Chandigarh, May 12 (IANS) Amidst allegations of booth capturing, Haryana on Sunday witnessed 67.06 per cent voting in its 10 Lok Sabha seats, an election official said. The figure was nearly four per cent less than the votes polled in the 2014 parliamentary polls.
At 72.46 per cent, the highest voter turnout was recorded in Kurukshetra, followed by Sirsa (73.11 per cent), Sonipat (69.08 per cent), Hisar (68.79 per cent), Rohtak (68.36 per cent), and Bhiwani-Mahendragarh (69.87 per cent), the official said.
Karnal, the home district of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, saw the state’s lowest voter turnout at 59.07 per cent.
Gurugram polled 61.93 per cent, while it was 61.28 per cent in Faridabad, both located adjoining to the National Capital Region (NCR).
Voting began at 7 a.m. for the Ambala, Kurukshetra, Gurugram, Faridabad, Hisar, Sirsa, Karnal, Sonipat, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh and Rohtak Lok Sabha constituencies.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 71.86 per cent polling was registered, which was higher than the 68 per cent in 2009.
Congress leader and sitting MP Deepender Hooda accused Haryana Minister of State for Cooperatives Manish Kumar Grover of booth capturing and voter intimidation in Rohtak.
In a written complaint to Returning Officer Yash Garg, Hooda, seeking a fourth straight term from his home turf Rohtak, demanded the registration of a criminal case against Grover.
Acting on the complaint, election authorities directed Grover to remain in his office till the voting got over.
The poll official said three election-related first information reports (FIRs) were registered — two in Mewat in Gurugram district and one in Rohtak.
Long queues of voters were seen outside polling booths across the 10 seats in the morning. But by afternoon, most looked deserted as temperatures soared.
Polling was delayed in some booths in Yamunanagar, Mahendragarh and Gohana towns due to malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVM).
Chief Minister Khattar, former Chief Minister and Congress candidate from Sonipat Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Union Ministers Rao Inderjit Singh, Krishan Pal Gurjar and Birender Singh, and Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli were among the early voters in the state.
State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar along with his wife exercised their franchise in Sirsa. Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) candidate and sitting Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala also voted in Sirsa.
Rao Inderjit Singh, Gurjar and Hooda are among the 223 candidates, including 11 women, whose fate will be sealed by an estimated 1.80 crore voters.
The elderly too didn’t miss an opportunity to exercise their franchise. Som Dutt, 98, exercised his franchise at a booth in Yamunanagar; while Shanti Devi, 92, reached the booth to cast her vote in a wheelchair in Ambala city.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, Om Prakash Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and its breakaway faction the JJP, are the main parties in the fray.
The BJP had won seven of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 with a vote share of 34.7 per cent against 17.21 per cent in 2009 when it failed to win any seat.
The then ruling Congress lost eight of the nine seats it had won in 2009 and saw its vote share decline to 22.9 per cent against 41.77 per cent in 2009.
The INLD, which won two seats in 2014, had increased its vote share to 24.4 per cent from 15.78 per cent in 2009.