Nearly 75 per cent polling was recorded till 5 pm in the by-poll for Haryana’s Jind Assembly constituency which has assumed much significance as the result will not only give the bragging rights to the winning political party but also play as an indicator of the public mood for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls later this year.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Opposition-Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the newly formed Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) – all have made it a prestige issue to win this high stake by-poll in the heart of Haryana’s Jat land.
While the ruling BJP is taking the by-poll as a referendum on the Manohar Lal Khattar government and a semi-final ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress, INLD, and the JJP are eyeing the results as a proof of their popularity ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls this year. The seat fell vacant when sitting INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha, who won from Jind twice, passed away in August 2018. The BJP has fielded Middha`s son Krishan Middha as its candidate.
The Congress had fielded sitting member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Kaithal and party`s national spokesman, Randeep Surjewala, as its candidate while the INLD has fielded a local party leader Umed Singh as its candidate. The JJP has fielded a heavyweight candidate, Digvijay Chautala, great-grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal.
Digvijay is the younger son of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala’s elder son Ajay Singh Chautala who, along with his two sons, (Dushyant and Digvijay) was expelled from the party for alleged anti-party activities late last year. Therefore, both the INLD and JJP are out to prove their supremacy in this by-poll seen as the “semi-final” ahead of the general elections.
Jind has more than 1.7 lakh voters, including over 1.07 lakh urban voters and nearly 62,500 living in villages.
In all, 21 candidates, including two women are in the fray. The polling began at 7 am and was continuing till filing of this report. In the final two hours of polling, there was a rush outside booths, especially in rural parts of the assembly constituency as voters queued up to exercise their franchise.
Counting of votes will take place on January 31.