BJP wins Jind by-poll, Cong’s Surjewala bites dust

BJP wins Jind by-poll, Cong’s Surjewala bites dust

A polling officer marks a voter's finger with indelible ink during Jind bypoll elections. PTI file photo.

The incumbent BJP in Haryana won the high-octane by-poll in Jind by a margin of 12,935 votes in a contest where Congress' national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and others were left to bite the dust.

The saffron party, which won this assembly seat for the first time, relied on its tried and tested election strategy of fielding a non-Jat candidate, Krishan Midha, to consolidate votes. This paid dividends.

Former Haryana chief minister O P Chautala’s estranged grandson, Digvijay Singh Chautala, who was contesting his first election with the support of the newly formed political outfit, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), left sizable footprints bagging the second position.

Congress' Surjewala ended third in the contest and managed to barely save his security deposit after securing 22,740 votes.

BJP’s Krishan Midha, who polled more than double the votes secured by Surjewala, is the son of late Hari Chand Midha, a two-time MLA from Jind of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Krishan Midha switched sides to join the BJP only to be nominated as the saffron party’s official candidate.

The election result came as a big shocker for the main opposition party, the INLD, whose candidate Umed Redhu, came a distant fifth  with only 3,454 votes. The INLD candidate lost his security deposit from a seat that was considered the party's stronghold.

With Digvijay Chautala managing 37,631 votes, his party JJP, that got the support of Kejriwal’s AAP, showed that the voters rejected the INLD. INLD patriarch O P Chautala had thrown his jailed son Ajay Chautala and the latter's two sons, Member of Parliament Dushyant and Digvijay Chautala, out of the party. JJP was created as a rebel outfit out of the INLD and proved its worth today even as it lost the contest.

BJP’s Midha polled 50,566 votes. For the two Chautala grandsons, the contest was a battle of prestige not only to establish the JJP’s political credentials ahead of general elections but also to show their uncle Abhey Chautala, an MLA and leader of opposition, that the INLD core voters were with them.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the results were an appreciation of the government’s performance.