The BJP is maintaining a healthy lead in nine out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, as per trends available, with Congress' sitting MP Deepender Singh Hooda giving a tough fight to the saffron party's candidate in Rohtak.
Barring Rohtak, where Deepender Hooda is leading with a margin of more than 13,000 votes over BJP's Arvind Sharma, the BJP is comfortably placed on the remaining seats. The saffron party candidates' lead margins are between 60,000 to two lakh votes, as per trends available with the Election Commission.
Apart from Deepender Hooda, candidates from Haryana's famous political clans the Hoodas, Chautalas, Bhajan Lals and Bansi Lals are staring at a likely defeat. BJP fortunes remained on the upswing in Haryana, where it played second fiddle before the 2014 parliamentary polls. After winning seven of the eight seats it contested in 2014, the BJP went on to form its government on its own for the first time in Haryana when assembly polls were held later that year.
Union Ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar, both sitting MPs, continued to maintain a healthy lead in their constituencies Gurgaon and Faridabad, over their nearest Congress rivals Ajay Singh Yadav and Avtar Singh Bhadana, respectively, as per the trends available after nearly four hours of counting of votes.
The other five sitting BJP MPs were also ahead in the race over their nearest Congress rivals. The BJP had replaced its sitting MP from Karnal Ashwani Kumar Chopra and fielded a local leader Sanjay Bhatia, while Haryana Minister Nayab Singh Saini was fielded from Kurukshetra, after its sitting MP R K Saini had turned a rebel.
Bhatia has maintained an unassailable lead of 2,77,000 over former assembly speaker and Congress leader Kuldeep Sharma from the Karnal Lok Sabha seat. The Congress, which had managed to win only the Rohtak seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was struggling to hold on to that seat too.
Several stalwarts of the Congress, including Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Sonipat), Kumari Selja (Ambala), state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar (Sirsa), Avtar Singh Bhadana (Faridabad) and Ajay Singh Yadav (Gurgaon), are trailing.
Deepender Hooda's father Bhupinder, a sitting MLA from Rohtak district who contested the Lok Sabha polls after a gap of 14 years, was trailing behind sitting MP Ramesh Chander Kaushik by a margin of nearly 60,000 votes, as per EC trends.
The performance of Bhupinder Hooda, who had defeated former deputy prime minister Devi Lal from Rohtak LS seat earlier, is set to lend a further setback to the Congress as assembly polls in Haryana are due after four months.
Members of Haryana's famous political families who were trailing included Bhupinder Hooda , Shruti Choudhary (from Bhiwani-Mahendergarh), grand daughter of former chief minister Bansi Lal, Bhavya Bishnoi (from Hisar), grandson of former CM Bhajan Lal, both belonging to the Congress.
Sitting MP from Hisar Dushyant Chautala, the great grandson of Devi Lal, who had launched Jannayak Janata Party after a vertical split in the INLD owing to a family feud, was also trailing.
Dushyant's brother Digvijay Chautala, a JJP candidate, was trailing from Sonipat while their cousin Arjun Chautala, son of senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala, was trailing from Kurukshetra. Opposition INLD is staring at another electoral debacle as the party's candidates on all the 10 seats failed to make an impact. JJP's ally Aam Aadmi Party, which contested on three seats, also failed to impress.
The BSP and the Loktantra Suraksha Party, who have also fielded their candidates on all seats, too were trailing. Counting of votes for all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana began at 90 counting centres, at 8 am on Thursday. Tight security arrangements have been made at the counting centres, officials said. A total of 223 candidates including 11 women had entered the fray.