BJP's Baroda nominee Yogeshwar Dutt
BJP's Baroda nominee Yogeshwar Dutt
File Photo

Congress candidate Indu Raj Narwal on Tuesday defeated his nearest rival and BJP nominee Yogeshwar Dutt in the Baroda assembly seat of Haryana with a margin of over 10,000 votes, said officials.

The opposition Congress has retained the Baroda seat.

This is the second time that Olympian wrestler Dutt has lost the polls from this constituency.

Dutt had lost the 2019 assembly poll by about 4,800 votes to Congress candidate Krishan Hooda. The Baroda assembly seat fell vacant in April following the death of Hooda, who had won it thrice in the 2009, 2014 and 2019 assembly polls.

Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja said with their decision, the people of Baroda have given a "befitting reply" to "anti-farmers and anti-labour forces".

"The victory of Indu Raj Narwal is a win of farmers and labourers. I assure residents of Baroda that the Congress will live up to their expectations," tweeted Selja.

As per the update available on Election Commission of India website, Indu Raj has secured 57,676 against Dutt's 48,396 votes. Indian National Lok Dal candidate Joginder Singh Malik secured 4,883 votes.

There were 14 candidates, including Dutt and Narwal, in the fray in Baroda seat.

This was said to be a presitige battle for former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda`s image is at stake. Hooda put in all his political might in the bypolls to retain the seat as the party candidate was handpicked by him.

The seat was also a prestige issue for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. The BJP was trying its luck this time with the support of alliance partner Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of the INLD.

Earlier, Khattar said he was confident of wresting the seat from the Congress with the JJP support.

The BJP had won 40 of the 90 Assembly seats in 2019 and formed the government with the JJP`s support, which had won 10 seats. The Congress had won 31 seats.

Counting of votes is being held on Tuesday in assembly byelection to 58 seatsacross 11 states in the first major pan-India electoral exercise amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

(With agencies)

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Free Press Journal