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Parties to fight it out in high-stakes Jind bypoll in Haryana today

The Jind bypoll is being held just months ahead of the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Haryana which makes it even more important.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2019 08:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Rohtak
Haryana,Lok sabha,BJP
Image for representation(PTI file photo)

The stage is set for the high-stakes Jind bypoll that dominated Haryana’s politics for the last one month. Besides being a test for the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress, the by-election on Monday will also indicate what’s in store for the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) after it split into two, and the newly floated Jannayak Janta Party (JJP).

That the bypoll is being held just months ahead of the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Haryana makes it even more important. The ruling BJP, which fielded a new entrant, Krishan Middha, is hoping to continue its winning streak in the state after it swept all five municipal corporation elections last month. Political observers say the ruling party has an advantage as it is the only one that has fielded a non-Jat candidate in Jind, which has 170,000 voters. Randeep Surjewala of the Congress, Umed Singh Redhu of the INLD and Digvijay Chautala of the JJP are all Jats.

“In Jind, the last time a Jat candidate was elected was in 1972. Since then, the constituency has always elected a non-Jat candidate. This gives the BJP an advantage, not only because it is the only party that fielded a non-Jat candidate but also because Jat votes will be divided into three parts due to the three Jat candidates,” said Raj Singh, a political expert.

Read | OP Chautala’s furlough cancelled, AAP to support JJP in Haryana bypoll

As Jats were perceived to be upset with the BJP due to their unfulfilled reservation demand, the saffron party largely campaigned in urban areas to bag the Punjabi, Baniya and Brahmin votes.

The Congress, which is banking on Surjewala’s popularity, let go its internal rift for a change. Bhupinder Hooda, Ashok Tanwar and Kiran Choudhry all came out in Surjewala’s support.

The JJP got a boost with the AAP announcing its support to it and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a Saturday rally where he told the electorate that he decided to support the JJP after he found the two younger members of the Chautala clan “selfless”.

The defender of the seat, INLD, got a major setback after its supremo Om Prakash Chautala’s furlough was cancelled and he could not come out of jail to campaign. The party sought votes, slamming the JJP in videos in which Chautala took on his grandsons, Dushyant and Digvijay.

Poll observers say Loktantra Suraksha Party candidate Vinod Ashri, too, has the potential to play spoilsport in the multi-cornered contest. Ashri, a Brahmin leader from Jind, is a nominee put up by BJP’s rebel MP from Kurukshetra, Raj Kumar Saini, who has an influence among voters from OBC community.

First Published: Jan 28, 2019 07:19 IST