While the ruling BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana is confident of its victory in the Baroda bypoll for which they have fielded Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt, the Opposition has launched an intense campaign in the constituency wooing the voters and assuring them of “toppling the alliance government, post the byelection verdict”.
Be it Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his Raja Sabha member son Deepender Hooda; BJP’s Lok Sabha MPs besides state Cabinet ministers, or INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala who is currently out of Tihar Jail on parole and his party’s lone MLA and son Abhay Chautala – all the tall leaders of the state’s main political parties have made the bypoll a battle of prestige.
The Opposition is not only raking up the farmers’ resentment against the three central farm laws, but also wooing the voters with assurance that the ruling alliance in the state will collapse if BJP-JJP candidate is defeated in Baroda.
With son Abhay, Om Prakash Chautala has begun touring all 54 villages of the constituency seeking votes for INLD’s Joginder Singh Malik. “This bypoll is not an ordinary election. If you vote for INLD’s candidate, I can assure you that it will shake the foundations of this BJP-JJP government and create panic among the alliance’s MLAs. I can assure you that INLD shall soon form the government,” Chautala said addressing a public gathering. Considering his health and old age, INLD chief is campaigning from a specially-designed bus with an elevator attached in it.
The Hoodas have already launched an intense campaign across the length and breadth of Baroda, a constituency that Congress had been claiming as its stronghold. The constituency had had majority of MLAs from Congress party in the past. Shri Krishan Hooda, Congress leader whose death in April this year necessitated this bypoll, had won the last three consecutive elections.
Congress leaders are aiming to hand out BJP’s Dutt’s a crushing defeat. BJP has never won in Baroda. Although the ruling party had never won in Jind Assembly constituency too, but its candidate Krishan Lal Midha had defeated Congress’ stalwart Randeep Surjewala in a bypoll in January 2019.
Bhupinder Hooda has made the bypoll a “question of his reputation”. In one of the public meetings on Friday, he said, “This bypoll is not just a matter of prestige for the people of Baroda, but also a question of my reputation”. Congress candidate Indu Raj Narwal is a close aide of Deepender Hooda. Narwal’s name was proposed by Bhupinder Hooda as party’s nominee while PCC chief Kumari Selja wanted Shri Krishan Hooda’s family member as the party’s nominee. However, the party backed Hooda’s choice of candidate. A defeat in Baroda will also impact Hooda’s image in his own party.
“People of Haryana want BJP to suffer a humiliating defeat in Baroda. This wave will not just be limited here, but will go to Chandigarh and victory of Congress is certain in this bypoll. It will begin the change in state’s politics and BJP-JJP alliance will come crashing drown. The ruling alliance is making false promises and putting out empty slogans to trick people. But, people are not stupid. The ground reality is that today farmer is forced to protest on the streets as his crops are not getting fair price in the mandis. The paddy, which had touched Rs 4,000 to 6,000 per quintal during our government, is being sold at Rs 1700-1800 today. The government has taken anti-farmer decision by implementing three new laws, without even bothering to speak to the farmers,” Hooda said while addressing public gatherings in Ahleana, Bhanderi, Madina, Chhichdhana, Mirzapur Khedi, Kathura, Kehlpa and Chapra.
BJP MP Arvind Sharma, who defeated Deepender Hooda in Rohtak in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, campaigned for Dutt. While addressing public gatherings, Sharma lashed out at Hooda. “BJP is contesting this poll on the basis of its last six year’s achievements. We have ensured an overall development of the state while Hooda had cheated the people of Baroda during his 10 year tenure as Chief Minister. When BJP started development of Baroda, Congress started calling it a political stunt. It is going to be a one-side poll and BJP’s victory is sure”.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, his deputy and JJP chief Dushyant Chautala will also hold public gatherings in Baroda in the coming days.
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