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Ellenabad bypoll on Oct 30, set to be key test for ruling BJP-JJP combine

Ellenabad seat had fallen vacant eight months ago after Abhay Chautala, INLD’s lone MLA in the 90-member Haryana Vidhan Sabha, had resigned from his seat expressing solidarity with the farmers ongoing agitation against three central farm legislations.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
September 29, 2021 7:46:59 am
Om Prakash Chautala, Mayawati, PM candidate, Lok Sabha polls 2019, india newsIn a recent show of strength on September 25, INLD had held a Samman Divas rally marking the 108th birth anniversary of former deputy PM Devi Lal. (File)

The much awaited Ellenabad Assembly bypoll in Haryana will be held on October 30 and the result will be declared on November 2, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.

Amid the ongoing farmers agitation, the bypoll will be a litmus test for the ruling BJP-JJP dispensation.

Ellenabad seat had fallen vacant eight months ago after Abhay Chautala, INLD’s lone MLA in the 90-member Haryana Vidhan Sabha, had resigned from his seat expressing solidarity with the farmers ongoing agitation against three central farm legislations.

Ever since then, INLD led by former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala haa been campaigning in the rural areas across the state.

Reacting to EC’s announcement of bypoll dates, Abhay Chautala said, “The bypoll will be contested on the point if people stand with or against the three farm legislations. Ideally, the bypoll should have been held with the West Bengal polls.When EC had asked Haryana government if the conditions were alright to hold bypoll, the government had cited Covid-19 cases and said no. However, on the other hand the same government had cited in Punjab and Haryana High Court that the conditions were okay for conducting panchayat polls in the state”.

He added, “This time, BJP-JJP and Congress candidates will not be able to even save their security deposits in Ellenabad. They will face the wrath of people. Ellenabad is majorly a rural dominated area and most of the people in the constituency are dependent on agriculture who are against BJP-JJP right from the very first day. Farmer organisations had urged MLAs from all the political parties to resign and support their ongoing agitation.I was the only MLA who resigned and vacated my seat. Had the MLAs resigned on the request of farmer organisations, there would have been mid-term polls in Haryana and not this bypoll”.

Previous poll battles
Ellenabad seat had remained a reserved seat from 1977 to 2005. Lokdal’s Bhagiram won from this constituency for five times during this period. In 1977, he defeated an Independent candidate. Later, he defeated Congress nominee twice from 1982-87. However, Bhagiram lost in 1991 and got re-elected twice in 1996 and 2006.

In 2009, the constituency was declared a General constituency. From then onwards, it has remained a Chautala clan stronghold.

In 2009, Om Prakash Chautala won from Ellenabad, but in 2010 bypoll Abhay Chautala contested and won from the same constituency. Since 2010, Abhay Chautala has been winning from Ellenabad constituency. It is likely that Abhay Chautala will once again contest as INLD’s nominee in the bypoll.

high-voltage contest
The upcoming contest will be keenly watched. In 2014 and 2019, Abhay had a won a close contest with Pawan Beniwal, an old associate. Both the times, Beniwal had contested in Ellenabad on a BJP ticket. However, recently Beniwal quit BJP citing his support to the farmers agitation and has now joined the Congress. It is likely that Congress will be fielding Beniwal as its nominee.

In 2019 Assembly polls, INLD could only secure one seat that was Ellenabad. While Abhay had got approximately 57,000 votes, Beniwal had netted over 45,000 votes, while Congress candidate Bharat Singh had got over 35,000 votes and JJP’s nominee O P Sihag had barely got 6,569 votes.

BJP and JJP had forged a post-poll alliance in 2019. It is yet to be seen who out of the two parties will be nominating their candidate in Ellenabad.

Ever since Om Prakash Chautala was released from Tihar jail on completion of his sentence in the infamous JBT teachers’ recruitment scam, he has been touring Haryana’s rural areas in a bid for his party to make a comeback from Ellenabad bypoll.

In a recent show of strength on September 25, INLD had held a Samman Divas rally marking the 108th birth anniversary of former deputy PM Devi Lal. In the rally held at Jind’s Anaz Mandi, INLD has brought several political stalwarts on the stage including Punjab’s former CM Parkash Singh Badal, former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar, J&K’s former CM Farooq Abdullah and even BJP’s former Union minister Birender Singh besides several others.

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