The contest for Baroda Assembly seat will see the three parties — the BJP, Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) — bringing in approximately 30 star campaigners each to garner support for their respective candidates. However, no central leaders from any of the three parties will campaign for the November 3 bypoll, which the ruling BJP has termed as “battle for prestige” and the Opposition Congress “a referendum on the state government”.
While BJP’s campaign will be led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Congress campaign will be led by party affairs incharge for Haryana Vivek Bansal, PCC chief Kumari Selja and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda. INLD’s campaign will be led by party leader Abhay Chautala.
Following the Covid-19 protocols, the three parties have begun door-to-door canvassing for their respective. Leading the charge is BJP, which has named all its 10 Members of Parliament from Haryana and majority of the MLAs as star campaigners for party pick Olympian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt. BJP’s partner in the ruling alliance, the JJP, led by Dushyant Chautala is going to hold a meeting in Gohana. JJP national president Ajay Chautala will chair the meeting to decide the course of campaigning for Dutt.
As far as Congress is concerned, the campaigning for its candidate Indu Raj Narwal, who is a debutantm, is primarily led by Bhupinder Hooda and his son Deepender Hooda, a Rajya Sabha MP. The Hoodas and a majority of Congress MLAs have been actively campaigning for Indu Raj, who is a close aide of Deepender.
The suspense on independent candidate Kapoor Narwal, who has a substantial support in Baroda constituency, continues. Congress is trying hard to pacify Kapoor who was Bhupinder Hooda’s first choice as party nominee for Baroda. However, when Selja and various other party leaders objected to Kapoor’s selection as party’s candidate, Hooda was asked to give another option. It was then that Indu Raj’s name was proposed by Hooda and later declared as party candidate. An agitated Kapoor Narwal then filed his nomination as an Independent candidate.
Monday (October 19) is the last day for withdrawal of nomination. For the last two days, Congress leaders have been trying hard to pacify Kapoor. Certain party leaders told The Indian Express that they were “hopeful” that he will withdraw his nomination and support the Congress candidate. “If Kapoor supports Congress, it will be a major blow to BJP and in that case nobody can prevent Congress from winning Baroda,” a senior Congress leader told The Indian Express.
BJP’s Dutt who lost to Congress candidate Sri Krishan Hooda in 2019 assembly polls in Baroda, is contesting his second assembly election. Dutt, Sunday, went to Indu Raj’s village Rindhana and sought people’s support.
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