Baroda bypoll: All set for counting on Tuesday

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Chandigarh, Nov 9 (PTI) All arrangements have been put in place for the counting of votes for the bypolls to Haryana's Baroda assembly seat on Tuesday, an official said.

“The counting will start at 8 am,” said Sonipat Deputy Commissioner Shaym Lal Poonia on Monday.

There will be 20 rounds of counting, he added.

Poonia said a three-tier security has been provided at the counting centre in Sonipat’s Mohana.

The Baroda assembly seat had recorded an overall turnout of 68.57 per cent on November 3. There are 14 candidates in the fray from the constituency.

In the 2019 assembly elections, 69.43 per cent of voters had voted.

The Baroda assembly seat fell vacant in April following the death of Congress MLA Krishan Hooda, who had won it consecutively thrice in 2009, 2014 and 2019. The Baroda bypoll was seen as a direct contest between the ruling BJP and the Congress.

The BJP fielded Olympian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, who had lost the 2019 assembly poll by about 4,800 votes to Congress candidate Shri Krishan Hooda.

The Congress nominated former Sonipat zila parishad member Indu Raj Narwal and INLD's candidate is Joginder Malik.

Seven independents and four candidates belonging to other parties, including former Kurukshetra MP Raj Kumar Saini, who heads the Loktantra Suraksha Party, are in the fray from the constituency.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Deputy CM Dushyant Chauatla had canvassed for Dutt while highlighting his achievements in wrestling.

The Baroda bypolls are a battle of prestige for former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as this Jat-dominated constituency lies adjacent to his own Garhi-Sampla Kiloi seat in Rohtak and is considered his stronghold.

Baroda was a reserved seat till 2005 and a pocket borough of the INLD before the Congress won it thrice since 2009.

The BJP had won 40 of the 90 assembly seats in 2019 and later formed the government with the JJP's support, which had won 10 seats in the last assembly elections.

A win in Baroda will take the saffron party's tally to 41 while if the Congress wins, its tally will remain unchanged at 31.

The INLD's strength will rise to two if they win the seat. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK