Explained: Why the Elenabad poll is important for the Abhay Chautala and INLD’s BJP-JJP alliance

The constituency of Ellenabad in Haryana is expected to witness a triangular contest – between the INLD, the BJP-JJP and Congress – in the side polls scheduled for October 30. Abhay Chautala will fight to save the existence of his party in the Vidhan Sabha, the BJP and Congress also fielded candidates who enjoy strong support in the constituency. Results will be announced on November 2.

What prompted the Elenabad poll?

On January 27 of this year, Abhay Chautala, the only deputy of the INLD, drove a tractor to Haryana Vidhan Sabha to resign to speaker Gian Chand Gupta. Chautala, who represented the constituency of the Ellanabad Assembly, was the first member of the 90-member House to resign, expressing solidarity with the farmers. According to the rules, the poll was to be completed within six months, but it was extended due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Will the agitation of farmers have an impact on the bypoll?

It will be a tough competition for the candidate to waive power, as the BJP-JJP alliance is already facing immense opposition from the farming community over the three central agricultural legislations. Insiders told The Indian Express that appointing Gobind Kanda was part of BJP’s strategy. , since it enjoys significant support in the constituency. While Chautala claimed he had immense support from the farmers when he stepped down by expressing solidarity with their unrest, Kanda also faces opposition within the BJP as he was seen as an outsider. Congress, on the other hand, had also built its entire campaign around the continued agitation of farmers to woo the majority of the rural constituency.

How is this more important to the INLD than waiving power or the opposition Congress?

For the INLD, the bypoll is far more important than the ruling BJP-JJP or the main opposition Congress. The only way for the INLD to maintain its existence in Vidhan Sabha is to go through this poll. If Abhay Chautala fails to secure a victory in Ellenabad, INLD will be completely wiped out in the Vidhan Sabha.

For the BJP, a loss in the constituency would have a negative impact on the image of the ruling party, as it has already lost a secondary vote to Congress in the assembly constituency of Baroda. Despite Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt’s roster, the party lost to rookie Congress candidate Indu Raj Narwal. A victory in Ellenabad would bring the BJP’s number to 41 and give the party a slightly more dominant position over its ally, the JJP which currently has 10 MPs.

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For Congress, a victory would definitely strengthen its claim that the BJP-JJP combine is losing the people’s mandate. However, a defeat would not have much impact on Congress as it remains Vidhan Sabha’s second party with 31 MPs.

Who are the three best candidates in the running?

Ellenabad is traditionally a stronghold of the Chautala clan. While Abhay’s father and INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala won Ellenabad in 2009, Abhay won the assembly segment three times in a row, first in the 2010 by-elections, then in 2014 and 2019.

The BJP named Gobind Kanda, the brother of the only Haryana Lokhit party MP, Gopal Kanda. A few days after joining the BJP, Gobind was nominated by the party as a candidate for Ellenabad. Gopal Kanda represents the constituency of the Sirsa Assembly. The two Kanda brothers enjoy strong support in the parliamentary constituency of Sirsa, which includes the Assembly constituency of Elenabad.

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Congress, for its part, nominated BJP rebel Pawan Beniwal as a candidate. Beniwal had contested in the constituency on a BJP ticket in 2014 and 2019. He lost both times to Abhay Chautala. Recently, Pawan left the BJP and joined Congress. In 2019, while Abhay received around 57,000 votes, Beniwal finished second with around 45,000 votes while Congressman Bharat Singh Beniwal received around 35,000 votes and candidate JJP OP Sihag received over 6,500 votes.

What is the demographic position in the constituency?

The majority of voters in Elenabad constituency remain in the villages. The total number of voters in Elenabad constituency is 1 85,869 – 98,930 men and 86,639 women according to the website of the state chief electoral officer. Of the 190 polling stations in the constituency, 166 are in rural areas and 24 in urban areas. In the 2019 assembly polls, Ellenabad had 1,81,021 registered voters. Due to the majority of the rural population among the electorate, it will be a difficult competition for the candidate to dispense with power since the BJP-JJP alliance is already facing immense opposition from the farming community due to the ongoing agitation against the three central agricultural legislations. .