Congress, opposition claim advantage as Haryana readies for polls | india | Hindustan Times
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Congress, opposition claim advantage as Haryana readies for polls

Poll officials and security personnel prepared for duty, many educational institutions closed early for Diwali and bars shut down as Haryana on Monday readied for the assembly elections with both the ruling Congress and the main opposition parties confident of victory.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2009 14:10 IST

Poll officials and security personnel readied for duty, many educational institutions closed early for Diwali and bars shut down as Haryana on Monday readied for the assembly elections with both the ruling Congress and the main opposition
parties confident of victory.

Voting for the 90-member assembly polls will take place on Tuesday from 7 am to 5 pm, Haryana's chief electoral officer Sajjan Singh said.

The election is being seen as a test for Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, whose government got the previous assembly dissolved seven months before its term ended to seek a fresh mandate.

The Congress had won nine out of 10 Lok Sabha seats in the May parliamentary election.

"We will come back to power comfortably," Hooda said after campaigning ended on Sunday evening.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed two rallies at Nuh (Mewat) and Jhajjar Sunday to end the poll campaign of the ruling party.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi also addressed election rallies in Haryana last week.

The main opposition, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), held its last big rally on Sunday at Uchana Kalan in Jind district from where INLD president and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala is contesting.

The Congress is being challenged by opposition parties INLD, Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

"The wave for change is clearly there. The INLD will form the next government in Haryana," INLD chief Chautala said.

The opposition is a divided house in Haryana this time. The INLD-BJP and HJC-BSP alliances broke before the assembly poll. The BJP and HJC also failed to reach an electoral agreement.

Important seats and personalities in this assembly poll include Garhi Sampla-Kiloi (Rohtak district) from where the chief minister is seeking re-election.

From Uchana Kalan (Jind), Om Prakash Chautala (INLD) has a tough contest against Congress candidate and Haryana's finance minister Birender Singh.

Chautala is also contesting the Ellenabad seat in Sirsa district.

HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi is contesting the Adampur seat (Hisar) while his mother Jasma Devi, wife of former chief minister Bhajan Lal, is contesting the Nalwa seat (Hisar) against former finance minister Sampat Singh.

Sale of liquor in shops, hotels, restaurants and bars has been banned from 5 pm on Sunday till 5 pm on Tuesday on the orders of the Election Commission.

Nearly 70,000 government officials and about 65,000 security personnel will be on duty to ensure the smooth conduct of the election.

Haryana has an electorate of over 13 million - 7.1 million men and 5.9 million women. The highest number of voters are in the Gurgaon assembly constituency with over 231,000 voters.

Electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used in 13,524 polling stations on Tuesday.

Counting of votes will take place Oct 22.