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Posted at: Jan 11, 2019, 7:46 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2019, 10:14 AM (IST)

Reputation at stake in absorbing contest

Reputation at stake in absorbing contest
Randeep Surjewala and Digvijay Chautala. file photo

Sushil Manav
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 10

With heavyweight Randeep Surjewala and a scion of the Chautala clan Digvijay Chautala throwing their hats in the ring, the Jind bypoll has become a big and absorbing contest ahead of the parliamentary and Assembly polls later this year.

Surjewala (Congress), Digvijay (Jannayak Janata Party), the BJP nominee Krishan Middha and the INLD nominee Umed Singh Redhu are among those who filed their nomination papers today.

The byelection has assumed importance as stakes will be high for Surjewala individually and for the BJP, INLD and the JJP.

Political observers believe that by agreeing to contest this poll, Surjewala has played a big gamble.

A victory in Jind can catapult Surjewala, considered close to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, to a position where he can hope for bigger responsibility in the state, but a loss may put a question mark on his political career.

Political observers are surprised at the Congress president’s decision to field Surjewala since he already represents Kaithal in the Vidhan Sabha.

If he wins, Surjewala will have to resign from either of the two seats and with more than six months remaining for the Assembly polls, a bypoll for the seat he relinquishes will become inevitable.

Further, resigning from Kaithal may be construed as “disrespect” for the voters who sent him to the Vidhan Sabha twice in 2009 and 2014 and his father Shamsher Singh Surjewala once in 2005. And resignation from the Jind seat will make a mockery of the of the bypoll.

Surjewala today parried questions as to which of the two seats he would resign from in case of victory from Jind and said, as of now, he had come to repay the debt of Jind people as he had been winning from Narwana which was earlier in Jind district.

For the INLD led by Abhay Chautala (in the absence of party supremo Om Prakash Chautala who is in jail) and the JJP, led by his nephew, Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala, the bypoll is a litmus test.

Whosoever fares better can claim that people of the state have considered him worthy of carrying forward the legacy of the party patriarch Chaudhary Devi Lal.

For Abhay, the bypoll has thrown an additional challenge of retaining the seat which fell vacant due to the death of his party’s MLA Hari Chand Middha.

The defection of Middha’s son Krishan Middha, now the BJP nominee, has already harmed the INLD.

For the BJP, particularly for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, the bypoll is important because the ruling party cannot afford to lose a bypoll.

If a victory in the bypoll could enthuse BJP workers, who are already in high spirits after wins in MCpolls, ahead of the parliamentary and Assembly polls, a loss can send across an impression that the downslide of the party has begun in the state.

Big gamble for Surjewala 

  • Political observers believe by agreeing to contest the byelection, Randeep Surjewala has played a big gamble. 
  • The victory can catapult him to a position where he can hope for a bigger responsibility in the state, a loss may put a question mark on his political career.
  • Political observers surprised at the Congress president’s decision to field Surjewala since he already represents Kaithal Assembly constituency in the Vidhan Sabha

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