Hisar: HJC-BJP combine nominee Kuldeep Bishnoi on Monday won the prestigious Hisar Lok Sabha by-election in Haryana in a closely-fought battle in which Team Anna sought a crushing defeat for the Congress that was pushed to a far third position.

Bishnoi (42), son of former Haryana chief minister Bhajan Lal whose death caused the bypoll, retained the seat for the party defeating his nearest rival INLD’s Ajay Singh Chautala (50), son of former chief minister Om Parkash Chautala, by a margin of 6,323 votes, out of the over nine lakh votes polled.

Ruling Congress nominee and three-time MP from Hisar Jai Prakash (58), a former Union minister, finished third. He had won the seat last in 2004 as Congress nominee.

Bishnoi, whose Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) tied up with BJP, secured 3,55,941 votes followed by Chautala with 3,49,618 votes and way behind was Jai Parkash, who polled 1,49,785 votes. It was essentially a triangular contest in a field with 40 candidates and a total electorate of 13.32 lakh.

With the jury still out on whether Anna Hazare and his team’s anti-Congress campaign helped him, Bishnoi claimed it had no impact on his performance while the Congress said Hisar was always a bastion of some groups in the state and it put up a good fight.

Leading Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, who hails from Hisar and held an intensive campaign against Congress in the constituency, “it is a referendum on Jan Lokpal Bill. Congress should take a lesson and now pass Jan Lokpal Bill."

He said Team Anna had nothing to do with the victory of Bishnoi.

While Hazare sought defeat for Congress through a video appeal, Kejriwal was helped in the campaign by other key members of Team Anna Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia.

Bishnoi’s father Bhajan Lal had won the Hissar Lok Sabha seat in the 2009 elections with a margin of 6,983 votes over his nearest rival Sampat Singh of the INLD, who later joined Congress shortly before 2009 Assembly elections.

Jai Prakash had finished third in 2009 Lok Sabha elections when he secured 2,04,539 votes as compared with 1,49,785 votes secured now.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj thanked people of Haryana, particularly the electorate of Hisar, for supporting the BJP-HJC alliance and electing Bishnoi. “The BJP-HJC alliance will continue in future also," she said.

Echoing her words, Bishnoi said, “people have voted for the alliance and alliance will go a long way."

BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said the result clearly showed that tyhe people have voted against the Congress policies in tackling corruption. “This is a victory for democracy," he said.

Union finance minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee said, “a loss in any election is a sad thing. We shall have to analyse why we lost the bypolls and what are the reasons."

Kuldip Bishnoi, HJC-BJP alliance candidate, celebrates his victory in by-elections in Hisar on Monday. PTI

“It only did what was a logical movement in order that such MPs reach parliament whose party presidents commit to support JLPB on the floor of the house. All others had given (in Hisar) except the Congress. And it was for voters to decide," Bedi said.

Out of the nine assembly segments Bishnoi led in five - Adampur, Hansi, Barwala, Hisar and Nalwa. Chautala led in remaining four - Uchana Kalan, Uklana, Narnaund and Bawani Khera. The Congress nominee remained third in all the segments.

Bishnoi was maintaining a lead of around 30,000 votes till the last few rounds of counting but at the end HE had to be satisfied with a narrow lead of 6,323 votes.

The bypoll held on 13 October had witnessed a turnout of nearly 69% with the Anna factor raising the stakes for the Congress.

Thanking the voters, Bishnoi said that Hisar had been traditional seat won by a member of his family. “The win is basically because of my father and family’s track record. We have done a lot for Hisar," he said.

“The win today is a foundation stone for the formation of HJC-BJP government in the state in the future," he said.

He said that the people were dejected with the ruling Congress which had discriminated with areas of the state as far as carrying on developmental works were concerned.

“(Chief minister Bhupinder Singh) Hooda’s (alleged) corrupt practices and caste politics resulted in ruling Congress nominee finishing at third place," he said.

Jai Prakash had told reporters before the conclusion of the counting that Team Anna’s campaign had no impact here. “Results will show that in a while," he said.

Chautala showed confidence of winning the seat even as counting was on and Bishnoi was maintaining a constant lead. In the end he finished second.