With Ramgarh victory, Congress at half-way mark in Rajasthan; BJP wins Jind bypoll in Haryana

In a major boost to the Ashok Gehlot government, the Congress has won the Ramgarh assembly seat in Rajasthan in the bypoll held on Monday. The Congress won the Ramgarh assembly constituency with a margin of 12,228 votes over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won Jind bypoll in neighbouring Haryana.

Congress candidate Shafia Zubair garnered a total of 83,311 votes while BJP’s Suwant Singh polled 71,083 votes. The victory in Ramgarh bypoll takes the Congress’s total number of seats in Rajasthan assembly to 100 in the 200-member house.
After the Ramgarh bypoll result was declared, winning candidate Shafia Zubair said, “People know that we believe in working.” She won with a margin of 12,228 votes over her BJP rival Suwant Singh.

Reacting to the Ramgarh bypoll result, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “I am happy that people took a well meditated step. They have taken the right decision. I thank them and express my gratitude. They have given a message at a time when it was much needed. It will encourage the party ahead of the Lok Sabha election.”

The BJP won Jind bypoll by a marginof 12,248 voter over Jannayak Janata Party. The BJP polled 49,229 votes while the JJP got 37,681 votes. The Congress finished third.

Held only months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the by-elections were being keenly watched in anticipation that they would give some indication about the general elections likely to be held in April-May this year.

The elections to the Jind and Ramgarh constituencies saw 79.14% and around 76% polling respectively on Monday.

Both Ramgarh and Jind saw a multi-cornered high-stake bypolls. At Ramgarh, the Congress, the BJP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) fielded new faces. The polling in Ramgarh could not be held on December 7 along with other constituencies during the Rajasthan assembly election following the death of BSP candidate Lakshman Singh Chaudhary.

Experts said the constituency witnessed a triangular contest for the first time in 20 years. Jagat Singh, son of former external affairs minister Natwar Singh, was the BSP candidate who faced Congress’s Shafia Zubair and BJP’s Sukhwant Singh. Jagat Singh was the BJP MLA from Kaman in the 2013-2018 assembly, but the party denied him a ticket this time.

BJP candidate Sukhwant Singh is former pradhan or the head of block panchayat body. Winning Congress candidate Saphia Khan is the wife of former MLA Zubair Khan.

In Haryana’s Jind, prestige was at stake for the ruling BJP, the opposition INLD, the Congress and the fledgeling JJP, formed by Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala after the split in the INLD.

Arch rivals BJP, Congress, INLD and the JJP are eyeing the results as a self-assessment exercise ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The by-poll was also considered as a referendum on the Manohar Lal Khattar government and also a semi-final ahead of the general election.

The bypoll was necessitated following the death of INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha last August last year.

Among the 21 candidates in the fray were senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is also the party’s sitting MLA from Kaithal, late Hari Chand Middha’s son and BJP candidate Krishan Middha and INLD’s Umed Singh Redhu.

The result of Jind bypoll will also decide the fate of Digvijay Singh Chautala and Vinod Arshi, respective candidates of two newly-formed political outfits — JJP and Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) of BJP rebel MP Raj Kumar Saini.

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