INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala won the Ellenabad bypoll after defeating his nearest rival, Gobind Kanda of the BJP, by a margin of 6,739 votes today.
Mr Kanda, a candidate put up by the BJP-JJP ruling combine, gave a close fight to Mr Chautala, whose resignation in January against the centre’s farm laws had necessitated the October 30 bypoll.
The results, however, came as a disappointment for the main opposition Congress as its candidate Pawan Beniwal trailed at the third spot and lost the security deposit.
Over 81 per cent of 1.86 lakh voters had cast their vote.
According to the result declared by the Election Commission, Indian National Lok Dal’s Abhay Chautala defeated BJP’s Gobind Kanda by a margin of 6,739 votes.
This was Mr Chautala’s fourth win from the family’s traditional stronghold seat and fifth electoral win in an assembly poll.
While Mr Chautala polled a total of 65,992 votes, Mr Kanda secured 59,253 votes and Mr Beniwal got 20,904 votes.
However, the victory margin of Mr Chautala was down from the 2019 assembly polls when he won by over 12,000 votes from Ellenabad.
The win was crucial for INLD as Mr Chautala was the lone party MLA in the 90-member Haryana Assembly. A defeat would have dealt a blow to the party which has suffered a series of electoral setbacks in recent years.
In the Haryana Assembly, the ruling BJP has 40 members, the JJP 10 and the Congress 31. Seven are Independents, five of whom are supporting the government, while one member is of the Haryana Lokhit Party. After his win, Mr Chautala is once again the lone INLD member in the assembly.
Among the twelve Independents who were in the fray, Vikram Pal secured the maximum 575 votes. As many as 480 voters opted for the NOTA option.
Mr Chautala secured 43.49 per cent of the over 1.51 lakh votes polled, while the BJP candidate got 39.05 per cent of the votes and the Congress candidate got 13.78 per cent of the votes.
In the 2019 elections, Mr Beniwal had finished second from the Ellenabad seat, which Mr Chautala won.
While there were 19 candidates in the fray, most of them Independents, the main contest eventually turned out to be between Mr Chautala and Mr Kanda.
Mr Chautala maintained a consistent lead during the first seven rounds of counting but the margin dropped from 8,180 votes to 2,985 in the subsequent two rounds. However, Mr Chautala again increased his lead and won. This was his third win in a bye-election.
Gobind Kanda, the brother of Haryana Lokhit Party chief and MLA Gopal Kanda, joined the ruling BJP last month.
Gopal Kanda, the MLA from Sirsa, has extended support to the BJP-JJP government in Haryana.
Mr Beniwal, who had unsuccessfully contested the previous Assembly polls against Mr Chautala, recently switched over from the BJP to the Congress.
Mr Chautala, the younger son of INLD president and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, had won the Rori assembly bypoll in Sirsa district in 2000.
Mr Chautala won the 2010 bypoll from Ellenabad, when Om Prakash Chautala vacated the seat to retain the Uchana seat in Jind district, the other constituency from which he had contested the election in 2009 and won.
Mr Chautala retained the Ellenabad seat in 2014 as well. He again won from Ellenabad in the 2019 assembly polls.