The ruling BJP has won Haryana's Jind, a crucial assembly by-election, in which the Congress -- which won the Ramgarh seat in Rajasthan today -- trailed at number three, behind the newly launched Jannayak Janata Party (JJP).
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the seat by nearly 13,000 votes. The BJP's Krishan Lal Middha, an ayurvedic doctor, got about 50,000 votes against over 37,000 votes secured by Jannayak Janata Party's (JJP) 27-year-old Digvijay Singh Chautala. Congress' heavyweight candidate Randeep Singh Surjewala managed to get a little more than 22,000 votes.
As celebrations began in the BJP camp, Mr Surjewala conceded defeat and said he hoped the new legislator would do everything possible to develop Jind.
"I hope Manohar Lal Khattar and Krishna Middha ji will fulfil the dreams of the people of Jind. I was given a responsibility by the party which I fulfilled to the best of my abilities, I congratulate Krishna Middha ji," said Mr Surjewala.
The counting had to be stopped for some time after a complaint regarding the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
To register their protest, supporters of the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) took to the streets alleging that the EVMs had been tampered with. The Haryana Police and paramilitary forces had to use sticks to disperse crowds. The police said the protests took place around 300 metres from the counting centre and did not affect the process.
"We had to use slight force to disperse them. The situation is normal now," Ashwin Shenvi, superintendent of Jind, said.
According to reports, the serial numbers of two EVMs did not match with the list and one of the contesting candidates inside the counting centre raised an objection.
A direct fight between the BJP and the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) initially, the bypoll turned into a high-stake contest after the Congress fielded its senior leader Randeep Surjewala, a Jat leader. Mr Surjewala is also the sitting legislator from the neighbouring district of Kaithal.
The Loktantar Suraksha Party (LSP), launched by rebel BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini, made an impressive start and stood at the fourth position. The INLD, which had won the seat in the last two elections, was number five. The INLD is represented by Umed Singh Redhu as its candidate.
Jannayak Janta Party, a breakaway outfit of the Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD, nominated Digvijay Singh Chautala.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha last year. His son Krishna Middha switched over to the BJP soon after.The winner will have about nine months to serve in his constituency, but the bypoll is an important test for the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government ahead of the national election.
Twenty-one candidates, including two women, had contested the Jind bypoll, held on January 28, which registered a turnout of 75.77 per cent.
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