The Baroda bypoll is now emerging as a straight contest between the Congress and the BJP after BJP’s rebel turned Independent candidate Kapoor Narwal withdrew his nomination and joined Congress, Monday.
The Congress said it has got immense strength with Kapoor Narwal withdrawing his nomination and coming in support of Congress candidate Indu Raj Narwal in Baroda bypoll. Kapoor Narwal, who had earlier contested Baroda on INLD ticket had joined BJP before October 2019 Assembly polls. A few months ago, he had quit BJP and was hoping to be declared as Congress’ nominee in Baroda bypoll. He was also first choice of Bhupinder Singh Hooda as party’s nominee for Baroda. However, due to resentment by HPCC chief Kumari Selja and various other Congress leaders, Kapoor was not considered by the party and instead Hooda was asked to propose another name. Thus, Indu Raj Narwal’s name was proposed and he was declared as party’s nominee.
Monday was the last day for withdrawal of nominations. For the last two days, Hooda was in constant touch with Kapoor Narwal and finally managed to convince Kapoor to withdraw his nomination and support Congress.
Another Independent candidate Joginder Mor who too withdrew his nomination supported Congress Monday. Independent MLA from Meham, Balraj Kundu, who had supported BJP after 2019 Assembly polls and later withdrew it citing government’s inaction against corruption, also announced his support to Congress, Monday.
“I decided to withdraw from the race for the honour and respect of Baroda and for the political change that is required in Haryana. I hope that Bhupinder Hooda will take this fight to its logical conclusion and push BJP out of power. This change will begin from Baroda,” Kapoor Narwal said.
Kundu, who also supported Congress, said, “Today, entire Haryana is looking at Baroda with hope. In this bypoll, BJP will meet a crushing defeat. I stand with Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Deepender Singh Hooda in this fight against BJP.”
Reacting to the development of various leaders with substantial following in Baroda supporting Congress, Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “I welcome Dr Kapoor Narwal’s decision. Not only people of Baroda, but entire Haryana respects Dr Narwal for his sacrifice. Dr Narwal joining the Congress has made the battle of Baroda a one-sided affair. I assure people of Baroda and entire Haryana that I shall lead this battle of change and not rest till this BJP-JJP government is thrown out of Haryana”.
Without naming his detractors within Congress party, Hooda added, “I would like to request people of Baroda to ensure that nobody attacks me from behind, I am capable of handling any attack that comes from the front”.
Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda who is spearheading campaing for his close-aide and Congress nominee Indu Raj Narwal said, “The time for change has come. As soon as the counting of votes in Baroda ends, countdown of BJP-JJP coalition government will begin”.
“Baroda’s fight is not just Congress vs BJP, Hooda vs Khattar or Indu Raj vs Yogeshwar Dutt. This election will decide the future of Haryana. With this election, people of Baroda will decide if Haryana wants to retain the BJP-JJP coalition government in the state or throw it out,” Deepender Hooda added.
After the withdrawals of nominations, 14 candidates are left in the fray. These include BJP’s Yogeshwar Dutt, Congress’s Indu Raj Narwal, INLD’s Joginder Malik, and LSP’s Rajkumar Saini among the prominent ones.
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