69.39% voter turnout in Haryana civic polls


Team Udayavani, Dec 17, 2018, 10:45 AM IST

Chandigarh: Braving cold, 69.39 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the elections to five municipal corporations and two municipal committees in Haryana Sunday, officials said.

The polls were held amid tight security arrangements and passed off peacefully, they said.  The five municipal corporations where polling was held were Hisar, Karnal, Panipat, Rohtak and Yamunanagar, and the two municipal committees were Jakhal Mandi in Fatehabad and Pundri in Kaithal.

The polling began at 7:30 am and ended at 4.30 pm.  The results will be out on December 19. Heavy polling was recorded in the two municipal committees of Jakhal Mandi (89.5 per cent) and Pundri (82.1 per cent). 

In the municipal corporations, 62.7 per cent polling was registered in Hisar, 61.8 per cent in Karnal, 62 per cent in Panipat, 62.4 per cent in Rohtak and 65.2 per cent in Yamuna Nagar, State Election Commissioner Dalip Singh said.

However, the poll percentage in these corporations dropped slightly in comparison with the elections held last time. “The polling remained 100 per cent peaceful. No untoward incident was reported. There were no reports of any law and order issue or any incident pertaining to violation of Model Code of Conduct,” Singh said.

He said the poll percentage in these five municipal corporations in 2013 was 70 per cent. Polling was held in all the 110 wards of the municipal corporations of Hisar, Rohtak, Yamuna Nagar, Panipat and Karnal and 25 wards of Jakhal Mandi (Fatehabad) and Pundri (Kaithal). 

Singh apprised that 59 candidates, including 40 men and 19 women, contested the election to the seats of mayor, and 592 candidates (322 men and 270 women) contested the election to the municipal corporation. A total of 89 candidates (35 men and 54 women) contested the election to the municipal committees in Jakhal Mandi and Pundri, he said.

There was no report on any defective EVM. The election and police observers keep a strict vigil on the overall process of the elections, he said. Since morning, there was enthusiasm among voters and many elderly people were assisted by their relatives and election officials to enable them to cast their votes. 

“I do not miss a chance to cast vote. This is our democratic right,” said a 92-year-old man who cast his vote in Hisar braving cold weather. Of the 14,01,454 electorate eligible to cast their vote using EVMs, 7,44,468 were men and 6,56,986 women.

Polling was held for 136 wards for the seats of mayor and members of municipal corporations and municipal committees, an official spokesperson of Haryana State Election Commission said earlier. Ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, the civic polls are seen as a prestige issue for the ruling BJP. 

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had campaigned extensively for party nominees in these polls. Opposition INLD-BSP, too, had fielded its candidates in the polls. While the Congress chose not to use party symbol to contest the polls, it lend support to some Independents. 

In Karnal, Khattar’s home constituency, INLD-BSP and the Congress had thrown their weight behind Independent candidate Asha Wadhwa. In a first, the mayors of the five municipal corporations will be elected directly. Earlier, the councillors used to elect the mayor.

In another significant move, the Haryana Election Commission had decided to treat ‘none of the above’ or NOTA option as a “fictional candidate” in the municipal polls, making it a must for winning candidates to secure more votes than those cast for NOTA.  As many as 1,292 polling stations had been set up, out of which 304 are ‘sensitive’ and 166 ‘hyper-sensitive’, the spokesperson said. 

Tight security arrangements were put in place for the polling. Haryana Director General of Police B S Sandhu had earlier said the entire police administration was fully geared up to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections. A total of 7,016 police personnel were deployed for polling duty, the State Election Commission spokesperson said.

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