Road shows, rallies, door-to-door campaigning and last-minute press conferences marked the day as campaigning for Wednesday’s elections in Haryana ended on Monday.
With no local face in Maharashtra which has 288 seats and Haryana which has 90 seats, the BJP banked heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to campaign for Wednesday’s elections which are a test of popularity for the BJP after its spectacular win in the Lok Sabha election five months ago. The counting of votes will be held on Sunday.
In Haryana, the main contest is between the ruling Congress, a resurgent opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the BJP. Polling will be held in 16,357 centres between 7am and 6pm. There are 1,351 candidates, including a record 109 women.
Modi addressed over 30 rallies in the two states.
While campaigning in Haryana, Modi hit out at the Congress government and the Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD for running the state like a “family fiefdom” saying the BJP would propel the state on the path of development.
In what is being touted as chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s toughest battle yet, the Congress is fast losing ground in the state. The party has 41 MLAs in the current assembly while the INLD has 34 and the BJP, which is going out of its way to leave a mark in these elections, has just four legislators.
The campaigning for the elections in Haryana ended at 6 pm on Monday. Haryana chief electoral officer Shrikant Walgad said no party or candidate would now do any publicity on the electronic media.
Saying that rallies and public meetings related to elections had also been banned, he said constant vigil was being kept on people and vehicles in all border areas of Haryana as liquor vends in the state and those falling in a radius of 3 km area of the border of the state would remain closed till the completion of the election procedure.
Polling parties will leave for their respective booths with publicity material on October 14 while a mock poll will be organised in front of agents of candidates from 6 am to 7 am on October 15 and after that polling will be held.
Walgad said 2,700 sensitive booths had been identified in the state where video cameras and CCTV cameras would be installed, web-casting would be done and micro-observers would be deputed at all polling booths for monitoring the election process.
He said a total of 24,000 ballot units and 18,320 control units would be used during the elections. There are 30 assembly constituencies where more than 15 candidates each are contesting and two EVMs each would be installed in these segments. One EVM each would be installed in the remaining 60 assembly constituencies, he added.
The Haryana government has notified that October 15, the polling day, will be observed as a public holiday in all government, semi-government offices, educational institutes, boards and corporations in the state, Chandigarh and Delhi. The employees of various factories, shops and private establishments located in the state, who are registered voters, will also be allowed to take leave (paid) under the Representation of the People Act.