Polling in Haryana for 10 LS seats on Saturday; ex-CM Khattar, Union ministers in fray

Chandigarh, May 24 (PTI) Polling in the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies in Haryana and for the Karnal assembly bypoll will be held on Saturday that will decide the fate of 223 candidates, including big guns like former chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Congress’ Kumari Selja.

A total of 223 candidates — 207 men and 16 women — are in the fray in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls and more than 2 crore people are eligible to vote in the state.

Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini is contesting the Karnal byelection.

Voting will be held from 7 am to 6 pm.

The BJP had won all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana in the 2019 general elections.

For the Lok Sabha elections, Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar, former chief minister Manohar Lal and Congress heavyweights Kumari Selja and Deepender Singh Hooda are among the candidates.

Khattar, the BJP candidate from Karnal, is facing Haryana Youth Congress president Divyanshu Budhiraja.

Haryana is witnessing a direct fight between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress on most seats. However, seats like Hisar are witnessing a multi-cornered contest.

From Hisar, Power Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala, an Independent MLA who joined the BJP ahead of the polls, is pitted against two members of the Chautala clan — JJP’s Naina Chautala and INLD’s Sunaina Chautala. Congress’ Jai Prakash is also in the fray.

The BJP has fielded industrialist and former Congress MP Naveen Jindal from Kurukshetra. He is facing AAP’s state unit chief Sushil Gupta and INLD’s Abhay Singh Chautala.

Union minister Inderjit Singh and Krishan Pal Gurjar are seeking re-election from Gurugram and Faridabad seats, respectively. The Congress has fielded its senior leader Raj Babbar from Gurugram.

Congress’ Kumari Selja and BJP’s Ashok Tanwar are contesting from Sirsa. In Rohtak, Deepender Singh Hooda is up against BJP’s Arvind Sharma.

During the high-pitched campaigning for the sixth phase, which ended on Thursday evening, BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, and INDIA bloc leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Arvind Kejriwal made all-out efforts to garner support for candidates of their parties.

Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have also fielded their candidates in the Lok Sabha polls. JJP’s 10, BSP’s nine and INLD’s seven candidates are contesting the polls.

A few sitting MLAs are also in the fray, including INLD’s Kurukshetra candidate Abhay Singh Chautala. Congress’ sitting MLAs Varun Chaudhary and Rao Dan Singh are contesting from Ambala and Bhiwani-Mahendragarh seats, respectively.

BJP MLA Mohan Lal Badoli is contesting from Sonipat and JJP’s Naina Chautala from Hisar.

Saini, who is also the state BJP chief and the sitting Kurukshetra MP, was sworn in as the chief minister on March 12, replacing Khattar. He contesting the Karnal assembly bypoll.

There are nine candidates in the fray for the bypoll which was necessitated by Khattar’s resignation as MLA.

There are 2,00,76,768 registered voters in the state, including 94,23,956 women and 467 transgender voters, Haryana’s Chief Electoral Officer Anurag Agarwal said.

A total of 45,576 EVMs will be used in the state for the Lok Sabha elections and the assembly bypoll. Along with this, 24,039 control units and 26,040 VVPAT machines will be used, Chief Electoral Officer Anurag Agarwal said.

A total of 20,031 polling stations have been set up in Haryana, including 19,812 permanent and 219 auxiliary. While 5,470 polling stations have been set up in urban areas, 14,342 have been set up in rural areas, he said.

As many as 99 polling stations will be operated entirely by women staff. Apart from this, 96 polling stations will be manned by youth employees and 71 by PwD (Persons with Disabilities) employees, he said.

Agarwal said polling parties in the state will depart for their respective polling stations on Friday.

Foolproof security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of the elections, said Director General of Police Shatrujeet Kapur.

More than 35,000 police personnel and 112 companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed to ensure smooth conduct of elections, he said.

Additionally, more than 24,000 home guards will be strategically stationed throughout the region to maintain law and order, he said.

An official statement said that 300 checkpoints will be established at intra-state and inter-state borders.

“The state will have 10,343 polling locations with over 20,000 polling booths. Among these, 1,362 locations with 3,033 booths have been identified as critical and 51 booths as vulnerable, necessitating additional police presence,” it said.

The statement said 418 flying squads, 415 static surveillance teams, 34 quick response teams and 1,039 patrolling parties will also be deployed.

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