Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 10
The Congress today retained the Baroda Assembly seat with its party candidate Induraj Narwal defeating BJP-JJP candidate Yogeshwar Dutt with a margin of 10,566 votes. In 2019, Congress candidate Sri Krishan Hooda had won by over 4,800 votes. The outcome underlines the sway of the father-son duo — Congress Legislature Party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Hooda — in the Jat belt. The verdict can also be interpreted as Baroda voters’ rejection of the post-poll BJP-JJP alliance. The BJP-driven farm laws seem to have been the party’s undoing and the JJP’s “Jat party” tag appears to have lost some sheen since the Assembly elections last year. This is evident from the fact that the BJP had polled 37,000 votes in the last election and the JJP, then contesting on its own, 32,000 votes. However, the Baroda byelection was contested jointly by the two parties but Dutt got 50,070 votes. The votes moved away from the BJP-JJP and went into the Congress kitty.
The verdict has come as a shot in the arm for the Congress, and more importantly for Hooda, who fought the election as his own and pulled off an impressive win for loyalist Narwal. The INLD, pushed to the fourth spot behind the LSP, a non-entity in Haryana politics, has suffered a setback to its image.