The Congress on Wednesday announced that its chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala will be the party's candidate for the by-election to Haryana's Jind Assembly constituency.
After a round of meetings, chaired by senior Congress leader K C Venugopal and attended by top party leaders from Haryana, Congress party president Rahul Gandhi took a final call on the nominee.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) press release of the announcement says the following:
The Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi, has approved the candidature of Shri Randeep Singh Surjewala as Congress candidate for the ensuing by-election to the Legislative Assembly of Haryana from 36 - Jind Constituency
The Congress leaders feel Surjewala is the party's strongest candidate in the region, the sources said. Surjewala had reportedly refused to contest but was asked by Gandhi himself to fight the January 28 bypoll, they added. The tenure of the 90-member Haryana Assembly ends on November 2, 2019. The party leaders felt that a strong candidate should be fielded as the Congress cannot afford to lose an election ahead of state assembly polls, the sources said. The BJP had swept the recently-held municipal elections in the state of Haryana.
The Election Commission had on December 31 announced that the bypoll to the Jind Assembly seat would be held on January 28 and the results will be out on January 31. The filing of nominations began on January 3 and end on January 10.
Surjewala is a sitting MLA from Haryana's Kaithal. Apart from having held a number of key posts in past Haryana governments, Randeep Singh Surjewala also holds several 'youngest-ever' achievements ranging from being the youngest General Secretary of the Haryana Youth Congress at the age of just 17 to becoming the youngest office-bearer of the AICC in 2004. He contested his first election to the Haryana assembly in 1993 and succeeded in becoming an MLA three years later by defeating then Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala.
The BJP's nominee for the seat is Krishan Middha, the son of late Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLA Hari Chand Middha. The INLD is yet to announce its candidate.