Jind bypoll result puts young Chautalas in political limelight; BJP's win helps Manohar Lal Khattar emerge as seasoned politician

Manoj Thakur | Feb 2, 2019 | 4 min read

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Jind: After facing a crushing defeat in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, Jind by-poll results for Haryana Assembly have come as a shot of morphine for Bhartiya Janta Party. With 2019 Lok Sabha elections on the block, the Jind results have surely put other strong parties like Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Congress on the edge.

With BJP’s Krishnan Middha defeating his closest rival Digvijay Singh Chautala of Jananyak Janta Party (JPP) by a margin of 12,935 votes, the saffron party has claimed its first every victory in the INLD stronghold. The results proved disastrous for the Congress as the party’s big face and chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala could manage to get just 22,470 votes less than half of Middha’s 50,566 and over 15,000 short of Chautala’s 37,631.

However, the by-election results have turned out to be a nightmare for INLD, a party which won the Jind assembly constituency two times consecutively, with its candidate Umed Redhu securing a meager 3,454 votes.

Krishna Middha can be called a giant slayer considering it was his political debut and he was up against big Jat names like Digvijay Chautala and Randeep Surjewala. But the real winner in this entire battle is Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

Though he gives the credit of this victory to “corruption free governance, fair recruitments and clean political image”, the masterstroke of bringing an INLD loyalist into the Saffron fold cannot go unnoticed.

It all started with the ticket allotment when Khattar preferred a newcomer rebel outsider over many of his old party colleagues keeping the caste equation and Middha loyalists in mind. After the demise of sitting MLA Harish Chand Middha in August last year, which necessitated the by-elections, fielding his son for the seat was the best move to gain sympathy votes.

At the other hand, Khattar and his ministers managed to get some local powerful Khap/Jat leaders in BJP’s favour which helped them to get unexpected number of votes from rural Jind for the first time.

Jind results, after massive victory of BJP in recently held elections to five Municipal Corporations, are going to elevate Khattar’s stature in the party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

Late Harish Midha won Jind seat twice on the INLD ticket. What comes as a surprise for all is the party’s one of the worse performances in the very next elections after his demise. Jind, which has been the bastion of INLD and Congress for so many years, is looking at a close contest between four parties in the next assembly elections.

The second biggest reason behind the humiliating defeat of both INLD and Congress is the feud in the Chautala family that gave birth to a new party --  Jananayak Janata Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of INLD. When INLD chief suspended his grandsons Dushyant and Digvijay from the party in October last year, he didn’t realize the politicians he raised in his family. Within days, Dushyant launched the new party JJP and decided that his younger brother Digvijay will take on INLD from Jind constituency.

In Jind there are 1.72 lakh voters out of which 1.30 lakh exercised their rights in this by-election. There are about 48 thousand Jat voters in this constituency. Speaking of Brahmin, Punjabi and Vaishyas, the number of people in every community is between 14 and 15 thousand.

JJP, even after coming second in the final tally, gave a tough fight to the saffron brigade, especially in rural areas. After the third round of counting, all rural areas, Dushyant was leading the race, however, the urban voters sided with BJP in the later rounds. A considerable difference of votes was expected between BJP and JJP from the urban areas but JJP managed over 12,000 votes from seven rounds of urban areas.

JJP has stolen the show from the main Opposition party in the assembly, it’s a win-win position for the debutant party. As it has already dented the INLD's youth wing with Digvijay breaking away from INDL’s youth wing, in this by-election it has taken away the traditional INLD voters too.

The young Chautala brothers, by allying with Aam Admi Party, have also proved that their JJP will not be the force for just one seat. INLD and Congress can expect a tough competition on many seats in the next elections.

With a respected defeat and extraordinary performance in their very first election on assembly level, Dushyant and Digvijay have proved themselves as strong leaders and the politicians who can lead the party and gather votes in absence their father Anil Chautala.

Even the ruling party leaders have started believing that in coming elections, JJP would be their main competitor in many constituencies.

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