Congress' three-time MP Deepender Singh Hooda is a thorn in the BJP's path to a clean sweep in Haryana with the two parties having a neck-and-neck fight in the Rohtak seat.
Barring Rohtak, where fortunes are fluctuating between Deepender Hooda and his nearest BJP rival Arvind Sharma as picture is changing with each round of counting, on the remaining nine seats saffron party candidates are set to register an emphatic win. If the BJP wins nine or even the 10th seat, it will be the party's best-ever performance, surpassing the previous best in 2014 when it won seven of the eight it contested.
In 1999, when it was in an alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the Bharatiya Janata Party had won five seats while the remaining five were won by its ally. That year, the Congress had suffered a rout as it failed to win any seat.
Rohtak is witnessing a see-saw contest between Deepender Hooda, who after leading with a margin of more than 13,000 votes at one stage over BJP's Arvind Sharma, is now trailing by over 6000 votes, as per trends available with the Election Commission.
In the remaining nine seats, BJP candidates, including five of its sitting MPs, are leading by margins ranging between one and six lakh.
From Karnal, BJP's local leader Sanjay Bhatia is set to register a landslide win over his nearest Congress rival Kuldeep Sharma after leading by over 6.5 lakh votes. Except Hisar, from where sitting MP Dushyant Chautala of fledgling Jannayak Janata Party is placed at second spot behind Union minister Birender Singh's son Brijendra Singh, Congress is at second place in the remaining nine seats.
However, opposition INLD continued to suffer electoral rout with its party candidates performing poorly on all 10 seats. For the JJP too, which was hoping to reap electoral gains after tying up with the Aam Aadmi Party, the trends are a setback while its ally, which contested three seats, is also left disappointed.
For the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), contesting eight seats and two by its ally Loktantra Suraksha Party led by BJP's rebel MP from Kurukshetra Raj Kumar Saini, the trends brought bad news.
Barring Deepender Hooda who is still in the fight, candidates from Haryana's famous political clans -- the Chautalas, Bhajan Lals and Bansi Lals -- are staring at a defeat. In this year's Lok Sabha polls, the BJP in Haryana continued its winning momentum from the previous general elections, something which is likely to come as a boost to party's prospects in the Assembly polls, which are due in four months.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar hailed the BJP-led NDA's performance in the Lok Sabha polls and gave credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and the state government's pro-people policies for the stupendous show.
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 the assembly polls were held later that year.
Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar, both sitting MPs, continued to maintain a massive lead of over 3.5 lakh and 5.5 lakh in their constituencies Gurgaon and Faridabad, over their nearest Congress rivals Ajay Singh Yadav and Avtar Singh Bhadana. In 2014, the Congress managed to win only the Rohtak seat, but now it is struggling to hold on to that seat.
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 among those trailing. Deepender Hooda's father Bhupinder, a sitting MLA from Rohtak district who contested the Lok Sabha polls after a gap of 14 years, is behind sitting MP Ramesh Chander Kaushik by a margin of over 1.62 lakh votes, as per the EC trends.
The performance of Bhupinder Hooda, who had defeated former deputy prime minister Devi Lal from the Rohtak LS seat earlier, is set to lend a further setback to the Congress. What is likely to add to Congress' worry is the massive margin with which their candidates are trailing to BJP candidates.
Members of Haryana's famous political families who are 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 the JJP after a vertical split in the INLD owing to a family feud, is trailing by nearly 2.40 lakh votes behind BJP's Brijendra Singh, bureaucrat-turned-politician and son of Union minister Birender Singh.
Dushyant's brother Digvijay Chautala, a JJP candidate, is trailing in Sonipat while their cousin Arjun Chautala, son of senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala, is trailing in Kurukshetra.