Haryana’s Jind bypoll will decide fate of two newly formed political outfits — Jannayak Janata Party formed by Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala and Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) of BJP rebel MP Raj Kumar Saini, apart from being a test for Congress’s unity and Khattar government’s popularity.
This being a crucial election ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, eyes are also on how the caste equations play out in light of violence that took place during the Jat quota agitation in February 2016. Assembly polls are also due in the state in October this year.
Dushyant has formed the JJP last month after infighting in the Chautala family which led to a split in the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Now, the INLD, as well as the JJP, have fielded their candidates. “The election will indicate which faction of the Chautala family has dominance in Jind,” says Rishi Saini, a political observer in Haryana. “Not only this, the bypoll will decide direction of Haryana’s politics.”
Interestingly, Raj Kumar Saini supported candidate, Vinod Ashri is too getting considerable response as he tries to woo 25,000 voters of Saini community and Brahmin community apart from voters among other communities. Saini, who has been opposing reservation to Jats, has formed Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP).
Not only, Raj Kumar Saini, but Congress’s Randeep Surjewala is also trying hard to cause a dent in BJP’s votebank among non-Jats. BJP has given ticket to a Punjabi community member, Krishan Middha, which has given hopes to Surjewala to woo Aggarwal (Baniya) community. Baniya community members have mostly represented Jind Assembly constituency after inception of Haryana in 1966.
Surjewala is also eyeing Chautala’s traditional votebank among Jats. In these circumstances, the bypoll will decide finally what type of caste equations emerges in the state which has witnessed politics around Jats and non-Jat in the past too. Out of total 1.7 lakh votes, Jind has voters from all caste groups. Infighting has been a major challenge for the Congress in Haryana but all top leaders including, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ashok Tanwar, Kuldeep Bishoni had to join hands to back Rahul Gandhi’s choice Randeep Surjewala for the bypoll. But the results will indicate whether Congress’s all factions support Surjewala wholeheartedly.
The bypoll will also be a test for the influence of Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government among voters with the Chief Minister and other senior ministers camping in the constituency. Whatever may be the result, as of now, the election is seen as a triangular contest between Middha, Congress’s Randeep Surjewala and Dushyant’s brother Digvijay Chautala.
“Development and regional bias have been important issues in Assembly elections in the past. Now, Jind bypoll will decide whether caste politics overtakes development agenda,” says Rishi Saini.
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