Analysis Of Karnal Lok Sabha Constituency For Lok Sabha 2024


Karnal is one of the ten Lok Sabha constituencies in Haryana, India. It comprises nine legislative assembly seats, namely Nilokher, Indri, Karnal, Gharaunda, Assandha, Panipat Rural, Panipat City, Israna, and Samalkha. Many eminent leaders have represented this constituency in the past few Lok Sabha elections, including Shri Sanjay Bhati (Gen-Punjabi Khatri), Shri Ashwini Kumar (Gen-Punjabi Khatri), and Shri Arvind Kumar Sharma (Gen-Brahmin).

Shri Arvind Kumar Sharma from the Indian National Congress (INC) won the 2009 General Elections from Karnal Lok Sabha Constituency. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the next two consecutive Lok Sabha elections of 2014 and 2019 with Shri Ashwini Kumar Chopra and Shri Sanjay Bhatia as their candidates. 

In the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, led by Shri Ashwini Kumar Chopra (Gen-Punjabi Khatri), the BJP got 50% of the total voting share followed by the Indian National Congress with a voting share of 19.7% which was not enough to prove the majority in the Lok Sabha elections. The other parties like BSP and INLD have a voting share of 8.6% and 15.8%  respectively. There were a few other parties like AAP led by Shri Paramjit Singh(Gen-Sikh) who were only able to get a 2.6% vote share. It was evident from the above data that even a coalition was not able to win in the 2014 elections against the BJP.In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP, led by Shri Sanjay Bhatia (Punjabi Khatri), again created a massive record by winning about 70% of the vote share. BJP cleanly swept INLD in the 2019 elections whereas there was a sharp decline in the voting share of BSP to 5.2% only but INC remained intact.

Karnal has always been a prominent political battleground with its voters playing a vital role in shaping the political landscape of Haryana. Haryana is a state whose most of the population is dependent directly and indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood, and this goes for Karnal and Panipat Districts. Thus, we can say that in India the Caste system plays a very crucial role in the elections. Still, it is also true that the policies and schemes such as PM-KISAN YOJANA, PM-KISAN CREDIT CARD SCHEME, etc., introduced by the Central and State governments also played a very crucial role in the 2019 elections.

Caste Analysis Of Karnal Constituency

In the Karnal constituency, the maximum number of voters are from the Punjabi Khatri community. There are more than 2 lakh voters in Karnal of this particular community. They are nearly 22.66% of the total voting share. The second largest voting community is the Jaat community with a massive number of voters around 2 lakh voters. It consists of around 21.58% of the total voting share. The third largest voting community is the Brahmin community which has voters of around 1.5 lakh and it made around 16.18% of the total voting share. This is the only reason why Congress always field a Brahmin candidate from the Karnal Constituency. The fourth largest voting community is the Raud community which has voters of around 1.2 lakh which is around 12.94% of the total voting population. The fifth largest voting community in the constituency is Jat Sikh which has a voter base of around 92 thousand and around 9.93% of the voting population. The sixth largest voting community is the Rajput community which has voters of around 80 thousand and around 8.62% of the total voting population. The seventh largest voting community is the Mahajan community which has voters of more than 75 thousand which is around 8.09% of the total voting population. The Punjabi Khatri is always the game changer in the Karnal Constituency elections and the prime vote bank of the BJP whereas Brahmin voters are the main focus of Congress. The Jaats are also the traditional voters of the Congress. The Sikh votes were divided among the two candidates of AAP (Shri Parmjit Singh) and INLD (Shri Jaswinder Singh Sandhu) but AAP was only able to get a 2.7% voting share which was much less than INLD.  The backward-class voters are always a prime vote bank for the BSP whereas the Rajputs support BJP. To appeal to the Rajput voters, the BSP fielded Shri. Pankaj Chaudhary (Gen- -Rajput) in the 2019 elections but this move seemed to be ineffective in attracting the Rajput voters amid the ‘Modi Wave’ in the whole country where they lost their backward-class vote bank as well. It is worth mentioning that the backward-class voters are a crucial vote bank for the BSP, while the Rajputs support the  BJP. In the 2019 elections, there was a tripolar contest between the BJP, INC, and the BSP, but the opposition parties could not make a huge impact.

Voting Pattern In Past Elections

It is very well-known that Haryana is the HEARTLAND of the Jat community. It is the second-highest voting community in Karnal. Thus, every political party attempts to field a Jat candidate to appeal to this influential group. In the 2009 general elections, INC fielded Shri Arvind Kumar Sharma (General-Brahamin) as their candidate targeting the Brahmin voters whereas the largest opposition party fielded Shri Virendra Verma (OBC) as its candidate appealed to their largest backward-class vote bank. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections political scenario changed in Karnal Constituency. BJP fielded Shri Ashwini Kumar (Punjabi Khatri) as their candidate to attract the votes of the largest voting Punjabi Khatri Community whereas INC again fielded Shri Arvind Kumar Sharma as they did not intend to divide the Brahmin Votes. The Sikh votes were divided among the two candidates of AAP (Shri Parmjit Singh) and INLD (Shri Jaswinder Singh Sandhu) but AAP was only able to get a 2.7% voting share which was much less than INLD.  Shri Virendra Verma of BSP was the only OBC candidate who contested from this constituency. In the 2019 general elections, the BJP fielded Shri Sanjay Bhatia (GEN – Punjabi Khatri) as its candidate following the overwhelming victory in the 2014 elections and INLD also cast a Khatri candidate Shri Dharamvir Padha (GEN – Arora Khatri) as its candidate intends to appeal to the Khatri voters. Again, INC fielded Shri Kuldeep Sharma, a Brahmin Candidate, their prime face targeting the Brahmin voters. This time BSP and AAP both fielded the non-sikh candidate. BSP fielded Shri Pankaj Chaudhary (Gen- Rajput) candidate and AAP fielded Shri Kishan Kumar Aggarwal (Vaishya) as its candidate. But this decision of BSP was proved not wise as the Dalit voters are the prime vote bank of BSP and opting for a Rajput candidate was one of the possible reasons for the slump in the vote bank of BSP.  In 2019, there was a huge transfer of Voting Share among the parties. BJP acquired a huge voting share irrespective of caste dominance in the constituency. 

Thus, we can conclude from the above analysis that the Punjabi Khatri community is the vote bank of the BJP whereas Congress fielded its candidate targeting the Brahmin community. As a result of their strategy, the BJP fielded Shri Mohan Lal Khattar (Punjabi Khatri) as its candidate whereas the discussion over a Brahmin face is still going on in Congress. It is also clear from the analysis that if a particular party wants to give tough competition to the BJP candidate in the upcoming elections, it should field candidates considering the Jaat, Raud, and Rajput voters.

Analysis Of The 2014 Lok Sabha Elections

During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP fielded Shri Ashwini Kumar Chopra (General, Punjabi Khatri), who was also a renowned journalist. The BJP was targeting the Punjabi Khatri community, which is the largest general community in Karnal district, with its strategy whereas the INC fielded Shri Arvind Kumar Sharma (Brahmin Leader) as its face for the Lok Sabha elections with the motive to secure the Hindu Brahmin vote bank.  Other parties like BSP, who always target the Backward and Minority classes as their Vote Bank, fielded Shri Virendra Verma (OBC) whereas the Regional Party INLD fielded Shri Jasvinder Singh Sandhu (General, Sikh) as its candidate.    

However, the BJP had a clear advantage in the 2014 elections as they had put forward Shri Narendra Modi as a strong prime ministerial face whereas the other national parties like  INC and BSP were not able to do so. This could be one of the major reasons behind the tremendous victory of the BJP in the elections. The BJP won around 3.6 lakh more votes than the INC candidate and won by an impressive margin of 30% vote share against the INC Candidate.

Analysis Of The 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

After the overwhelming victory in the 2014 elections of BJP. In the 2019 elections, the BJP targeted a complete majority in Haryana. In this sequence, the BJP gave a ticket to Shri Sanjay Bhatia, a local leader and advocate. BJP was targeting the Punjabi Khatri community by doing so. On the contrary, INC gave a ticket to Shri Kuldeep Sharma, one of the members of the Haryana Legislative Assembly. BSP gave the ticket to Shri Pankaj Chaudhary who got only 5.2% votes in the parliamentary elections. BJP cleanly swept the INLD in the 2019 elections. There was a bipolar contest between the BJP and INC during the 2019 elections. BJP got a total voting share of 70% in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections defeating the opposition party leader with a tremendous margin of 50% and around 6.54 lakh votes. The policies adopted and steps taken at both state and central levels by the NDA government were the main driving factors for the tremendous growth of the NDA. Haryana is a state prominently dependent on agriculture and most of its population is dependent on agriculture. The schemes introduced to uplift the farmers are also key drivers for BJP’s victory.

Predictions  For 2024 Elections

The BJP recently announced Shri Manohar Lal Khattar (Punjabi Khatri) is their candidate for the upcoming elections from Karnal Constituency. Shri Manohar Lal Khattar is also a former Chief Minister of Haryana. BJP’s decision to field Khattar is seen as a move to target the Sikhs and Jaats in the state. Recently, the BJP declared Shri Nayab Singh Saini (OBC) the new chief minister of Haryana, to appeal to the backward-class voters.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Congress (INC) is yet to declare its final candidate for the upcoming elections, but there are possibilities that Shri Virendra Rathod (Gujjar) and Shri Chanakya Sharma (Brahmin) were nominated with 33% and 19% ratings whereas the other parties have not announced their candidates yet. Given the current scenario, there is a high possibility of the BJP winning the upcoming elections in Haryana. This could be attributed to their calculated moves to appeal to different sections of voters through their choice of candidates. 

Following are the most possible reasons for BJP’s success in the respective seat:

  1. Shri Mohan Lal Khattar’s tenure as the state’s chief minister has been successful and he is a well-known figure in Haryana. It will be interesting to see how his candidacy impacts the upcoming elections in Karnal constituency.
  2. There is positive sentiment towards PM Shri Narendra Modi across the Karnal constituency while the opposition I.N.D.I. alliance still has no credible Prime Ministerial face.
  3. It is evident from the previous elections that there was a huge margin between the two main parties during the 2019 elections.
  4. Also, there is no such strong regional party in Karnal that has much influence in the area.
  5. BJP has five out of nine MLAs in the Legislative Assembly of Haryana which is a beneficial point for the BJP. 

Thus, it can be concluded from the previous election analysis that it is going to be very difficult for the I.N.D.I alliance to give tough competition to the NDA alliance. In the 2019 elections,  the BJP grabbed the major vote shareholding of 70% in the constituency. It can also be concluded that if the opposition wants to give tough competition to the NDA alliance then they have to focus on more important and regional issues rather than the caste calculations. Other than this, many other above-mentioned reasons will prove to be game changers for the BJP and the I.N.D.I. alliance should formulate their future course of action after considering these advantages.