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Deepender Hooda wins by huge margin
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, October 1
The Congress nominee, Mr Deepender Hooda, was today declared elected to the Lok Sabha from the Rohtak parliamentary constituency by a massive margin.
He defeated his nearest rival Capt Abhimanyu of the BJP by 2,32,198 votes. This was the first election of his political career.

Mr Hooda, who is a son of the Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, polled 3,55,230 votes against the 1,23,032 polled by the BJP nominee. Mr Hooda had quit the Lok Sabha after his elevation to the post of the Chief Minister in March last.

The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate, Mr Balwan Singh Suhag, came a poor third with just 41,710 votes in his kitty. Only four of the 12 independent candidates reached the four figure mark, with Mr Satender heading the list with just 2,930 votes.

The Chief Ministerís son improved upon the margin of victory of his father in the May 2004 election by about 81,000 votes. Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda had then defeated Capt Abhimanyu by about 1.51 lakh votes.

Mr Deepender Hooda also polled more votes than his father in 2004. While his father had polled 3,24,235 votes, he polled 3,55,230 votes. This is despite the fact the Rohtak Lok Sabha segment had recorded just about 50 per cent polling in this byelection.

The INLD saw yet another dent created in its base in the area. Its nominee polled about 65,000 less votes compared to the May 2004 election. Likewise, the BJP nominee also polled about 50,000 less votes.

Although Mr Deepender Hooda won from all nine Assembly segments that make up the Rohtak parliamentary constituency, the Chief Ministerís assembly segment Kiloi gave him the highest margin. Here, the Congress nominee polled around 56,000 more votes than his nearest rival.

In the Rohtak segment, the Congress nominee led by about 14,000 votes. This constituency had recorded a very low voter turnout primarily because more than 70,000 residents who travel to Delhi daily to look after their businesses and jobs could not vote, as the polling took place on what was for them a working day. In their absence, most of the female members of their families also stayed at home on the polling day.

In the rural areas, the turnout was adversely affected because the Election Commission only recognised voter I-cards and ration cards as proof of votersí identity. Since the EC ruling came halfway through the campaign, it could not be publicised much. As a result, those who carried other proofs of identity such as driving licence and employerís identity card were turned away from the polling booths.

Mr Deepender Hooda (27) will be one of the youngest members of the Lok Sabha. He is a graduate from the Birla Institute of Textiles, Bhiwani. Later, he did his MBA from Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, USA. He also served in the USA for about two years before quitting his job to contest the byelection.

He will be the third member of the Hooda family to occupy a seat in the Lok Sabha. Before him, his father was elected to this house four times and his grandfather thrice.

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