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Multi-cornered contest on cards as EC announces bypoll to Jind Assembly seat in Haryana

Multi-cornered contest on cards as EC announces bypoll to Jind Assembly seat in Haryana

Chandigarh, Dec 31 (PTI) With the Election Commission (EC) announcing bypoll to the Jind Assembly constituency in Haryana on Monday, the seat is likely to witness a multi-cornered contest.For the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Krishan Middha, son of late Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA Hari Chand Middha, has emerged as the frontrunner to contest from the seat.Middha, whose father's demise in August had necessitated the bypoll, had recently joined the saffron party.State BJP chief Subhash Barala said Middha had joined the party "unconditionally", adding that he was a key contender for the Jind Assembly seat.The EC on Monday announced that the bypoll to the Jind Assembly seat would be held on January 28 and the results will be out on January 31.The seat had fallen vacant after Hari Chand Middha, an MLA from the INLD, the main opposition party in the state, passed away on August 26."The party will decide (on the candidature) on merit," Barala said.He said a meeting of the BJP's election committee would be held shortly and the name of the candidate would be decided.Last week, when Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was asked about his party's preparations for the bypoll, which was not announced then, he had said, "Whenever these polls are declared, we are more than ready."The bypoll to the Jind Assembly seat, which is considered as the political heartland of Haryana, will prove to be a litmus test for various parties, including the ruling BJP, the Congress and the INLD which recently witnessed a split.The Jannayak Janata Party, which was floated by Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala earlier this month at a public rally in Jind, has also decided to throw its hat in the ring.It will be interesting to see if rebel BJP MP from Kurukshetra Raj Kumar Saini's recently-floated outfit too decides to jump in the contest.The win from Jind is going to be crucial for the contesting parties as the state Assembly polls are also scheduled for the later part of 2019.While the BJP will be eyeing a win from Jind to consolidate its position ahead of the state Assembly polls, the opposition Congress, which has been attacking the Khattar government over its alleged failure on all fronts, will also look to grab a victory.To defend its seat is a matter of prestige for the INLD, which is still reeling under the after effects of its recent split, following a power struggle between two brothers -- Ajay and Abhay Chautala.Jind is also considered to be a stronghold of Union minister Birender Singh, who is likely to go all out to ensure a win for his party, the BJP.Recently, Khattar had announced several development works for Jind on the basis of the demands of Hari Chand Middha, which the late leader was to take up in the monsoon session of the Assembly, but could not as he passed away weeks before the session was held. PTI SUN VSD RC