Polling begins in Haryana, Punjab

May 7th, 2009 - 9:02 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chandigarh, May 7 (IANS) Polling for the parliamentary elections began in Haryana and parts of Punjab amid tight security Thursday morning.
All 10 Lok Sabha seats of Haryana and four seats in neighbouring Punjab are going to polls in the fourth phase of the general elections.

People in rural areas of both states could be seen reaching polling stations even before voting began at 7 a.m.

There are 12,894 polling stations in Haryana and 11,978 stations in Punjab. Tight security arrangements were in place since Wednesday.

The four seats of Punjab that go to polls are Bathinda, Sangrur, Patiala and Ferozepur. There are 79 candidates in the fray. The main contest here is between the ruling Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance and the Congress.

In Haryana, 210 candidates, including 14 women, are fighting for 10 parliamentary seats. The main contest here is between the ruling Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)-BJP combine.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the newly floated Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) of former chief minister Bhajan Lal will make the contest triangular in the Gurgaon and Hisar seats respectively.

Bhajan Lal, 78, is himself contesting the Hisar Lok Sabha seat.

Other key candidates in the fray are Ajay Singh Chautala (INLD), industrialist Naveen Jindal (Congress), Deepinder Singh Hooda (Congress) and union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Selja (both Congress).

In Punjab, the biggest contest is in Bathinda where Harsimrat Kaur, wife of Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal is pitted against Raninder Singh of Congress, the son of former chief minister Amarinder Singh.

Over 5.27 million voters are eligible to cast their vote in these four seats. Nearly 27,000 police personnel and 30,000 poll officials will get the polling conducted through 8,400 electronic voting machines (EVMs) in these seats, Chief Electoral Officer Kusumjit Sidhu said here.

Haryana has over 12 million voters, including 5.5 million women voters.

Over 62,200 police personnel, including paramilitary forces, will be on election duty while nearly 64,500 polling officials will get the poll process completed, Haryana chief secretary Dharam Vir said.

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