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Nearly 70 pc voters cast votes in five MCs, two municipal committees in Hry

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: December 16, 2018  | 20:22 IST

(Eds: Updates with poll percentage) Chandigarh, Dec 16 (PTI) Braving cold, nearly 70 per cent voters exercised their franchise in elections to five municipal corporations and two municipal committees in Haryana on Sunday, officials said. Polls were held amid tight security arrangements and passed off peacefully, they said. The five municipal corporations where polling was held were Hisar, Karnal, Panipat, Rohtak and Yamunanagar and the two municipal committees were Jakhal Mandi in Fatehabad and Pundri in Kaithal. The polling began at 7:30 am and ended at 4.30 pm. State Election Commission officials said that while exact poll percentage figures were being tabulated, as per information available at around 7 pm, nearly 70 per cent voters cast their vote.     Heavy polling was recorded in the two municipal committees of Jakhal Mandi (89.5 per cent) and Pundri (over 82 per cent). Likewise, poll percentage varied between 60 and 65 per cent in the five MCs, with maximum being reported from Yamunanagar. "Polling remained 100 per cent peaceful. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere. There were no reports of any law and order issue or any incident pertaining to violation of Model Code of Conduct," State Election Commissioner Dalip Singh told PTI. He said the poll percentage in these five MCs in 2013 was 70 per cent. Since morning, there was enthusiasm among voters and many aged voters were seen being assisted by their relatives or election officials to enable them to cast their votes. "I don't miss a chance to cast vote. This is our democratic right," said a 92-year-old man who cast his vote in Hisar braving cold weather. Of 14,01,454 electorate eligible to cast their votes using EVMs, 7,44,468 were men and 6,56,986 women. Polling was held for 136 wards for the seats of mayor and members of municipal corporations and municipal committees, an official spokesperson of Haryana State Election Commission said earlier. Ahead of the next year's Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, prestige is at stake for ruling BJP, which contested the civic polls on the party symbol. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had campaigned extensively for party nominees in these polls. Opposition INLD-BSP, too, had fielded its candidates in these polls. While the Congress chose not to use party symbol to contest the polls, it lend support to some Independents. In Karnal, Khattar's home constituency, increasing problems of saffron party candidate Renu Bala Gupta, INLD-BSP and the Congress had joined hands throwing their weight behind Independent candidate Asha Wadhwa. In a first, the mayors of the five municipal corporations will be elected directly. Earlier, the councillors used to elect the mayor. In another significant move, the Haryana Election Commission had decided to treat 'none of the above' or NOTA option as a "fictional candidate" in the municipal polls, making it a must for winning candidates to secure more votes than those cast for NOTA. As many as 1,292 polling stations had been set up, out of which 304 were sensitive and 166 hyper-sensitive, the spokesperson said. Tight security arrangements were put in place for the polling. Haryana Director General of Police B S Sandhu had earlier said the entire police administration was fully geared up to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections. A total of 7,016 police personnel were deployed for polling duty, the State Election Commission spokesperson said.  PTI SUN VSD DPB

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