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Last Updated : Jan 16, 2019 02:50 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Why the January 28 Jind bypoll is important for Haryana politics

Around 21 candidates are in fray, where Congress has fielded its senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala against BJP's Krishan Middha, son of the deceased MLA

Atharva Pandit @AtharvaPandit3

The by-election in Haryana's Jind, necessitated by the death of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Hari Chand Middha, is scheduled for January 28.

Around 21 candidates are in the fray for the crucial battle, where Congress has fielded its senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Krishan Middha, son of the deceased MLA.

The bypoll is important taking into consideration the Haryana assembly polls expected to happen later this year.

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Factionalism

Both national as well as regional parties are battling factions within their respective organisations. The INLD is engaged in a battle between the Chautalas, whose patriarch, Om Prakash Chautala, controls the party.

INLD is fielding Umed Redhu for the Jind bypoll.

Dushyant Chautala, the son of Ajay Chautala -- both of whom have been expelled from the INLD -- is contesting as an Independent with the backing of Jannnayak Janata Party (JJP).

The real battle for the INLD, experts believe, would not be winning the election, but defeating Dushyant Chautala, to claim moral victory.

According to a report by The Indian Express, the Congress too, is battling in-fighting between supporters of Surjewala, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) President Ashok Tanwar's factions.

While Hooda is a stalwart of Haryana politics, Surjewala is the son of a three-time Haryana cabinet minister.

A recent video of a Haryana minister telling Hooda that his troubles so far as Surjewala was concerned are over has gone viral on social media. The minister, Ram Bilas Sharma, was allegedly referring to a probable defeat for Surjewala in the bypoll, which would clear the way for Hooda within Congress’ state unit.

Surjewala is a Jat by caste and Jind has not elected a Jat MLA since 1972. According to the report, however, Congress leaders feel that Surjewala has acceptability that cuts across caste lines.

Surjewala has also made the bypoll a battle for the state, announcing that "this (bypoll) is not only a poll battle to elect an MLA but to form the government in Haryana."

With many leaders trying to establish superiority both within and outside of their respective parties, observers believe the Jind bypoll result would clear the decks for certain leaders in state politics.

Civic polls, five states and caste equations

The BJP swept the civic elections held in the state in December. The saffron party bagged all five cities where the polls were held.

BJP's victory came immediately after its losses in assembly elections in three key ‘Hindi heartland’ states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

While the losses in the assembly elections might not hurt BJP's Jind chances, the party's show in the municipal elections will provide a boost, experts say.

According to a report by The Indian Express, BJP has chosen Krishan Middha taking into consideration the urban-rural ratio of the constituency.

The report suggests that out of the 1.7 lakh voters in the constituency, more than 1.07 lakh live in urban areas. Almost half of the total voters belong to backward castes. There are over 44,000 Jat voters and 15,000 Brahmin voters in Jind.

BJP has never won the constituency while both Congress and INLD have managed to win on multiple occasions.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has been focusing extensively on Haryana in the past few months, has decided not to field a candidate from the seat.

AAP sources told Moneycontrol that the party is being careful since it does not want to "embarrass" itself by contesting and then losing the election, especially since the party is planning to go big in the state elections later this year.

"Plus, we do not have the cadre required to do door-to-door campaigning in Jind," a source said.

Officially, however, the party has stated that it would be backing NOTA (None of the above) to understand "wrongs adopted by parties during the elections."

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First Published on Jan 16, 2019 02:50 pm
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