New Delhi: The outcome of bypoll in the Baroda Assembly constituency in Haryana is crucial for former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who says that it will change the state and national politics. Baroda is considered a stronghold of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who has aggressively campaigned along with his MP son Deepender Hooda in favour of Congress candidate Induraj Narwal, who is pitted against BJP candidate and Olympian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has fielded Joginder Singh Malik. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of three-time Congress legislator Sri Krishan Hooda in April. In the 2019 Haryana Assembly elections, Sri Krishan had defeated Dutt of the BJP by 4,840 votes in Baroda. Bhupinder Singh Hooda has put in all his political might in the by-election to retain the seat as the party candidate was handpicked by him.
The former Chief Minister has been running the party affairs in Haryana and a win on the seat is crucial for him to ensure he continues to have a say in the Congress. He had earlier made the Congress to nominate his son Deepender to the Rajya Sabha while ignoring state President Kumari Selja whose term in the Upper House of Parliament was coming to an end at that point in time. However, critics of Hooda allege that he is hand in glove with the BJP. Former Congress President Ashok Tanwar, who left the party in October 2019, alleged that all parties in the fray are “cheating the public”.
The seat is also a prestige issue for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The BJP is trying its luck this time with the support of alliance partner Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of the INLD. Khattar said he is confident of wresting the seat from the Congress with the JJP support. The BJP had won 40 of the 90 Assembly seats in 2019 and formed the government with JJP support, which had won 10 seats. The Congress had won 31 seats.