Rohtak: Haryana recorded 63.36 percent turnout as it went to the polls Monday to elect 90 MLAs for its 14th Vidhan Sabha as Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar eyes a second straight term. Polling, which began at 7 am, remained peaceful barring some reports of violence at Nuh and bogus voting allegations from Hisar district.
In Malaaka village of Nuh district, six were injured as a clash broke out between two groups outside a polling booth, said police. According to officials, an argument between a sarpanch and a former sarpanch led to a clash between their supporters. Nuh Superintendent of Police Sangeeta Kalia confirmed six were injured in stone-pelting between two groups.
In Ucchana segment of Hisar district, Jannayak Janta Party leader Dushyant Chautala, who is contesting against BJP’s Prem Lata, alleged bogus voting in Dumarkha village. Prem Lata is the wife of former Union minister Birender Singh and mother of Hisar BJP MP Brijender Singh.
Talking to the media, Dushyant alleged that a complaint has been filed with the polling officer that a woman who went to cast her ballot was told that she had already done so. “When I tried speaking to the polling officer, an agent for a BJP candidate threw a tumbler at me,” Dushyant alleged. He added that he had filed a complaint with the Jind deputy commissioner.
Jind deputy commissioner Aditya Dahiya and Superintendent of Police Ashwin Shenvi reached the spot with additional forces to control the situation.
Similarly, in Rohtak Assembly segment, Congress candidate BB Batra’s son Siddhart alleged that Bappan Gulia, an agent for a BJP candidate, threatened a Congress worker at gunpoint. Gulia was later arrested by the police.
A scuffle between BJP and Congress party workers broke out in Bahadurgarh, Jhajjar district. Congress workers blamed BJP candidate Naresh Kaushik for "instigating his supporters."
Vikar Gupta, a resident of Bahadurgarh, complaining on Twitter that someone voted using his mother's name.
Big guns turn up
Many prominent figures turned up to cast their votes including Khattar, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and INLD’s Abhay Singh Chautala. Haryana’s lone woman minister Kavita Jain turned up along with her husband and BJP leader Rajiv and their two children, both first-time voters. They were among the early voters in Sonepat constituency.
Khattar took the Jan Shatabdi Express from Chandigarh to Karnal — from where he is seeking reelection — to cast his vote. Khattar took a bicycle from Karnal to the polling booth and urged the public to use cycles to commute short distances to help the environment.
Chautala, along with wife Meghna and mother Naina Chautala who is an MLA, drove a tractor to reach the Sirsa polling booth. Hooda reached his native village Sanghi with his family around 10 am, where he visited a temple before casting his vote in Rohtak's Garhi Sampla-Kiloi constituency.
Hooda, speaking to the media, claimed that the Congress party is going to form the government in Haryana and BJP’s claim of forming next government with ‘75 paar’ will turn a hollow slogan.
Khattar claimed his party faces no competition from the Congress, who contested the election "half-heartedly." “We would easily achieve 75 plus seats this time,” Khattar added.
Babita Phogat, two-time Commonwealth gold medalist wrestler-turned-politician and BJP candidate from Dadri, along with her father Mahavir and sister Geeta, cast her vote at her native village in Charkhi-Dadri district.
Haryana recorded 63.36 percent voter turnout in 90 Assembly constituencies amid tight security. Polling continued till 6 pm, officials said. According to the Election Commission data, brisk polling went on in many districts and around noon, close to 25 percent voters cast their vote. In 2014 Assembly poll, the voter turnout crossed 76 percent. Till 4 pm, the highest turnout was recorded in Hisar's Narnaund constituency (63.75 percent) and the lowest turnout in Panipat City (35 percent).
Chief Electoral Officer Anurag Agarwal said polling remained peaceful. "Minor technical snags were reported in EVMs at 15 places across the state and teams were rushed to rectify the faults," he told the media at his noon briefing in Chandigarh.
10% candidates have criminal records
Ten percent of Haryana candidates had criminal records. The combined assets of the three richest candidates amount to more than Rs 600 crore. Topping the list is Rohtas Singh from Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) with assets worth Rs 325 crore, BJP's Captain Abhimanyu with Rs 170 crore and Congress’ Sukhbir Kataria with Rs 106 crore, as per the affidavits submitted to the Election Commission.
Contesting from Gurugram, Kataria has 44 cases registered against him. Further, a study by Association of Democratic Reforms, which examined the affidavits of the candidates, revealed that at least 10 percent of the 1,169 candidates have criminal cases against them.
In the 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP won 47 seats. It won the Jind bypolls earlier this year taking its total strength to 48.
The INLD has 19 MLAs while the Congress has 17 legislators. The results will be out on 24 October.
The author is Rohtak-based freelance journalist and a member of 101Reporters
Updated Date: Oct 21, 2019 19:42:16 IST