Chandigarh, May 23 (IANS) The counting of ballots for all the 10 parliamentary seats of Haryana began on Thursday amid tight security, electoral officials said.
Amidst allegations of booth capturing, there was 69.74 per cent of the 1.8 crore electorate polling on May 12 in the state, which went to polls under the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.
The result will decide the fate of 223 candidates, including 11 women.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajeev Ranjan told IANS there are about 1,05,859 service voters.
He said all preparations have been made for the counting of votes, which will be carried out in 90 counting centres at 39 places.
Director General of Police Manoj Yadava said the state has deployed 10 additional companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces to maintain law and order in Rohtak, Sonipat, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Sirsa and Hisar districts.
It is a do-or-die battle for Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his predecessor and ‘marginalised’ Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are the three main parties in the fray.
The stakes are high for Hooda in these elections as he is trying to prove that he is still a mass leader and could lead the Congress in the forthcoming Assembly polls.
Hooda was marginalised after the party’s humiliating defeat in the October 2014 Assembly polls held under his helm.
The other big names in the poll fray are former Union Minister Kumari Selja, who is fighting on the Congress ticket from Ambala, a reserved seat.
The BJP’s Rao Inderjit Singh is contesting from Gurugram, while former Congress state minister Ajay Yadav is pitted against him.
Union Minister Krishan Pal Gujjar, who won the Faridabad seat in 2014 with a huge 4.7 lakh margin, is vying to retain the seat. He is facing a challenge from former Congress MP Avtar Singh Bhadana and AAP state chief Navin Jaihind.
Former Chief Minister Chautala’s grandsons — Arjun and the estranged Dushyant and Digvijay — are making their debut plunge into electoral politics.
Arjun and Digvijay Chautala are trying their luck from Kurukshetra and Sonipat seats respectively as candidates of the INLD and the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), a breakaway INLD faction.
The JJP and the AAP have formed an alliance.
Hisar is going to witness a triangular clash of dynasts from where Dushyant Chautala, who leads the JJP, is struggling to retain his seat. He is pitted against debutants Bhavya Bishnoi of the Congress and BJP’s bureaucrat-turned-politician Brijendra Singh.
While Bhavya, the youngest in the fray, is the grandson of late three-time Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, Brijendra Singh is the son of Congress turncoat and Steel Minister Birender Singh.