In a fiercely contested assembly polls, Haryana registered a record turnout of 75.9% on Wednesday, even as violence marred polling in several parts of the state. Counting will take place on October 19.
Haryana chief electoral officer Shrikant Walgad, however, said the polling figure was provisional.
In the 2009 assembly elections, the turnout was 72.29%; in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it was 70.5%. The previous record for the highest polling in the state was 72.65%, in the first assembly polls (1967).
Voting remained brisk throughout the day, reaching 53% by 3pm. Sirsa district, which has five assembly seats, witnessed the highest turnout (84.3%), while the lowest was in Faridabad district (62.1%), having six seats.
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Walgad said sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some parts of the state. He said the reported death of a child in Mewat district was not poll-related. He added that there were allegations of people forcibly entering polling booths, but claimed that voting continued without any disruption. In Sirsa district, he said, there was an incident of firing in a village, adding that the police were investigating the case. In Barwala also, there was an incident of stone-pelting and torching of motorcycles. The inspector general of police and the deputy commissioner visited the site. However, there, too, the polling continued.
The chief electoral officer said the polled EVMs would now be kept in the strong rooms in the presence of observers and these would be handed over to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Candidates or their agents can remain present when the EVMs are being stored.
In the morning, polling was marred by incidents of violence at Sirsa, Rohtak, Hisar and Sonepat. Voting was disrupted in Chuhadpur village of hotly contested Uchana Kalan assembly seat in Jind district as Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers clashed. A poll official was also roughed up. Dushyant Chautala, INLD MP from Hisar, is pitted against Prem Lata Singh, the wife of Congressman-turned-BJP leader Birender Singh.
Polling in Gurgaon was also affected by violence when miscreants opened fire in Sohna constituency. However, no one was injured. In neighbouring Mewat, a six-month-old child died when he fell from his mother’s arms during clashes between rival groups.
At least 15 persons, including cops, were injured when two INLD and HJC workers clashed at Niana village in Barwala assembly constituency (Hisar) over bogus voting. Miscreants torched seven motorcycles parked near the polling booths. The police fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd.
The situation became tense at Badshahpur village in Narnaund assembly segment over reports of bogus voting. BJP supporters accused the INLD of attempting to capture a polling booth. BJP candidate from Narnaund Capt Abhimanyu, too, alleged that the INLD tried to capture a booth. He told reporters in Narnaund that wires of a web-casting camera were cut in booth number 140. “This is a hyper¬sensitive booth. But the police were sitting like a mute spectator,” he said. An INLD spokesman said Abhimanyu was levelling false allegations out of frustration, sensing his imminent defeat.
Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP) chief and sitting Sirsa MLA Gopal Kanda allegedly slapped his INLD rival Makhan Lal Singla, triggering a backlash by INLD workers who pelted stones at his vehicle at Sirsa’s Gaushal Mohalla. In Modia Khera village of Sirsa, an INLD worker, Sandeep Chayal, was injured after a supporter of Gokul Setia, the son of BJP candidate from Sirsa Sunita Setia, allegedly opened fire at him. Polling was stopped after the incident for some time, but it later resumed.
In Madina village of Meham assembly constituency (Rohtak), tempers flared when supporters of the INLD and the Congress clashed, accusing each other of bogus voting. Polling was suspended for a while after a posse of cops dispersed the clashing supporters from the spot.
A clash was reported from Sonepat district, where Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and INLD supporters clashed at a booth in Sonepat town over bogus voting. A sub-inspector and five others were injured as two groups indulged in stone-pelting at Chochra village of Assandh assembly constituency in Karnal district.
Ellenabad (Sirsa) 89%
Badkhal (Faridabad): 55.9%
Turnout (assembly polls)