Newly-elected Samalkha MLA had served 15-month term
Independent candidate Ravinder Kumar Machhrauli, who was convicted in a criminal case five years ago, has won from this predominantly rural segment by a margin of 20,373 votes.
Hindustan Times had on October 14 reported that Machhrauli had a criminal background and was emerging as a strong contender from Samalkha.
A political novice, Machhrauli polled 34.6% votes and defeated Congress candidate Dharam Singh Chhokar who got only 20.7% votes.
Machhrauli is one of the five Independents who won in Haryana despite the Modi wave that helped the BJP sweep the assembly elections.
In the 2009 assembly poll, Dharam Singh Chhokar was elected on the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) ticket but later he along with four other HJC MLAs defected to the Congress.
Their switch of loyalties was challenged in the Punjab and Haryana high court and on October 9, the court disqualified them as MLAs under the anti-defection law.
Ravinder Kumar Machhrauli was probably the only candidate contesting poll this time who has undergone imprisonment after being convicted by a court. He was a cop and was dismissed from the service.
As per his election papers, Machhrauli (42) was sentenced to 15-month imprisonment by the then chief judicial magistrate, Ambala, Praveen Gupta on February 4, 2009. He was held guilty of assault to deter public servant from discharging of his duty (Section 353), hurting public servant (332) and criminal intimidation (506) of the Indian Penal Code.
A case was registered against Machhrauli at Baldev Nagar police station, Ambala, on May 17, 2000. After his release from jail, Machhrauli started building ground for a political career and started offering free transportation service to various health and educational institutes to woo poor voters of the constituency.
According to political observers, Machhrauli, the only Jat candidate in the fray from Samalkha, seemed to have consolidated votes from his community.
“He is a very popular among the weaker section of the area and despite a shady past, Jats from all strata worked in his favour,” said an activist from Samalkha.
Machhrauli polled 53, 294 voters whereas Chhokar got 32,921 votes. BJP’s moneyed candidate Shashi Kant Kaushik, a Brahmin, finished third with 32,134 votes and INLD’s Ram Bhateri got 26,477 votes.