" As the elections draw closer, both sides appear to be waiting for the other to blink first and walk out of the alliance. None wants to take the blame for breaking the alliance."
By Jaideep Sarin

Chandigarh, Aug 12 - As Haryana heads towards assembly polls, the big question in political circles is who will blink first and break their alliance: the BJP or the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC)?

With BJP's new national president Amit Shah indicating in New Delhi Saturday that the party wants to win the Haryana battle on its own, the writing is clearly on the wall for the alliance.

This has forced HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi, son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, to ask the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership to clear the air on whether the alliance is still on or not.

Bishnoi, HJC sources said, has written to Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bishnoi has accused state BJP leaders of making statements against him, the HJC and the BJP-HJC alliance.

Bishnoi has sought a meeting with BJP's Shah. Bishnoi said the meeting need not be held if Shah has not taken a unilateral decision to end the alliance.

With the dates for the election of the 90-member house likely to be fixed in the next few days, both the parties seem to be getting edgy on whether to be friends or not.

If the alliance breaks, HJC president Kuldeep Bishnoi will be responsible. HJC leaders are making illogical statements, said Jagdish Mukhi, the BJP in-charge for Haryana.

Other Haryana BJP leaders like state president Ram Bilas Sharma and leader of BJP group in the assembly Anil Vij have been vocal about ending the alliance with the HJC.

The problem with the alliance erupted after the Lok Sabha election. The BJP contested eight seats and won seven. The HJC contested two seats and lost both. Bishnoi himself was defeated at Hisar.

The BJP, which allied with the HJC in 2011, was earlier ready to play second fiddle to the HJC. BJP leaders like then president Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj, who sewed up the alliance, had even publicly declared that Bishnoi will be chief minister if the alliance was voted to power.

With the Lok Sabha poll results giving new confidence to the BJP, the party is not ready to offer too much to the HJC, let alone making Bishnoi the chief minister.

Rajya Sabha MP and senior Congress leader Birender Singh, who is all set to join the BJP, said: Bishnoi and the HJC have the capability to win in 7-10 assembly seats. The BJP cannot offer more than that.

The BJP, before its present alliance with the HJC, was allied with the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) of former chief minister Bansi Lal and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) of former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala.

It is for the first time that the BJP is confident of winning on its own. It does not want to carry any baggage in a post-poll scenario. Whether it can win is a gamble the BJP leadership wants to play, said a senior HJC leader.

As the elections draw closer, both sides appear to be waiting for the other to blink first and walk out of the alliance. None wants to take the blame for breaking the alliance.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])


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