Several top ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana lost in the Assembly elections held on Monday. As the votes were counted on Thursday it became apparent that neither the BJP nor the Congress had majority in the 90-member House.
Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, a five-time MLA, lost to the Congress candidate Rao Dan Singh in Mahendragarh constituency, by 10,471 votes. Another Cabinet minister, Captain Abhimanyu, lost the Narnaund seat to Jannayak Janta Party’s Ram Kumar Gautam by 12,070 votes.
There were reports that Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala had resigned from his post after the party failed to maintain its dominance in the state. However, Barala later denied such rumours. A minister himself, Barala lost to Jannayak Janta Party’s Devender Singh Babli in Tohana by 52,281 votes.
Women and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain lost to Congress candidate Surender Panwar by 32,861 votes in Sonipat. Minister of State Manish Grover lost to Congress’s BB Batra in Rohtak constituency by 2,678 votes. In Radaur, Food & Supplies Minister Karan Dev Kamboj lost to the Congress by over 2,000 votes. Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar lost to Congress leader Balbir Singh in Israna, a reserved seat, by 20,049 votes.
State Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal, who represented Jagadhri, however won by over 16,000 votes against Akram Khan of the Congress. Senior minister and five-time MLA Anil Vij won in Ambala Cantonment by 20,080 votes against Independent candidate Chitra Sarwra.
Karan Dev, another minister, lost to the Congress candidate in Radaur, Bishan Lal, by 2,541 votes. State minister Krishan Lal Panwar lost in Israna to Congress candidate Balbir Singh by 20,015 votes, and Om Prakash Dhankhar, who heads the agriculture ministry, lost Badli to Kuldeep Vats of the Congress by 11,245 votes.
In Jagadhri constituency, Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal of the BJP beat Congress candidate Akram Khan by 16,373 votes. Pal was trailing earlier in the day.
Two key Cabinet members who won their constituencies with a significant margin were Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Karnal and Health Minister Anil Vij in Ambala Cantonment. Khattar beat Congress’ Tarlochan Singh by 41,950 votes, while Vij won with a margin of 20,165 votes.
Besides Anil Vij, public health minister Banwari Lal was the only other minister from Khattar’s Cabinet to retain his seat. Lal won the Bawal seat by 32,326 votes.
The Congress and the BJP are locked in a neck-and-neck fight for the 90-seat Haryana Assembly, defying exit poll predictions. According to the Election Commission, the Bharatiya Janata Party has so far won 33 seats and is leading in seven others. The Congress has won 28 and is ahead in three, while the Jannayak Janta Party, which is fighting its first election, won 10 seats. Independent candidates won seven seats, while the Haryana Lokhit Party and the Indian National Lok Dal have each won one seat.
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