The bypoll is being held just months ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Haryana, and soon after the civic polls in the state in which the BJP won all five mayoral seats. On the other hand, the Congress has recently won Assembly elections in the three heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
In these circumstances, the outcome of the Jind bypoll could indicate the sentiments of voters and the state of play in what is recognised both as ‘khapland’ and the centrally located political heart of the state with voters from all castes and communities.
All major political rallies in Haryana have historically been held in Jind. Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala announced his Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) at a rally in Jind on December 9.
It makes sense for the Congress to field a heavyweight like its Communication Department incharge (and Kaithal MLA) Randeep Singh Surjewala in order to send out the message that it is taking the bypoll seriously, especially after the disappointment in the mayoral polls. With Dushyant Chautala announcing the candidature of his brother Digvijay for the seat, it is important for the Congress to not allow the consolidation of rural votes behind the JJP candidate.
The BJP candidate is Krishan Midha, son of two-time INLD MLA Hari Chand Midha, whose death has necessitated the byelection. After his father’s demise, Krishan Midha joined the BJP in November 2018. The BJP’s choice of candidate is also based on the ratio of urban-rural voters and caste equations in the constituency, ensuring a three-way fight at the seat.
The Jind Assembly segment has over 1.7 lakh voters, more than 1.07 lakh of whom live in the urban areas. According to figures put together by local politicians, almost half of the total voters belong to Backward Castes and Scheduled Castes. Jat voters number around 44,000, Brahmins around 15,000, and Punjabis a couple of thousand fewer than them. There are around 11,500 Mahajan (Baniya) voters.
Both the Congress and INLD have won the Jind seat multiple times; the BJP has never won so far. Despite its location in Jat-dominated areas, the constituency has been represented by a non-Jat in the Assembly since 1972. Most MLAs have, in fact, been Baniyas. The dominance of urban voters is thought to be one of the major reasons for this trend.