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Entry of Surjewala, Chautala jazzes up election arena

January 11, 2019 06:47 AM


Hitender Rao ■
Entry of Surjewala, Chautala jazzes up election arena

CHANDIGARH: By-elections are typically considered a walkover for the ruling party. Not this one. The Jind assembly by-election necessitated due to the demise of the sitting legislator is turning out be a high-stakes contest for the ruling BJP, the Congress, the fledgling Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) –Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) combine.

The bypoll which looked mundane till Wednesday picked up steam after the entry of former Congress minister Randeep Singh Surjewala and JJP’s Digvijay Singh Chautala, the younger brother of Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala. Both Surjewala and Chautala are Jat leaders.

The BJP has fielded a Punjabi Krishan Middha, the son of deceased INLD MLA from Jind, Dr Hari Chand Middha, the INLD-BSP has put its money on Umed Singh Redhu, a Jat and BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini’s Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) has fielded Vinod Ashri, a Brahmin. The outcome of the bypoll could well set the tone for the forthcoming parliamentary and assembly polls.



The poll intensity is bound to get a big impetus with the Congress deciding to take the ruling BJP head on by fielding Surjewala, already a Congress MLA from Kaithal and having roots in Jind district. The shrewd and strategic move of the Congress high command to thrust Surjewala in the poll arena carries lot of meaning. With the Lok Sabha elections not too far, a comfortable victory for the ruling BJP in the by-election would have given the saffron party another round of high. The BJP is already gung ho after winning the mayoral elections in five civic bodies recently.

“The way things were shaping till Wednesday, it clearly looked that the bypoll would primarily be a contest between the ruling BJP and the JJP. The Congress stock looked down in the absence of a good candidate and so was the case of the INLD-BSP combine,’’ said a BJP leader who did not want to be named. A third or fourth spot for the Congress in the election results would seriously dent party’s endeavour to position itself as a key challenger to the BJP in the state.


The manner in which the entire Haryana Congress brass including former chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, state Congress president, Ashok Tanwar, Congress legislature party (CLP) leader, Kiran Choudhary, Rajya Sabha MP, Kumari Selja, former minister, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav and Adampur MLA, Kuldeep Bishnoi presented a show of solidarity during the filing of Surjewala’s nomination papers on Thursday carried lot of political meaning. A Congress functionary said that it clearly indicated the message from the party high command – to fall in line and support the choice of the Congress president. Secondly, it would be in the interest of every faction to ensure that Surjewala performed well. “The bypoll would set the tone for the forthcoming Lok Sabha and assembly polls in the state. Thus, the stakes for all the Congress top guns are high,’’ said a party insider.


The bypoll holds significance for the newly floated JJP which was carved after a split in the INLD. This will be a litmus test of JJPs political strength and its penetration in the Jat vote bank. The poll results can also bring out the contrast in the political reach and potential of the JPP with regard to the INLD. For the BJP, which is expecting to win the bypoll mainly on the strength of their being in the power in the state, a lot of prestige is at stake. A poor showing for the saffron party which has fielded a greenhorn would be a big letdown and undo the elation of mayoral poll win.

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