As clock ticks on Haryana Assembly election results, which will be declared on October 24, both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress expressed confidence that they will secure a comfortable majority. The results will determine whether the BJP-led NDA will return to power in the state. While most exit polls predicted a landslide victory for the BJP, Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja insisted that her party would form the next government in the state.
The main contest is between the BJP led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Congress under the leadership of two-times chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. The saffron party, which had 48 members in the outgoing Assembly, is eyeing 75 seats. Apart from these two, Om Prakash Chautala's Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Dushyant Chautala-led Janata Jannayak Party (JJP) are also in the fray. The JJP, a breakaway faction of the INLD, is also hoping for an improvement in its prospects following the Lok Sabha setback
Here are some of the key constituencies to watch out for ahead of the declaration of results.
Karnal: In Karnal, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is pitted against Congress candidate Trilochan Singh. Khattar seems to have an edge and is seeking a second term. He won the seat in 2014 with a margin of over 60,000 votes. Karnal is one of the 100 cities to be developed as a smart city under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Smart Cities Mission. Karnal also has one of the highest incomes per capita in Haryana and is ranked 24 out of over 4,000 cities in the Swachh Survekshan 2019. Karnal has a significantly higher sex ratio than its neighbouring constituencies. Faridabad: Faridabad is the largest constituency in Haryana. Some of the key areas that come under the Faridabad constituency seat are Prithla, Faridabad NIT, Badhkal, Ballabhgarh and Faridabad urban area. In 2014 elections the BJP candidate Vipul Goel defeated Anand Kaushik of the Congress from Faridabad with a margin of over 72,000 votes. This year, the saffron party's campaigning was revolved around development issues like the two new peripheral expressways that go around Delhi through Faridabad and Gurgaon, 24-hour electricity and promise to bring more investment. Badshahpur: This constituency has the largest elector population in Haryana. As per the 2011 census, of the total 3,79,073 population in Badshahpur, 30.23 percent is rural and 69.77 percent is urban. The candidates contesting from Badshahpur include BJP's Manish Yadav, Maman Yadav of Swaraj India, Chanderpal of BSC party, Rishiraj Rana from the JJP, Sonu Thakran of the INLD and Rajesh of Janta party. Nineteen candidates are in the fray from Badshahpur, as per the district election office. Dharam Pal of the Congress Party has won the seat over an independent candidate named Rakesh by securing 50,557 votes in 2009 polls. However, the BJP ascended after receiving a massive mandate in 2014. Its candidate Narbir Singh received 86,672 votes. Punhana: The 27-year-old Nauksham Chaudhary is in race against Congress’s Mohammad Iliyas, who won the seat in 2009. For Nauksham, this brawl would be hard-headed as Punhana falls in the Muslim-dominated Mewat district, which has about 5 lakh voters. Around 80 percent of the voters are Muslims and the remaining 20 percent are Hindus. This seat is intractable for the BJP because in 2014 Haryana assembly elections, in defiance of the BJP's nationwide upsurge invigorated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity, the party couldn't even manage second place in any of the three assembly seats of Mewat - Punhana, Ferozepur Jhirka and Nuh. Garhi Sampla-Kiloi: Bhupinder Singh Hooda had a historic victory against INLD candidate Satish Kumar in the 2009 Assembly Elections. He won the Garhi Sampla-Kiloi seat by securing five times more votes than Kumar. It was the first time since 1972 that the ruling party had returned to power in Haryana. In 2014, Kumar lost to Hooda again by a margin of 47,185 votes. Krishnan from INLD, Bhupinder Singh Hooda from Congress and Satish Nandal from the BJP are trying their luck in the constituency in 2019. Adampur: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded TikTok sensation and TV actress Sonali Singh Phogat against three-time Congress MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi, younger son of late Bhajan Lal, from the Adampur assembly constituency. Adampur has been a pocket borough of the Lal Clan and a good right arm of Congress. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal had won two assembly elections from this seat in 2000 and 2005. After Bhajan Lal, his son Kuldeep Bishnoi won two consecutive elections from this seat. His wife Renuka Bishnoi, who is currently Hansi MLA, had also won a bypoll from this constituency in 2011 after Kuldeep Bishnoi contested and won the Lok Sabha election. Dadri: The Dadri assembly seat was pumped up by the debut of Commonwealth Games medal winner wrestler Babita Phogat. She is contesting from the seat where no party has won consecutive terms in the past four elections. The 29-year-old BJP candidate is set against battle-scarred politicians such as Satpal Sangwan of the JJP and Nirpender Singh Sangwan of the Congress. Both have won this seat earlier -- by margins of less than 2,000 votes. Baroda: In the year 2009 Baroda held its first elections as an unreserved constituency. In 2009 and 2014 elections Sri Krishan Hooda from Congress gained victory against INLD’s Kapoor Singh Narwal. Jogendra Malik from INLD, Naresh from Bahujan Samaj Party, Krishan Hooda from Congress and Yogeshwar Dutt from the BJP are trying their luck in the constituency in 2019 among others. The BJP has never won from this seat; it has been represented either by the Congress or the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the past.Pehowa: Pehowa is one of the very few places where the BJP did not win in the 2014 Assembly elections in Haryana. The ruling BJP is banking on former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh, once popular for his drag flicks, to knock the bottom out of the stronghold of the Indian National Lok Dal and the Congress. The Congress had won the seat five times since 1967 while the INLD has won it twice. Manjit Singh from INLD, Onkar Singh from Bahujan Samaj Party, Mandeep Singh Chatha from Congress and Sandeep Singh from the BJP are trying their luck in the constituency in 2019 among others.