Friday, February 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Yamunanagar poll peaceful
Oppn concedes it as 70 pc voters turn up
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar, February 21
The ruling INLD today belied all Opposition apprehensions regarding violence and bungling in the Yamunanagar Assembly byelection. The polling here today was so peaceful that even Opposition leaders conceded it on record.

The constituency recorded a heavy voter turnout. Initial estimates say that about 70 per cent of the 1.65 lakh voters exercised their right to franchise.

Surprisingly, voter enthusiasm was relatively more in the urban areas as compared to the countryside.

Voting in several areas in the town was brisk right from the start, with the voters reaching the polling booths even before 8 a.m., the official time for the opening of the process. Till noon, many booths had recorded 45 per cent to 50 per cent polling. After a lull, lasting for about a couple of hours, polling again picked up at 3 p.m.

In villages, the trend was reverse. Polling was slow before noon, but picked up in the afternoon.

Almost all MLAs of all parties along with other senior leaders were here.

The presence of supporters of the major parties, who had come from all over the state, kept a check on the activities of their counterparts of the other parties.

With a strict ban on vehicles, certain leaders, including Mr Krishan Pal Gujjar, Leader of the BJP Legislature Party; Mr Krishan Singh Sangwan, BJP MP; Prof Ganeshi Lal, former Minister; and Mr Surender Singh, Secretary-General of the HVP, were seen visiting polling booths on bicycles.

While the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, kept away from the constituency, his sons Ajay and Abhey remained here throughout the day. While Mr Ajay visited several villages, Mr Abhey monitored the situation from a company guesthouse.

Former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, accompanied by commandoes, was seen moving in his white Mercedes.

The Haryana Congress President, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, accompanied the party candidate, Dr Krishna Pandit.

Interestingly, the administration had virtually marked important Congress leaders. It had attached a senior police officer of the rank of the DSP and above with each senior Congress leader.

The obvious intention was to keep a check on their activities. The SP, Mr M.S. Ahlawat, told TNS that this was done to “provide security to these leaders”.

The BJP has demanded a repoll in booth no. 203 as it had recorded 95 per cent polling, thereby leading to suspicion of bogus voting.

Mr Hooda described the polling as “more or less” peaceful. He said since almost all members of the Haryana Assembly were present here, the House could have been convened here.

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