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Friday, December 04, 2020

Baroda bypoll: Up against BJP’s star-studded campaign, Cong fights to retain its stronghold

BJP and JJP, both are holding multiple daily public meetings, tours of villages and other key areas of the constituency while Congress campaign is mainly led by Selja, Bhupinder Hooda and his son, Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: October 29, 2020 12:59:00 am
Manohar Lal Khattar, Khattar government, Haryana transport department, transport department Haryana, India news, Indian ExpressHaryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.

Against the star-studded campaign of BJP-JJP ruling alliance in Baroda, the main opposition Congress is leaving no stones unturned to retain its citadel — the Baroda assembly segment.

While BJP has infused all its strength led by CM Manohar Lal Khattar, his deputy and JJP chief Dushyant Chautala besides BJP’s all 10 MPs, Cabinet ministers, ministers of state and several MLAs and Union ministers, the Congress party high command has left the party to its regional leaders headed by HPCC chief Kumari Selja, the newly appointed party affairs incharge Vivek Bansal and Leader of Opposition and former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda.

The candidates of both the parties too have no comparison as far as their individual following and recognition is concerned. While BJP’s star candidate Yogeshwar Dutt is a well-known Olympian and is backed not only by the sports fraternity, the ruling alliance, his past experience of contesting the 2019 Assembly poll from same Baroda constituency, Congress candidate Indu Raj Narwal is comparatively a rookie.

BJP and JJP, both are holding multiple daily public meetings, tours of villages and other key areas of the constituency while Congress campaign is mainly led by Selja, Bhupinder Hooda and his son, Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda.

Khattar and Dushyant too are going to tour the constituency on the last three days of campaigning from October 29 till October 31. BJP’s several star campaigners are already touring the constituency and holding public meetings.

“I have not even seen Congress candidate Indu Raj Narwal. Contrary to Narwal, everybody knows Yogeshwar Dutt. On the other hand till 15 days ago, nobody even knew who Indu Raj Narwal was. If Congress wins Baroda, it will not make any impact except Congress’s tally will go back from 30 to 31 MLAs. But if BJP wins, its number will increase from 40 to 41 and the development in Baroda will be 40 times faster,” said Power Minister Ranjit Singh said while addressing a public gathering in Gohana.

The BJP-JJP alliance completed one year in the state government on October 27. On the occasion, CM Manohar Lal Khattar announced 306 projects worth Rs 1,848 crore for Haryana’s 21 districts. Sonipat district that covers Baroda assembly segment was excluded due to imposition of Model Code of Conduct. But, the BJP leaders had been saying that once the Code of Conduct is lifted, several new projects will come up in the constituency.

On the other hand, Bhupinder Singh Hooda Wednesday again attacked BJP and said: “No big project was brought in Haryana by the BJP in the last six years. The state government has pushed the state in heaviest debt ever. During our tenure from 2005 till 2014 dozens of universities, medical colleges, AIIMS, power plants, nuclear plants, IIMs, hundreds of technical institutes, colleges, schools, hospitals, industries, new railway lines, metro lines, rapid metro, highway and countless big projects were established in Haryana. Yet, we did not allow the loan to go beyond the prescribed limit. However, today the total debt on the state has touched Rs 2 lakh crore under BJP-JJP government. Despite this, present government is struggling to pay salaries and allowances to its employees. We have reached a point where the Haryana government has to take loan to repay the interest and loans”.

Considering that the contest in Baroda Assembly segment “shall be tough”, Power Minister Ranjit Singh said, “The election campaign will pick up in the next few days. Chief Minister Manohar Lal shall be coming to Baroda for campaigning, Thursday. People will see immense wave turning towards BJP. In the next few days, people will see there is a tough fight between BJP and Congress, but certainly BJP will have an edge. We will definitely win this bypoll”.

Similarly, INLD that has a lone MLA Abhay Chautala in the 90-member Haryana Vidhan Sabha is too claiming to be in the fray. Abhay and his father and former CM Om Prakash Chautala are leading INLD’s campaigin across the assembly segment. INLD’s candidate Joginder Singh Malik who enjoys a substantial following in the Jat community is likely to cut into the votes of both Congress and BJP-JJP candidates.

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