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Ally cries ‘betrayal’, dumps BJP in Haryana

Aug. 28: The BJP’s ally in poll-bound Haryana has snapped the alliance, accusing the party of “betrayal” and citing this week’s byelection results to declare it is living in a “fool’s paradise”.

The Haryana Janhit Congress’s (HJC) move came amid declarations by state BJP leaders that they would prefer going it alone in the elections. “The recent bypolls in Bihar, Karnataka and elsewhere prove that BJP leaders are living in a fool’s paradise by thinking they can sweep the Assembly polls on their own,” HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi said in Chandigarh today.

The HJC had teamed up with the BJP three years ago to “rid” the state of the “corrupt” Congress government.

HJC leaders claimed there was an understanding that the two would contest 45 seats in the polls for the 90-member Assembly. In the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won seven of the eight seats it fought, while the HJC, including Bishnoi, lost both seats it contested.

“The way they treated Om Prakash Chautala and other regional parties and now us, they can’t be trusted,” Bishnoi, the son of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, said. The BJP had dumped Chautala, a former ally, before the general elections.

The BJP denied the charges. “We have never betrayed any ally.... He (Bishnoi) had six MLAs, all except him joined the Congress,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said in Delhi.

Sources in the BJP indicated “relief” at the end of the alliance, saying it would allow the party to keep open option of aligning with Chautala after the polls. A pre-poll tie-up could harm the BJP’s image as Chautala faces corruption cases.