The Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the newly formed Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) may have chosen heavyweights for the Jind bypoll – billed as a battle of prestige ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections – but Haryana’s main Opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), has picked a ‘low profile’ candidate. While the Congress has given ticket to its communications wing in-charge and sitting Kaithal MLA Randeep Singh Surjewala, JJP founder Dushyant Chautala has fielded his brother Digvijay. The BJP has given ticket to two time INLD MLA Hari Chand Midha’s son Krishan Midha.
Hari Chand was the sitting MLA from the seat and his death necessitated the bypoll. Krishan had joined the saffron party two months back
Opponents claim that INLD leader Abhay Chautala had little choice after his nephews – Dushyant Chautala and Digvijay Chautala – and some local leaders in Jind deserted him. However, Abhay, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Assembly, claimed that the party picked Umed Singh Redhu after a lot of consideration.
“He enjoys the image of a social worker. Residents in Jind know him as `Bedhu Thekedar’ being a contractor of electricity department. If there is a fault in any electricity line or transformer, people call Bedhu to get it repaired instead of the electricity department officials because of his promptness,” said Abhay.
Stating that INLD candidate “belongs to the constituency” itself, Abhay termed Surjewala as well as cousin Digvijay as “outsiders”. He also referred to the JJP as a “Baccha Party” (a fledgling party). “We have picked a candidate from an ordinary family while these outsider candidates are now troubling the voters with hundreds of their vehicles.”
Redhu, 52, is currently the vice-chairman of Zila Parishad. He had won the zila parishad election with a margin of about 8,000 votes in 2016. A resident of Jind district’s Lochab village, Redhu has studied till Class 12. Jind Assembly has over 1.70 lakh voters of which more than 1.07 lakh reside in urban areas while te remaining are from from 36 villages. As many as 12 villages are dominated by Jats of Redhu gotra.
The villages make for half of the Kandela khap that comprises 24 villages. Redhu has been active in Kandela khap. “I will get support from across the caste lines,” Redhu said.
On the other candidates, Redhu said, “They are heavyweights only in appearance but in public I am the real heavyweight. I will leave the politics, if people say that I don’t do social works. If any of the outsider candidates win the bypoll, then the voters have to burn fuel worth Rs 2,000-3,000 just to meet them in Chandigarh or Delhi. But being local, I will be available here only,” said Redhu.