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Haryana

Posted at: Jan 21, 2019, 7:56 AM; last updated: Jan 21, 2019, 7:56 AM (IST)BYPOLL BATTLE

Non-Jats, non-Punjabis hold the key in Jind

Cong candidate Surjewala, BJP nominee Middha woo Bania, Brahmin communities
Non-Jats, non-Punjabis hold the key in Jind
Mobilising support: BJP candidate Krishan Middha campaigns in Jind. Tribune photo

Vishal Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jind, January 20

As canvassing for the Jind Assembly byelection intensifies, political analysts opine that non-Jat and non-Punjabi voters may play a crucial role in deciding the winning candidate.

Experts say the key political contenders, including Congress nominee Randeep Singh Surjewala and BJP’s Krishan Middha, are working hard to win over voters from the Bania and Brahmin communities.

The Bania and Brahmin communities each make up for about 10 per cent of the urban segment of Jind. 

“Leaders from the trading community of Banias hold the key to the Jind segment. Since 1967, 12 Assembly elections have been held in Haryana, and Bania leaders have represented Jind on eight occasions,” said psephologist Kushal Pal.

But the interesting thing is none of the political parties  has fielded a Bania candidate. It has happened for the first time in the last four decades. “In such a scenario, Banias may vote for a candidate having proximity to them,” said Pal, state coordinator of Lokniti, a social science research programme of New Delhi’s Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

The BJP hopes to garner a sizeable share of votes from Punjabis, who comprise 10 per cent of the total population in the segment, as Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is a Punjabi.

Pal said Jat voters had about 30 per cent presence in the city and adjoining villages. There are three Jat contenders — Surjewala, INLD’s Umed Redhu and Jannayak Janata Party’s Digvijay Chautala — and vote share from the community may be divided among them.

“The INLD is known for its support base among Jats. Its splinter group, the JJP, is also eyeing to win the confidence of old-time supporters in the community. It remains to be seen who wins the confidence of Jats and members of other social groups,” he added.

Another political analyst opines that vote share of Loktantra Suraksha Manch (LSP) candidate Vinod Kumar Ashri may impact BJP’s prospects.

“Ashri is an important Brahmin leader from Jind as he remained chairperson of the Jind MC twice. Raj Kumar Saini, LSP patron and BJP’s rebel MP from Kurukshetra, has an influence among voters from OBC communities. The LSP’s electoral gain will be a direct loss to the BJP in the same proportion,” the political expert said.

Constitute 20% of electoral strength

  • The Bania and Brahmin communities each make up for about 10 per cent of the urban segment of Jind. 
  • It has happened for the first time in the last four decades that none of the political party has fielded a Bania candidate.

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