For 9-month tenure, Haryana parties sweat it out in Jind

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For 9-month tenure, Haryana parties sweat it out in Jind

Jind (Haryana): For an Assembly seat in the “Jat” land in Haryana that will have a tenure of just nine months, major political parties are sweating it out apparently with an eye on the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections set for this year.

The by-election for the Jind Assembly seat, which is scheduled to be held on January 28, has forced the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the newly formed Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) to put in all their resources for a win.

There are local issues like broken roads, lack of water and electricity and lack of development but these have been pushed behind by the perception of a high-stakes battle ahead of the two big elections coming.

“One thing is sure. There is no clear winner on this seat as of today. All the parties have been forced to campaign really hard. Because a victory or defeat in Jind will dictate the outcome for the Lok Sabha polls and the later Assembly elections,” said Som Prakash, 62, a villager.

What makes the by-poll interesting in Jind is the way the leading parties have chosen their candidates.

The seat fell vacant when sitting INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha, who won from here twice, passed away in August last year.

The BJP, which has been in power in Haryana since October 2014 could not find a candidate in its own ranks to field from here. So it chose Krishan Middha, the son of an INLD leader.

The INLD, for which this seat is a sort of a stronghold, opted for Umed Singh Redhu, a Khap leader who had filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate.

The JJP, which was founded in December and is basically the outcome of a split in the INLD leadership, has put up its best bet in Digvijay Chautala, the younger brother of Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala and great grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal.

“In its very first outing in state politics and elections, the JJP has started off with a big gamble by putting up a strong candidate. He is getting a good response,” Jind resident Karamjit Singh told IANS.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has stirred up the Jind battle by fielding his confidant and the party’s national spokesman Randeep Surjewala.

The highly-factionalised Congress in Haryana has been forced to get its act together and campaign for Surjewala, the sitting MLA from the adjoining Kaithal Assembly seat.

From former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to other top leaders like state Congress President Ashok Tanwar, everyone is on the ground to campaign for Surjewala, who is the main target of the BJP, INLD and JJP.

“The Congress bankruptcy can be seen from the fact that it could not even field a candidate on the Jind seat. Otherwise, who fields a sitting legislator for an Assembly by-election? This is unprecedented,” Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said.

His cabinet ministers have been camping in Jind and campaigning aggressively for the BJP candidate. Even the Chief Minister is making rounds of the constituency.

The BJP, though upbeat, can never be sure about a victory in Jind. Despite winning the Assembly elections in October 2014 for the first time on its own, the BJP lost the Jind seat.

Out of the 1.7 lakh registered electorate, Jind constituency has a substantial vote of Scheduled Caste and backward classes (around 50 per cent) and Jats (around 25 per cent).

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