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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Haryana elections: Ambala Cantt records its lowest turnout

cities Updated: Oct 22, 2019 01:05 IST

Ambala Cantonment registered the lowest turnout in its history with only 62% of the total 1.96 lakh voters turning up to exercise their right. The voter turnout in the Ambala City seat also fell sharply to 60.4% against the 2014’s 70% as the elections took place for the Haryana Vidhan Sabha on Monday.

In both constituencies, voting went off largely peacefully.

In Ambala Cantt, five-time MLA and Haryana health minister Anil Vij is pitted against Congress’ Venu Singla Aggarwal, Congress rebel candidate Chitra Sarwara and three others.

On the Ambala City seat, BJP’s incumbent MLA Aseem Goel is taking on Congress candidate and turncoat Jasbir Singh Malhour, former Congress minister and now a rebel Nirmal Singh, and seven other candidates.

“Voting remained peaceful across the district. We didn’t receive any complaint from any candidate. No untoward incident came to our notice,” said Ambala deputy commissioner Ashok Kumar Sharma.

Ambala Cantt witnessed 72% and 67% polling in 2014 and 2009, respectively. It was in 1968 that the voting percentage fell to 62%, the same as recorded this year.In Ambala City, it stood at 70% in both 2014 and 2009.

On the voter turnout being lower than that in previous two assembly elections, Vij blamed the long weekend (Monday, too, being a holiday because of elections) that took “many voters away from the polls”.

“Also, the participation of women declined as it was a day of fasting for many of them,” he said.

Goel, who cast his vote at Nanyola village, also reasoned on the same lines, stating the voter turnout declined in Ambala City because of lesser woman participation and markets in the textile hub being open.

However, his opponents saw the low turnout as an advantage for them. “The lower voter turnout is indicative of the strong anti-incumbency wave in Ambala City. It affected even BJP supporters. They didn’t come out to vote as they were also disappointed with the BJP candidate’s performance,” said Malhour.