Foggy start to voting in Haryana’s Ellenabad by-pollBy IANS
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
ELLENABAD - Voting for the by-election to Haryana’s Ellenabad assembly seat began on a slow note Wednesday as thick fog enveloped most of the constituency. Former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala’s son is one of the candidates, making it a politically significant bypoll.
Polling officers said more people were expected to exercise their franchise later in the day as the fog lifts. Voting will be allowed till 5 p.m.
The main contest is between the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) candidate Abhey Singh Chautala and Congress candidate Bharat Singh Beniwal.
Of the total 15 candidates in the fray, 11 are independents.
Abhey is the younger son of INLD president and former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala.
The INLD president, who had won this seat by 16,400 votes in the Oct 13 assembly election last year, had vacated it in November as he had been elected from another assembly seat, Uchana Kalan.
Officials said 144,181 voters, including 77,340 men and 66,841 women, are eligible to cast their votes in the 142 polling stations set up in the constituency.
All the booths have been declared “hyper-sensitive” by the election commission.
Other major parties like the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Communist Party have not fielded candidates for this by-election, in view of the direct contest between the Congress and the INLD.
District Electoral Officer and Sirsa Deputy Commissioner A. Shrinivas has imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the entire Sirsa district Wednesday and Saturday — the voting and counting days. So assembly of more than five people is banned.
Sale of liquor has been banned in the district on both days.
At least 27 companies of Haryana police and central forces, out of which 10 companies were of paramilitary forces and five companies of India Reserve Battalion (IRB), have been deputed to maintain law and order, Shrinivas said.