haryana as the party has begun its outreach programme for the assembly elections scheduled for 2024.
The saffron party has decided to launch an outreach programme on May 30, this year that will go on for a month. It has been proposed that ministers and leaders will go among the people of the state to spread the word about the welfare schemes of the central as well as state government. Reportedly, BJP has also drawn a list of beneficiaries and will hold conventions with them. The party finds it necessary as both general elections and assembly elections are adjacently scheduled in the year 2024.
The Haryana state unit of the Bhartiya Janta Party has pulled up its socks in order to woo the deciding factor; the Jats in the state. This move of the BJP can be seen as an attempt to reduce its dependency on its ally JJP, for the Jat votes. As the nationalist party could only grab 40 seats in the 90 seat Haryana Legislative assembly, it had to join hands with the JJP to form the government.
The need to secure the ‘Jat’ belt
The Jats form a major chunk of Haryana’s population. The traditionally agricultural community constitutes more than 30 per cent of Haryana’s population. There lies the reason why 7 out of 10 CMs of the state have been picked from the same community.
Haryana has been an undefeatable bastion of the Bhartiya Janta Party, especially after 2014, but the impact was related to the parliamentary elections only. The saffron party that led in the general elections from the front was struggling in the assembly elections. The party that swept the state by winning all the 10 seats of the state, could manage to win only 40 out of 90 seats, that too with a lot of struggles.
The main dent suffered by the BJP was in the region dominated by the Jat community. The Jat belt which includes the districts of Hisar, Jind, Bhiwani, Sonipat, Jhajjar and Rohtak split between Congress and the Jannayak Janata Party. Five out of six giant Jat leaders of the BJP experienced a crushing defeat, which include leaders like ex-Finance minister Captain Abhimanyu, Agriculture minister Om Prakash Dhankar, BJP state chief Subhash Barala.
It was due to this upsetting performance of the BJP, that Chautala’s JJP emerged as the kingmaker, and BJP had to do a post-poll alliance in order to form the government.
The elections in the recent past have made it clear that after drifting away from the Congress party, the Jat voter base has relied on either OP Chautala’s INLD or the newly formed JJP. Keeping in mind the Jat reservation agitation and the anti-Farm laws protest it can be said that the Jat voter base is in a dilemma and is looking for a leader who cares for them. This is an opportunity the BJP is all set to grab with its outreach programme and turn the Jats into a loyal vote bank.