Baroda bypoll

Independent candidate could make electoral fight interesting

Dr Narwal was considered strong contender for both BJP, Cong ticket

Sushil Manav

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16

The Baroda bypoll has taken an interesting turn with Dr Kapoor Singh Narwal, once considered a strong contender for both the BJP and Congress ticket, filing papers as an independent candidate.

A long-time associate of the INLD, Dr Narwal, an ayurvedic graduate from Baba Mastnath Ayurvedic College, Rohtak, had first switched loyalty to Dushyant Chautala’s JJP, but quit the party to join the BJP before the 2019 Assembly poll.

On Thursday, Dr Narwal suddenly removed the BJP flag from atop his Gohana residence, giving credence to rumours that he was likely to get the Congress ticket due to his newly developed proximity to former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The Congress ticket went to Induraj Narwal, a Zila Parishad member. Dr Narwal, with the support of Balraj Kundu, Independent MLA from Meham, filed his nomination as an independent candidate today.

Being a well-known figure in the area, Dr Narwal’s candidature is being seen with interest, though it is yet to be seen whether Induraj Narwal or Yogeshwar Dutt of the BJP will benefit from his jumping into the fray.

While Dutt is a Brahmin, the other three major candidates — Induraj Narwal, Dr Narwal and Joginder Malik of the INLD — are Jats.

Kundu, who accompanied Dr Narwal to the office of the returning officer today, had to face the wrath of Congress supporters, who alleged that he was working in connivance with the BJP to harm the Congress candidate’s prospects.

Kundu maintained that Dr Narwal was a “panchayati” candidate adopted by people of the constituency and would emerge the winner.

Hooda, while exuding confidence of the party candidate’s victory in the bypoll, said it would be a direct fight between the Congress and BJP and Dr Narwal would not be able to get much support.

He, however, hoped that Dr Narwal would see reason and eventually support the Congress candidate. State Congress president Kumari Selja expressed confidence that the Congress candidate would win comfortably.

State BJP chief OP Dhankar said that his party was only concentrating on its own merits. “We have fielded the best candidate, Dutt, an Olympic medallist in wrestling, and our party are the best. We have much to offer to the electorate since we are in power in the state,” he said.

Abhay Chautala, who accompanied the party candidate to the returning officer, said Dr Narwal was an old supporter of the INLD and he would try to convince him to support his candidate in the byelection.

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