As the ruling BJP appeared to be performing far less than it expected in the counting of votes for the Haryana election, the Congress, galvanised by its unexpected surge, reached out to Dushyant Chautala, the man many say will be kingmaker in case of a close fight.
The BJP was ahead in 36 of 90 seats while the Congress led in 32 seats, making the contest wide open in Haryana.
The Congress, accused of running a listless campaign amid massive infighting, has reportedly started talks with possible allies.
The party has reached out to Dushyant Chautala, whose Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) is less than a year old.
Reports suggest Congress’s Deependra Hooda and Mr Chautala had a meeting last evening.
“The way these trends are showing, it is clear people voted for change,” Mr Chautala told NDTV, adding, “The keys to the next government will be in the hands of the JJP.”
The BJP looked far from its “Mission 75” target in Haryana, a state where it came to power on its own for the first time in 2014.
Underscoring the ruling party’s bleak outlook, several of its ministers were trailing.
“These are just leads…the results will take time. The picture will be clearer later,” said Naveen Kumar, BJP spokesperson.
“If not this time, we will achieve ‘Mission 75’ in 2024,” he added.