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Jind, Ramgarh bypolls: Voting underway amid tight security

Nearly 1,71,113 people, including 80,000 women, are eligible to vote in today’s bypolls.
JIND: Polling for the Jind and Ramgarh assembly constituencies is currently underway amid unprecedented security arrangements put in place by the state election commission on Monday.
At least 21 candidates, including two women, are in the fray for the Jind bypoll.
Voting began at 7 AM and will conclude at 5 PM, according to the Election Commission officials.
JIND
Nearly 1,71,113 people, including 80,000 women, are eligible to vote, the EC officials said, adding 158 polling stations have been set up, of which 67 are in rural areas.
As part of elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of polling, nearly 3,000 policemen will be put on duty, a senior police official said.
The constituency is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with prestige at stake for key political outfits, including the ruling BJP and the opposition INLD, Congress and the fledgling JJP, formed by Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala after a split in INLD.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Indian National Lok Dal legislator Hari Chand Middha in August last year.
As part of elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of polling, nearly 3,000 policemen will be put on duty, a senior police official said.
He said the Jind assembly segment has been divided into 24 sectors, with six deputy superintendents of police being made in-charge to oversee security arrangements.
Counting of votes will take place on January 31.
Prominent among the candidates include senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is also the party’s sitting MLA from Kaithal, the late Hari Chand Middha’s son and ruling BJP candidate Krishan Middha and INLD’s Umed Singh Redhu.
Besides, the bypoll will also decide the fate of Digvijay Singh Chautala and Vinod Arshi, respective candidates of two newly formed political outfits – Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) of BJP’s rebel MP Raj Kumar Saini.
Earlier, the high-decibel canvassing exercise, which came to an end on Saturday evening, was dominated by barbs, charges and counter-charges as arch-rivals BJP, Congress, INLD and JJP are eyeing the results as a self-assessment exercise ahead of Lok Sabha polls this year.
The high-stakes election is considered a referendum on the Manohar Lal Khattar government and also a semi-final ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Notably, Surjewala, Redhu and Digvijay are all Jats while Middha belongs to the Punjabi community.
As many as 48,000 voters – out of the total 1,71,113 eligible to vote – belong to the Jat community while the remaining belong to Brahmin, Punjabi and other communities.
Arshi, a Brahmin leader from Jind, could also play spoilsport in the multi-cornered contest.
RAMGARH
Meanwhile, the bypoll for Ramgarh seat in Rajasthan will also take place on Monday.
The election in this constituency was not held along with other 199 constituencies on December 7 due to the demise of BSP candidate Laxman Singh.
As many as 20 candidates including two women are in the fray for the assembly polls which will be held on 278 booths in the constituency, according to returning officer Pankaj Sharma.
Former union minister Natwar Singh’s son Jagat Singh – a former MLA – is BSP’s candidate from this seat, while the ruling Congress has fielded Shafia Zubair as its candidate. Sukhwant Singh is BJP’s candidate from the seat, which has a total of 2.35 lakh voters.
Around 278 polling stations have been set up for the election.
The result will be announced on January 31.
In the December 7 assembly elections, Congress finished as the single largest party winning 99 out of 200 seats.
The BJP won 73 seats, BSP 6, RLPT 3, CPI (M) and BPT 2 each and independents managed to win on 13 seats.

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