High voter turnout in 2 Assembly seats in Haryana, Rajasthan

JIND/JAIPUR: A high voter turnout was recorded in both Haryana’s Jind and Rajasthan’s Ramgarh assembly constituencies Monday, where the Congress and the BJP are locked in a battle of prestige.

In the Jind assembly by-election, the turnout was recorded at 75.77 per cent, officials said.

jind bypoll resultThe turnout was 78.9 per cent in Ramgarh, where the election was deferred following the death of BSP candidate Laxman Singh a few days before the December 7 assembly polls in the state, which installed a Congress-led government in place of a BJP-led dispensation.

The officials said the turnout in both seats is likely to increase as there were people in queues in several booths after 5 PM, the scheduled time for voting to end.

Final figures are expected later in the day or Tuesday morning, they said, adding counting of votes will take place on January 31.

The election was multi-cornered in Jind in Haryana, ahead of parliamentary and assembly elections are due in later this year.

All four major contenders in Jind — the ruling BJP, Congress, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which was formed after a split in the INLD — have pulled out all the stops for a victory, which could prove to be a morale booster for the rank and file.

The Jind bypoll was necessitated following the death of INLD MLA Hari Chan Middha, whose son Krishna Middha recently joined the BJP and is the saffron party’s candidate for the by-election.

The Congress fielded its chief national spokesperson and sitting MLA from Kaithal constituency Randeep Singh Surjewala.

The INLD is banking on Umed Redhu to retain the seat.

The JJP has put its weight behind Digvijay Chautala, the younger son of jailed leader Ajay Singh Chautala, who broke away from the INLD and floated the party.

For the BJP, Congress, INLD and the JJP, the outcome would help in a self-assessment exercise ahead of Lok Sabha polls this year.

The high-stakes election is considered a referendum on the Manohar Lal Khattar government and also a semi-final ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

Twenty-one candidates, including two women, are in the fray. Nearly 1.7 lakh people, including 80,556 women, were eligible to vote.

As many as 71 polling booths in rural areas of this constituency and 103 polling booths in urban areas had been set up.

Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of polling. Nearly 3,000 policemen had been put on duty, a senior police official said earlier. The polling remained peaceful, they said.

In the 2014 Haryana Assembly polls, Jind constituency had registered 75.91 poll percentage.

In Rajasthan’s Ramgarh constituency, the polling was peaceful and no untoward incident took place. Twenty candidates, including two women, are in the fray.

The BSP has fielded former union minister Natwar Singh’s son and former MLA Jagat Singh, while former Alwar Zila Pramukh Shafia Zubair Khan is contesting as Congress candidate and Sukhwant singh as the BJP candidate.

As many as 278 polling booths were set up in the constituency and more than 2,500 policemen were deployed for maintaining law and order.

If the Congress wins the seat, the party’s tally, which at present is 99, will increase to 100 in the House of 200 and the party will remain in a comfortable position with the support of its alliance partner RLD, which has one MLA.

In case the ruling party loses, it will have to bank on the support from Independent MLAs and other non-BJP parties.
Congress leaders on different occasions have said that the party has support from Independents, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLTP).

At present, Congress has 99 members in the assembly, RLD 1, BJP 73, BSP 6, RLTP 3, CPI(M) and Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) 2 each and 13 Independents.

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