A year ago, the Bharatiya Janata Party is unlikely to have even considered fighting the Haryana assembly election without an ally. But now, it is hoping that the Modi wave so evident in the general elections in May will sweep it to power in Haryana for the first time. Eager to get leap into the fray, BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday flagged off the party's campaign in the state even though the date of the assembly election – due later this year – has not been announced.

Though the BJP has not been especially prominent in the northern state thus far, the Lok Sabha elections seem to have changed its fortunes. The saffron party won seven of the state's 10 Lok Sabha constituencies.

An ABP News-Nielson pre-poll survey has predicted that of the 90 seats in the assembly, the BJP is likely to get 46, the Indian National Lok Dal could get 19, and the Congress 13.

In addition to capitalising on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity, the BJP is hoping to ride on the disenchantment many voters have expressed with Chief Minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda-led Congress government. In fact, the saffron party seems confident enough to reconsider the pact it struck with the Haryana Janhit Congress in 2011.

Despite these advantages, the BJP has a few challenges to overcome.  The biggest problem is that the party does not have an obvious choice to be chief minister.

Here are other variables that the party will have to consider in Haryana.

Jat votes

The majority of the state's voters belong to the Jat community, which has traditionally supported the Indian National Lok Dal. If the BJP wants to capture power in the state, it will be essential for it to win these votes.

Fortunately for the BJP, there are rumours that approximately 20 Jat leaders of both the Congress and INLD are likely to join saffron party. If they do this, the leaders will be following the example of Chaudhary Birendra Singh, a powerful Jat leader who recently quit the Congress to join the BJP.

Singh shifted his political loyalties after Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh  promised him a significant position if their party forms the next government.

Capitalising on Bhupender Singh Hooda’s errors

The Congress government headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda is facing a major credibility crisis in the light of allegations of corruption and nepotism in government jobs. As a result, several big names have deserted it. Three of the winning BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha elections – Rao Inderjit Singh (Gurgaon), Ramesh Chander Kaushik (Sonepat) and Dharambir Bhaleram (Bhiwani- Mahendragarh) – were imports from the Congress.

The BJP could have a lot to gain by effectively driving this home to voters

Alliance with Haryana Janhit Congress

The party has not yet made a clear statement about its plans for its alliance with Kuldeep Bishnoi-led Haryana Janhit Congress. However, Shah has openly been telling his cadres to work hard and ensure that the party is able to come to power without a tie-up.

Bishnoi has been eyeing the CM’s chair for the last two years and Shah's statement has him worried. However, he is aware that without an alliance with the BJP, it will be difficult for his party to perform well in the assembly election.

For the BJP, the alliance with the Haryana Janjit Congress will only matter if it is unable to get clear majority. Hence, while it has not closed the door on the alliance, it hasn't put out the welcome mat either.

INLD threat

The INLD could turn out to be the BJP’s biggest threat. Though the Om Prakash Chautala-led party has not been in power for the last decade, it has the support of the majority Jat community.

The INLD released its first list of 62 candidates on August 2 and they have already started campaigning. The BJP will release the names of its candidates only on August 20.