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Haryana assembly elections: 32 injured in violence

Stray incidents of violence on Wednesday marked the assembly polls in Haryana leaving 32 persons, including 10 policemen injured as 73 per cent of 1.63 crore voters cast their ballots till 6 pm in a keen contest involving Congress, BJP and INLD.

chandigarh Updated: Oct 15, 2014 19:08 IST

Stray incidents of violence on Wednesday marked the assembly polls in Haryana leaving 32 persons, including 10 policemen injured as 73 per cent of 1.63 crore voters cast their ballots till 6 pm in a keen contest involving Congress, BJP and INLD.

In Hisar district's Barwala, 30 persons including 10 policemen were injured and seven motorcycles were set on fire by a mob after a clash between polling agents of two rival parties, police said.

An argument broke out between two polling agents of rival parties leading to the violence. A case has been registered in this connection, they said.

In Sirsa, two persons were injured.

"Two persons were injured in firing during a clash between supporters of two groups in Sirsa," Sirsa SP, Mitesh Jain said.

Someone opened fire after a minor clash took place between INLD and BJP workers in Sirsa.

A supporter from each side was injured in the incident and the seriously injured person was hospitalised.

In another incident, the window panes of a car belonging to a supporter of Haryana Lokhit Party Gopal Kanda were broken following a minor clash between the supporters of HLP and INLD in Sirsa.

Kanda, a former Haryana minister, is seeking re-election from Sirsa.

Amid tight security, polling commenced in all the 90 Assembly seats at 7 AM and would continue till 6 PM to decide the fate of 1,351 candidates.

Counting of votes will take place on October 19.

By 4:30 PM, nearly 65 per cent voters had cast votes, officials said.

BJP is contesting for the first time on its own and is eyeing to wrest power from the ruling Congress.

In Narnaund, BJP candidate from the Assembly segment and chief ministerial aspirant Capt Abhimanyu alleged that attempts to capture booth were made in Baans village in the constituency at the behest of rival INLD, which vehemently denied the charge. ssembly poll.

There were reports of clash taking place between INLD supporters and some rival groups in Punhana in Mewat district.

Some people had sustained minor injuries in the incident, SP of Mewat, S S Bhoria said.

Asked to comment on reports that a one month old baby died as she fell off from her mother's grasp in a commotion in the area after the incident, Bhoria told PTI that the baby was ill.

"We are investigating into the case. But according to preliminary reports available, the baby was ill and probably died because of that. However, we are verifying all facts," Bhoria said.

There were reports of minor fights between supporters of rival parties in some other parts of the state as well.

Over 1.63 crore voters including over 87 lakh women are eligible to cast their vote in the polls.

Ahead of the polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led an aggressive poll campaign seeking to come to power in Haryana on its own first time.

The kin of the three famous 'Lals' (Bansi Lal, Bhajan Lal and Devi Lal) are also battling it out in the state.

The highest number of 116 women contestants is in fray this time.

Among the candidates who had cast their votes before noon included Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in his home district Rohtak.

On the day of polling, Hooda looked relaxed and began his day by playing a game of badminton. He also had tea at a roadside tea-stall in Rohtak town.

Interacting with reporters at Rohtak, Hooda claimed that Congress was on a good footing in the state.

When asked if he saw "Modi factor" playing a role in the Haryana polls, Hooda told reporters in Rohtak that Narendra Modi was not fighting for the post of Chief Minister of Haryana.

"The BJP even did not declare its chief ministerial candidate in Haryana ahead of the polls," he said.

Hooda also said that he had not seen a Prime Minister campaign so hard in a small state like Haryana.

"He (Modi) addressed 11 rallies. It looked as if he was trying to become the chief minister of Haryana," Hooda said after casting his vote.

Meanwhile, other contesting candidates who cast their votes early included Haryana Ministers Randeep Singh Surjewala (Kaithal), one of the wealthiest woman in the world Savitri Jindal (Hisar), Geeta Bhukkal (Jhajjar), Ajay Singh Yadav (Rewari), Capt Abhimanyu of the BJP (Narnaund in Hisar district) and INLD's Naina Chautala (Sirsa), Jan Chetna Party chief Venod Sharma (Ambala) and Haryana Janhit Congress chief Kuldeep Bishnoi (Adampur in Hisar).

Voters had started queuing up since early this morning.

A total number of 16,357 polling booths have been set up.

The total number of voters also includes 88,662 service voters and 12 NRI voters.

Unlike in the recent past, when the fight has mainly been limited to Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), a number of new players have thrown their hats in the ring this time.

BJP, which has in the past elections remained a marginal player in the state, is trying to come to power on its own for the first time since the formation of Haryana in 1966.

The ruling Congress is eyeing a win for the third time in a row, mainly banking on the development card while main opposition INLD is seeking to return to power after a decade of hiatus, banking on the charisma of its chief Om Prakash Chautala and consolidation of the Jat vote.

First Published: Oct 15, 2014 19:03 IST