Haryana panchayat elections: Over 80% polling recorded in first phase

Image Source : PTI People wait in queues to cast their votes at a polling booth during the Haryana panchayat elections, in Mewat district.

A high turnout of more than 80 per cent was recorded in the election for panches and sarpanches in nine Haryana districts in the first of the three-phase voting on Wednesday.

“Barring a stray incident, polling remained peaceful,” Haryana State Election Commissioner Dhanpat Singh told PTI.

According to the figures of the Haryana State Election Commission available at 10 pm, 81.4 per cent voting was recorded in the nine districts.

The polling was held between 7 am and 6 pm in the districts of Bhiwani, Jhajjar, Jind, Kaithal, Mahendragarh, Nuh, Panchkula, Panipat and Yamunanagar.

Counting of votes was taken up immediately after the end of polling.

Haryana Director General of Police P K Agrawal said polling has been conducted in a peaceful manner.

According to the DGP, there was no poll-related violence reported from anywhere till the completion of the polling process.

“However, a few incidents of clashes outside polling booths in Jhajjar and Kaithal districts as well as the breaking of EVM in Nuh district were reported.

Prompt action was taken by the police against such mischievous elements trying to create unrest during the polls,” the state police chief said in a statement.

Nuh’s Senior Superintendent of Police Varun Singla said some incidents of fighting and stone pelting between rival groups were reported from two villages, though these did not take place at the polling booth and the poll process remained unaffected.

Some people also sustained injuries in these incidents while a vehicle was damaged. There were reports of injury to a home guard too in these incidents.

Police, however, did not confirm reports that some firing incident too had taken place in Nuh district.

In Jhajjar, there was a brawl between agents of two candidates at a polling booth in Jahidpur village early in the morning during which the electronic voting machine (EVM) fell off. But there was no disruption in the poll, Jhajjar Superintendent of Police Waseem Akram said.

The situation was immediately brought under control and the polling completed peacefully, he told PTI over the phone.

In Kaithal’s Kalayat too, there were reports of a brawl and stone pelting between two groups, away from polling booth.

A number of voters, including women, had queued up since morning in many districts and many elderly also cast their votes.

With panchayat polls taking place in the state after a gap of six years, there was a lot of enthusiasm among the voters to elect sarpanches and panches.

Panchkula recorded 86.7 per cent turnout, Bhiwani 79.8, Jhajjar 77.3, Jind 80.4, Kaithal 78.6, Mahendragarh 81.6, Nuh 83.7, Panipat 84 and Yamunanagar 86.2 per cent.

“Any kind of effort to disrupt the polling process was neutralised as a result of vigorous patrolling by the patrolling parties coupled with effective action and decisive intervention carried out since early morning by Police and administration across the state,” the DGP said in the statement.

The DGP said that elaborate and effective security arrangements were made through the effective and well-planned deployment of personnel from State Police.

Polling was held for electing 2,607 sarpanches and 25,968 panches in these nine districts. The first phase polls for zila parishads and panchayat samitis in these districts was held on October 30.

Arrangements related to drinking water, electricity and wheelchairs for physically challenged voters have been taken care of at all polling booths. According to Dhanpat Singh, there are over 49 lakh voters in the nine districts and 6,019 polling booths had been set up.

There are 6,220 gram panchayats in the state, where 61,993 panches will be elected and all 6,220 sarpanches will be chosen directly by villagers.

While the results of the panch-sarpanch elections will be declared at the end of voting in each phase, results of zila parishads and panchayat samiti members will be declared on November 27 after all the three phases are completed.

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