CHANDIGARH: The 51-year-old Randeep Singh Surjewala if at all wins the Jind by-election, could likely to emerge as an alternative to former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and a more powerful leader in the state Congress.
The AICC media in charge and Jat by caste Surjewala has nothing to lose in this election even if he doesn't win, as he would still continue to be MLA from Kaithal and a close confidant of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
In the past Surjewala had been the president of Indian Youth Congress, while his candidature to head the Haryana Youth Congress was scuttled by the state Congress leaders.
He was not willing to contest this by-election as he was already an MLA but it is due to Rahul Gandhi he had to contest and is likely to upset the electoral arithmetic, as this constituency has as a substantial Dalit and Jat population, said sources.
The infighting between the Haryana Congress is an open secret as state unit President Ashok Tanwar and former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda do not see eye to eye due to their political and personal differences.
Now both these leaders and whole of state Congress is trying to put a united face, as Tanwar is camping for Surjewala and Hooda, besides other leaders were there for his nominations.
Thus Surjewala who had been a cabinet minister in the Hooda led Congress Government in the state could recast the state Congress equations if he wins these by-elections.
The area of Jind had been a Jat stronghold but since 1977 onwards this constituency has been consecutively represented by non-Jat candidates.
This assembly segment has about 28 per cent Jat voters, around 9 per cent Brahman and Punjabi voters, 8 per cent Bania, besides Other Backward Castes and Scheduled Castes.
With Congress fielding Surjewala, the BJP which has never won this seat ever has fielded a non-Jat candidate Krishan Lal Middha, son of late INLD MLA Hari Chand Middha.
He had joined the saffron party after his father's death.
This seat was represented by his late father, who was two-time MLA from here.
While Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) has also put a non-jat candidate Vinod Asri.
Also, both Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and newly formed Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) have fielded jat candidates, While Umed Redhu is from INLD and Digvijay Chautala who is an independent is backed by JPP. The last time a jat candidate won from here was Chaudhary Dal Singh in 1972 on Congress (S) ticket.