Jind bypoll: Cong candidate Randeep Singh Surjewala’s entry changes the game
With the senior Congress leader entering the battleground, the contest has become an uphill task for the ruling BJP
Congress candidate Randeep Singh Surjewala has emerged as the strongest among 21 candidates in the fray in the ongoing campaign for the by-election in Jind Assembly constituency. With the senior Congress leader entering the battleground, the contest has become an uphill task for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which otherwise thought its candidate Dr Krishan Middha, son of late Hari Chand Middha, former INLD legislator from Jind, would win without much opposition.
The stakes of the Congress and the ruling BJP are much higher than those of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP).
The Jind by-elections are of much significance for the Congress and the BJP as the state is to witness the Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha elections later this year. A victory for the Congress candidate in Jind by-election will clear the road towards a grand comeback in the state while the BJP will try its best to retain power.
For the INLD and the JJP, it’s more of a ‘battle for pride’. The INLD, controlled by former Haryana Chief Minister OP Chautala, has recently split after a feud in the Chautala family. The INLD had expelled Dushyant Chautala, Hisar MP and grandson of OP Chautala, following which he floated his new outfit JJP. Dushyant pitched his brother Digvijay Chautala as an independent candidate from Jind. The INLD has picked Umed Redhu as its candidate for the seat. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has not fielded any candidate.
The position of the JJP-backed candidate has improved with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadership extending its support to Digvijay Chautala on Friday. Two AAP MLAs from Delhi, Surinder Singh and Sukhbir Dalal, held a meeting with Ajay Singh Chautala, father of Digvijay Chautala, earlier this week on this matter, said sources.
The Jat community-dominated constituency has over 1.70 lakh voters, of which more than 1. 05 lakh are urban voters. Of the total voters, about 1.25 lakh will exercise their right. The INLD, which earlier had a strong base here, is not being to benefit this time because of the split
Jind has been a Congress seat with the party wining it five times since 1967. The INLD candidates registered their win twice in 2009 and 2014. The BJP had always lost Jind. Possibly, to end their losing streak, the party this time decided to field Dr Middha, whose father Hari Chand Middha was the INLD MLA from Jind.
According to the State Election Commission records, in 2009, INLD candidate Hari Chand Middha (34,054 votes) won the seat by defeating Congress candidate Mange Ram Gupta (26,195 votes). The Haryana Janhit Congress (Bhajan Lal) candidate Brij Mohan Singla (11,141 votes) took the third position, closely followed by BSP candidate Ramesh Kumar Saini (11,011 votes).
In 2014 Vidhan Sabha elections, INLD candidate Middha (31,631 votes), defeated BJP candidate Surinder Singh Barwala (29,374 votes). The Congress candidate Pramod Sehwag came third by scoring 15,267 votes and was trailed by BSP candidate Sudhir Gautam (13,225 votes).
The Jat community-dominated constituency has over 1.70 lakh voters, of which more than 1. 05 lakh are urban voters. Of the total voters, about 1.25 lakh will exercise their right. The INLD, which earlier had a strong base here, is not being to benefit this time because of the split. There are over 45,000 Jat and 15,000 Brahmin voters in the constituency, Nearly 5000 floating votes will decide the future of the next MLA, political experts think.
The BJP top brass, including Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, has jumped into the election campaign to gather votes for Dr Middha who is facing resentment from the party’s workers. Many BJP workers and supporters are unhappy over the party fielding an outsider who was made to join the party ahead of the by-elections, ignoring the old guards.
With more and more of leaders with considerable following joining and extending support to the Congress candidate, Surjewala seems to be on a strong wicket.
On Thursday, Jai Prakash, Independent MLA from Kalayat, extended unconditional support to the Congress candidate. Jai Prakash has a considerable vote bank in Jind.