Chandigarh, October 16
BJP nominee and Olympic medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, Congress candidate Induraj Narwal and the INLD’s Joginder Singh Malik on Friday filed their nominations for the high-stakes bypoll to Baroda assembly constituency, slated for November 3.
While the BJP announced Dutt’s candidature on Thursday night, the Congress and INLD declared their candidates hours before the nominations for the bypoll were to close on Friday.
The bypoll was necessitated due to the demise of Congress MLA Shri Krishan Hooda in April. Dutt had contested the seat unsuccessfully last year when the state assembly polls were held.
The scrutiny of nomination papers will be conducted on October 17. Withdrawal of papers will be allowed till October 19.
Polling will be held on November 3 and the counting of votes will take place on November 10.
The candidates filed their nominations before the returning officer at Gohana in Sonepat.
Kapoor Singh Narwal, who was an aspirant for Congress ticket, has jumped into fray as an Independent, spicing up the contest.
Talking to reporters after filing the nomination papers, Dutt said the voters of Baroda constituency have made up their mind that they will cast their votes on the basis of development work done in the state.
Dutt, whose candidature is backed by the BJP’s coalition partner JJP, said his main objective is to serve people of Baroda constituency, which falls in Sonepat district.
He thanked the party leadership for reposing faith in him.
Replying to a question if caste factor will play a role in the bypoll, with the Congress and the INLD announcing candidates from the predominant Jat community, Dutt said, “The BJP does not believe in caste politics. When I got about 38,000 votes during the state assembly elections last year, it was not from one or two castes. All sections of society supported me.”
“People will vote for the BJP and we will win. My single aim is to serve people, four years of the term of this government remain and we will further accelerate development work,” he said.
The wrestler-turned-politician, who hails from Bhainswal Kalan village in Sonepat district, had joined the BJP in 2019 ahead of the state assembly polls. He had lost to Krishan Hooda by less than 5,000 votes.
Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan and several senior state BJP leaders accompanied Dutt to the nomination centre.
On Baroda being considered a Congress stronghold, BJP MP from Sonepat Ramesh Chander Kaushik said, “If that was the case, B S Hooda would not have lost the Sonepat LS seat last year. Now, it is not about bastions, but about development and people vote for that.”
Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, state Congress chief Kumari Selja, party senior leaders Kiran Choudhary and Deepender Singh Hooda, who accompanied Induraj Narwal for his nomination, exuded confidence that their party would retain the seat.
The Congress has fielded former Sonepat Zila Parishad member from Baroda, with BS Hooda saying that the party gave ticket to a “grassroots worker from a farmer family”.
Hooda and Selja claimed that people of Baroda had wanted the candidate to be a local and dedicated party worker.
“This is not just an election to elect an MLA for one seat, but a fight for the honour of Baroda and the future of Haryana. The Congress stands with the common man, the farmers and the workers in this fight against the BJP-JJP government,” Hooda said.
INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala claimed that the Baroda seat may have been won by late Krishan Hooda for three consecutive terms in the past, but that was “not with big margins” and “people of the constituency have always been with us”.
“We had won this seat in 2005 when the Congress had returned to power (with overwhelming majority),” Abhay Chautala said, adding that “the BJP candidate will lose his security deposit while the Congress will also be rejected by the people”.
The INLD’s Joginder Singh Malik had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 assembly elections from Baroda on the party ticket. PTI