A record voting of nearly 75 per cent was registered in a multi-cornered contest in the Jind bypoll amid allegations of rigging and using government machinery to influence voters in the election process. However, no untoward incident was reported from the constituency.
As many as 21 candidates, including Randeep Singh Surjewala (Congress), Krishan Middha, (BJP), Umed Singh Redhu (Indian National Lok Dal) and Digvijay Chautala, a Jannayak Janta Party-backed independent candidate are in the poll fray.
Congress candidate Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged rigging by the ruling party in the elections. In a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner, Haryana, and election observer, Surjewala has alleged that police personnel deployed on election duty influenced electorates to vote for the JJP-backed independent candidate Digvijay Chautala. Surjewala, however, claimed that people of Jind want a change this time. “Will teach a lesson to those doing caste based politics,” he said.
Banking on the development works taken up during his government, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, however, claimed that the BJP will win the seat. He, however, stated that the Congress, apprehending defeat in the election, raised EVM issues without considering the fact that the party, recently, won assembly elections in three states where the same EVMs were used.
Pinning hope on the young voters, JJP leader and Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala says that Digvijay Chautala’s position improved a lot with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal joining the election campaign and seeking votes in favour of the JJP. Confident about his win, Digvijay Chautala, however, claimed that the victory margin will be over 15,000 votes as the wave was in his favour in the constituency.
Umed Singh Redhu, INLD candidate, was sure about his victory and claimed that the INLD has a strong hold in the constituency and no one is going to vote for a temporary candidate or an outsider candidate.
Despite the early morning chill, voters could be seen queued up at some of the polling stations. The voting started at 7 am and continued till 5 pm.
Tight security arrangements had been put in place for the voting. Over 3,000 Haryana Police personnel and para-military forces had been stationed in the constituency. Over 1.72 lakh registered voters are said to have exercised their franchise in Jind. The constituency has a substantial vote of the Scheduled Castes (SC) and backward classes (around 50 per cent) and Jats (around 25 per cent).
The by-election is a test for all the four major parties in the fray - the ruling BJP, Congress, INLD and the newly formed JJP. Counting of votes will take place on Thursday (January 31).
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha in August 2018.
Nearly 1.7 lakh people, including 80,556 women, are eligible to vote. There are 71 polling booths in rural areas of this constituency and 103 polling booths in urban areas, as per the state election commission records.