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Four-cornered battle likely in Karnal

January 31, 2005 16:44 IST

Electioneering in Karnal constituency has reached its peak.

A four-cornered contest between Jai Parkash Gupta (Independent), Shashi Pal Mehta (Bharatiya Janata Party), Dharampal Gupta (Indian National Lok Dal) and Sumita Singh (Congress) is on the cards.

The assembly constituency comprises 1,58,796 voters.

Despite supporting the Congress in last year's Rajya Sabha election, legislator Jai Parkash Gupta was denied a party ticket this year.

The Congress nominee Singh seems to be struggling to gain ground, while Jai Parkash Gupta hopes to cash in on sympathy votes after the Congress 'betrayal.'

Congress workers agree their candidate faces an uphill task, as Jai Parkash Gupta had won in 2000 despite a wave favouring the INLD-BJP alliance.

The BJP's Mehta is trying to cash in on the factionalism within the Congress.

In the 1996 election, Mehta had defeated Jai Parkash Gupta by a margin of 8,418 votes.

The INLD has fielded a new face -- Dharampal Gupta -- who is trying to make a dent in the Bania community, which traditionally does not favour the party.

Looking at the track record, the Congress won in Karnal in 1991 and finished as runner-up in 1996.

The BJP, on the other hand, won five of the nine assembly elections.

The Independents have won twice -- Shanti Parsad in 1968 and Jai Parkash Gupta in 2000.

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