With a third of the votes counted, it looks like Haryana is headed for a hung assembly. This will be a sort of repeat of 2009, when then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda failed to reach the majority mark of 45 in the 90-member House and had to seek support of the Bahujan Samaj Party to form the government.
After three rounds of counting, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was ahead in 38 assembly segments, the Congress in 30 and the new Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in 11. In 2014, the BJP received 47 seats, the Congress, 15, and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) of Om Prakash Chautala 20. The Dushyant Chautala-led JJP split from the INLD earlier this year after a fierce family feud.
In case the final results mirror these trends, there are three possible scenarios
1. BJP forms government
If the BJP is short of the majority mark by a few seats, it can seek the support of the INLD, which is leading in two seats. If the difference is bigger, the BJP can also get some of the Congress lawmakers to defect (bringing down the overall number of seats in the assembly). The party may even try to strike a deal with the JJP. Much will depend on who its choice for chief minister is. Given the party’s poor performance, it is unlikely Manohar Lal Khattar will be the first choice.
2. Congress forms government
To do this, Bhupinder Singh Hooda will need the support of the JJP, the INLD and others to keep the BJP out. However, depending on the relative number of seats, Hooda’s claim for the CM’s post may weaken.
3. Dushayant Chautala as CM
Both the BJP and the Congress can offer the kingmaker Dushyant Chautala the post of the chief minister to keep the rival party out. This, though, could result in a Karnataka-like situation where the Janata Dal (S) with the fewest seats among itself, the BJP, and the Congress, formed a coalition government with the Congress — only to implode earlier this year.