Jind (Har), Jan 27 (PTI) All necessary arrangements have been put in place for smooth and peaceful conduct of polling on Monday for the high-stakes bypoll to the Jind assembly constituency.

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 split in INLD.

The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Indian National Lok Dal legislator Hari Chand Middha in August last year.

As many as 1,71,113 people, including nearly 80,000 women, are eligible to vote, officials said, adding 158 polling stations have been set up, of which 67 are in rural areas.

The votes will be polled between 7am and 5pm, Election Commission officials said.

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.

Twenty one candidates including two women have entered the fray.

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-stake 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.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.