Heavy polling in Haryana by-polls (Lead)

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:41 am ICT by admin  

Chandigarh, May 22 (IANS) Heavy voter turnout was recorded in by-elections for three assembly seats in Haryana Thursday with over 75 percent of the electorate exercising their franchise. The by-elections were held for the Adampur (Hissar district), Gohana (Rohtak district)and Indri (Karnal district) seats. While Adampur and Indri recorded nearly 80 percent polling, the voting in Gohana was over 70 percent.

There were over 392,000 voters in the three constituencies.

The polling largely passed off peacefully but for a few minor incidents.

In Telanwali polling station in Adampur, the voting process was held up for some time after two groups clashed. A re-poll has been ordered in this polling station and will take place Saturday.

A 3-year-old girl Aastha was killed when she was crushed under the vehicle of Independent candidate Balwan Singh. The vehicle driver fled from the spot.

In Adampur, the election was being seen as a popularity test for Haryana stalwart and former chief minister Bhajan Lal and his new Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) party. They are opposed to the ruling Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Voting for by-elections to the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh and the Amritsar-south assembly seat in Punjab was also held Thursday.

Counting for these seats will take place May 25.

Voters trickled in slowly in most polling stations in all constituencies. The morning drizzle over most areas in Indri seat initially kept people away.

Thursday’s voting is being watched keenly in political circles of Himachal and Haryana as the fate of Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son, Anurag Thakur, will be decided in the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat while Haryana stalwart Bhajan Lal slogs it out to retain his Adampur assembly seat.

Thakur’s victory against his main opponent O.P. Rattan of the Congress is already being seen as a foregone conclusion in Himachal.

The Hamirpur seat - that is witnessing the third election in four years - fell vacant after Dhumal vacated it January this year after becoming the hill state’s chief minister.

In Haryana, the three assembly seats fell vacant after Bhajan Lal and his two supporters - legislators Dharampal Malik (Gohana) and Rakesh Kamboj (Indri) - were disqualified under the Anti-Defection Act for joining a newly floated Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

All three were in the fray again in the by-election.

For the Amritsar seat, which saw a direct contest between the ruling Akali Dal and the Congress, over 55 per cent voting was reported by state election officials.

Minor scuffles were reported between Akali and Congress workers.

There was a straight contest in Amritsar between Inderbir Singh Bolaria of the ruling Akali Dal and Navdeep Singh Goldy of the Congress. The Akalis, being in power in the state and also because they had won the seat in the Feb 2007 elections, enjoy an upper hand in the poll.

The seat fell vacant following the death of the sitting Akali Dal legislator Raminder Singh Bolaria.

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