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Polling underway in 5 municipal corporations, 2 municipal committees in Haryana

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: December 16, 2018  | 14:43 IST

Chandigarh, Dec 16 (PTI) Voting began Sunday morning for five municipal corporations and two municipal committees in Haryana amid tight security arrangements, officials said. The five municipal corporations where polling is underway are Hisar, Karnal, Panipat, Rohtak and Yamunanagar and the two municipal committees are Jakhal Mandi in Fatehabad and Pundri in Kaithal. It began at 7:30 am and will continue till 4.30 pm. By afternoon, poll percentage was around 25 per cent in five municipal corporations, an official said. Of the 14,01,454 electorate eligible to cast their votes using EVMs, 7,44,468 are men and 6,56,986 are women. Polling is being 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. Ahead of next year's Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, prestige is at stake for ruling BJP, which is contesting the civic polls on party symbol. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has campaigned extensively for party nominees in these polls. Opposition INLD-BSP too has fielded its candidates in these polls. While the Congress has chosen not to use party symbol to contest the polls, it is lending support to some Independents who are in fray. In Karnal, Khattar's home constituency, increasing problems of saffron party candidate Renu Bala Gupta, opposition parties INLD-BSP and the Congress have 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 has 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 have been set up, out of which 304 are sensitive and 166 are hyper-sensitive polling stations, the spokesperson said. Tight security arrangement is in place for the polling, with Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) B S Sandhu saying 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.  Over 1,700 voters in Babarpur Mandi in Panipat had earlier decided to boycott the municipal corporation election, demanding exclusion of their area from the MC jurisdiction and restoring it back to village panchayat. Babarpur Mandi was included in the Panipat municipal corporation in 2012 to ensure its speedy development, but that did not happen, the local residents claimed. PTI SUN VSD AAR

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