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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Ellenabad bypoll: Triangular contest, an uphill task for BJP-JJP amid farm agitation

Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation and their increasing opposition to BJP and JJP MLAs across the state, it will be an uphill task for the ruling dispensation to woo the electorate.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
October 2, 2021 10:44:26 am
Majority of the electorate is dependent on agriculture and allied activities and have been protesting against the Centre's farm laws. (Representational)

The Ellenabad bypoll is all set to be a high stakes, triangular battle. While the ruling dispensation of BJP-JJP and opposition Congress are both aiming to add one more seat to their tally in the Vidhan Sabha, the INLD, whose lone MLA Abhay Chautala’s resignation in support of the farmers’ agitation necessitated the bypoll, is also eyeing a comeback.

Amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation and their increasing opposition to BJP and JJP MLAs across the state, it will be an uphill task for the ruling dispensation to woo the electorate, majority of which is dependent on agriculture and allied activities.

Ellenabad Assembly constituency is majorly dominated by the rural population with agriculture and allied activities as the primary occupation. The farmers agitation and resentment against BJP-JJP shall also play a major role in deciding the fate of contenders.

Increase in number of voters

Recently, there had been an increase of 4,548 voters in the constituency, taking the total number of voters to 1,85,569, including 98,930 male and 86,639 female, as per the website of the state’s chief electoral officer.

Ellenabad Assembly constituency has a total of 190 polling stations, of which 166 are in rural areas and the rest 24 in urban areas. In the last Assembly poll, Ellenabad had a total of 1,81,021 voters. The last date of nominations is October 8, polling on October 30 and counting of votes on November 2.

“After losing Baroda bypoll, where BJP-JJP’s celebrity candidate Yogeshwar Dutt lost to Congress’ rookie Indu Raj Narwal, if BJP-JJP loses Ellenabad too, it is definitely going to be another blow to the ruling dispensation; even if Ellenabad constituency has traditionally been an INLD stronghold like Baroda had been a Congress stronghold. There was a strong anti-BJP-JJP wave in Baroda due to farmers agitation. Similarly, it is likely to be in Ellenabad too. The ruling dispensation will have to overcome that opposition, if it is aiming for a victory in Ellenabad,” a senior BJP leader said.

Hectic lobbying for being declared as a nominee has already begun within the parties. While INLD is most likely to renominate Abhay Chautala as its nominee, Congress has invited applications from its party workers willing to contest the bypoll, while BJP and JJP have been holding meetings with their Sirsa district units separately.

Although BJP and JJP leaders have been saying that they will be contesting the bypoll as an alliance, it is yet to be seen which out of the two shall be fielding the candidate and on which party’s symbol will the alliance be contesting the bypoll.

“The bypoll shall be fought by the alliance and the candidate shall be finalised at the meeting of BJP-JJP and soon be declared. The development works done by BJP-JJP in the state government under the leadership of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shall be the key areas of campaign in the bypoll”, BJP’s Member of Parliament from Sirsa, Sunita Duggal told mediapersons.

‘What changed since Abhay resigned? He should not contest’

Talking about the farmers agitation and Abhay Chautala’s resignation that necessitated the bypoll, Duggal said, “What has changed before and after the MLA resigned? There has been no change. Rather, he should not contest the bypoll because no change has come into effect on the reasons for which he had resigned.”

“A few such groups who had been saying things like they should be part of the government, they should also come and contest, now. They will get to know the ground reality,” Duggal added.

Aditya Chautala, who is BJP’s district president of Sirsa, said, “This time, people of Ellenabad shall go with the ruling dispensation. People want to vote for development.”

HPCC chief Kumari Selja said, “We have sought applications from those who want to contest from Ellenabad on Congress ticket. The applications shall be received till October 4. The last date of filing nominations is October 8, before which the party shall finalise its nominee and announce it.”

In 2019 Assembly polls, BJP’s nominee Pawan Beniwal had lost to INLD’s Abhay Chautala. On the other hand, JJP’s nominee barely got 6,559 votes. BJP and JJP had entered into a post-poll alliance in 2019 and formed government.

This time, although Beniwal had already quit BJP and joined Congress, it is likely that the BJP-JJP alliance shall field a BJP candidate and election is also fought on BJP’s symbol.

The Opposition, both INLD and Congress, are going to rake up the ongoing farmers agitation and delayed paddy procurement in their campaigns, while BJP-JJP leaders that are already facing immense opposition during their public appearances across the state shall be attempting to woo the voters citing development works and achievements.

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