Hisar (Haryana): With Anna factor raising the stakes for the Congress, the high-pitched campaign for Hisar Lok Sabha bypoll dominated by wrangling between the ruling party and Team Anna came to an end this evening.

With political heavyweights locked in a triangular contest, the October 13 poll battle has turned fierce for Congress as it has not only fight its opponents INLD and BJP-HJC but also counter any negative fallout of Team Hazare's campaign which has openly come out against the party over the Lokpal issue.

Congress has fielded three-time MP from Hisar, Jai Prakash. He is pitted against Haryana Janhit Congress' Kuldeep Bishnoi, son of late Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, and main opposition INLD's Ajay Singh Chautala.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had been camping here for over a fortnight canvassing for his party candidate Jai Prakash. While Hooda's prestige is at stake as he had
prevailed upon the Congress high command to name Prakash as candidate, the poll is equally important for Bishnoi and the Chautalas.

Following Team Anna's appeal to people not to vote for Congress in Hisar bypolls, the Chief Ministers of Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan and senior party leaders at a poll rally on Monday hit back at the Civil Society members, dubbing them as agents of Opposition "trying to grind their own axe in the guise of fighting graft".

INLD also held its poll campaign here on Tuesday and asked voters to teach a lesson to the Congress under which corruption has allegedly flourished.

During poll campaign, Bishnoi invoked his late father Bhajan Lal and claimed himself to be the only "clean" candidate fighting from Hisar.

"I am Anna's fan and have been supporting his cause right from day one. Anna has asked people to leave out Congress and choose a candidate with clean image. People know reputation of Chautalas who are facing charges for amassing disproportionate income," Bishnoi had said.

Ajay Chautala, at present sitting MLA from Dabwali in Sirsa, also has tried to use the Anna card. "Our party was the first to support him. We were even ready to pass a resolution in the Haryana Assembly to urge the central government to pass Jan Lokpal Bill as framed by team Anna, but the Congress regime in the state did not support us," Chautala said.

Meanwhile, Congress has tried to put up a brave front during the poll campaign. Haryana unit Chief Phool Chand Mullana said the party is not perturbed by Team Anna's campaign and people will cast votes for Congress.

Bishnoi, whose five HJC MLAs switched over to the Congress immediately after the October 2009 Assembly polls, has his political future at stake.

Also at stake is INLD's reputation, particularly in the light of CBI cases facing its top leadership including Ajay. The party reckons itself as the main challenger.

In all, there are 40 candidates, mostly Independents, in the fray for the bypolls in the parliamentary constituency which has approximately 13.32 lakh voters including 7.29 lakh males.

(Agencies)