Updated: October 7, 2021 9:23:56 pm
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday fielded Gobind Kanda, the elder brother of Sirsa MLA Gopal Kanda, as consensus candidate with alliance partner Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) for the October 30 bypoll to Ellenabad Assembly seat, which is now set for a triangular contest.
The Congress gave the ticket to Pawan Beniwal, who had contested the 2014 and 2019 Assembly polls from Ellenabad as BJP nominee. The Indian National Lok Dal has already fielded party secretary general Abhay Singh Chautala from the Jat-dominated constituency seat in Sirsa.
The Vidhan Sabha seat had fallen vacant after Abhay, who was then the lone MLA of the INLD, resigned in January from the Assembly in protest against the Centre’s three farm laws.
Apart from Beniwal, two others were vying for the Congress ticket. They included Beniwal’s uncle Bharat Singh Beniwal who had contested from Ellenabad on Congress ticket twice in 2014 and 2019, and Amardeep Sihag, whose grandfather Sahib Ram Sihag was former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal Chautala’s brother and a Congress MLA from Hisar in 1938 and 1947.
For 54-year-old Gobid Kanda, it is not the first poll outing. He had unsuccessfully contested from neighbouring Rania Assembly constituency in 2014 and 2019. Once considered close to the Chautala clan, Kanda brothers had parted ways from the Haryana’s most influential political family after starting their own separate businesses. The brothers had floated the Haryana Lokhit Party before 2019 Assembly polls state. After the polls, Gopal had announced “unconditional support” to the BJP, which had fallen short of the majority mark and later joined hands with the JJP to form government. Gopal had also remained Minister of State for Home Affairs in the Congress government in state in 2009 when Bhupinder Singh Hooda was chief minister.
The brothers duo run several charitable trusts, hospitals and yoga associations and are known to have provided financial aide for establishing over 100 Gaushalas across Haryana, besides helping a number of temples, inns and gurdwaras.
Though he has completed his education only till class 12, Gobind Kanda is director of several family run firms and is former Chancellor of Arni University in Himachal Pradesh.
Ellenabad was a reserved seat from 1977 to 2005 and was declared a general constituency in 2009. Since then, it has remained Chautala clan stronghold. Abhay Chautala’s father Om Prakash Chautala won from Ellenabad. In 2010, a bypoll was held in which Abhay Chautala won. After that Abhay Chautala won again in 2014 and 2019 elections but only after a close fight with Beniwal, who finished second both times. Beniwal recently quit BJP while extending support to the farmers’ agitation and later joined Congress.
In the 2019 Assembly polls, INLD could only secure one seat, that was Ellenabad. While Abhay had got approximately 57,000 votes, Beniwal came second with 45,000 and Congress’s Bharat Singh just over 35,000. The JJP nominee, OP Sihag, had received 6,569 votes.
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