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Jind victory could make BJP advance Assembly polls in Haryana

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IANS New Delhi
The victory in the Jind by-poll has come as a big boost for the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana and may give confidence to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to advance the Assembly elections in the state to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.
The Haryana Assembly term ends in October, 2019 and there are indications that the BJP might go for early polls along with the general elections in April and May. Jharkhand and Maharashtra are the other two states where a fresh mandate could be sought ahead of schedule.
The victory in Jind, a Jat bastion and a nerve centre of Haryana politics, has come against all odds for the BJP as the seat was traditionally held by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
A split in the INLD brought the breakaway faction Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) into the fray. The Congress fielded its sitting MLA from Kaithal, Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is a high-profile national spokesperson of the party and a Rahul Gandhi confidante, turning the contest into a potboiler.
The JJP's Digvijay Singh Chautala, great grandson of former deputy prime minister and Haryana strong man Devi Lal, came second. The JJP was formed after a two-way split in the INLD following differences between two sons-- Ajay and Abhay--of the party's supremo and patriarch Om Prakash Chautala.
Divijay Singh is a son of Ajay Chautala; his brother Dushyant, the founder of JJP, is already a Member of Parliament (MP) from Hissar. The BJP's Krishan Lal Middha is the son of INLD MLA from Jind, Hari Chand Middha, whose death led to the by-poll.
The big victory for the BJP has come at a time when the party was said to be on the back foot and doubts were being cast on the leadership of Manohar Lal Khattar. Last year around the same time, BJP president Amit Shah took part in a bike rally in Jind and backed Khattar.
A defeat for Surjewala, considered to be part of Rahul Gandhi's inner circle, comes as a blow to the high command. He was sent to quell infighting in the state unit of the Congress and his victory would have pitched him directly against party strongman and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The outcome of the Jind by-polls has altered equations in all the key parties in the state.
--IANS
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First Published: Jan 31 2019 | 9:08 PM IST

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