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Haryana

Posted at: May 23, 2019, 7:44 AM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 7:44 AM (IST)HIGH-STAKES CONTEST

D-day arrives, all eyes on Rohtak, Sonepat

Result of 223 candidates, including Hooda father-son duo, to be out today
D-day arrives, all eyes on Rohtak, Sonepat
Countdown begins: A counting centre being readied at Fatehabad on Wednesday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 22

All eyes will be on the Sonepat, Rohtak Lok Sabha seats where former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and his son Deepender Hooda are facing stiff challenge from the ruling BJP as counting of votes begins tomorrow.

With the fate of two Union Ministers, a former Chief Minister and several prominent leaders from across the political spectrum to be decided, stakes will be high when counting of votes for the 10 Lok Sabha seats begins on Thursday morning.

The counting of votes will be held at 90 centres set up for an equal number of Assembly segments and these centres will be spread over 30 locations to decide the fate of 223 candidates.

Over 70 per cent of nearly 1.80 crore voters of the state had exercised their right to franchise in the polling held on May 12. Dr Inder Jeet, Joint Chief Electoral Officer, Haryana, said that over 7,000 officials had been deployed for the counting of votes which will begin at 8 am on Thursday and continue till the results are announced.

He said the first trends might start coming after an hour, but a clearer picture will emerge after 11 am. The complete counting in some cases might go past midnight.

Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) Manoj Yadava said the state had got 10 additional companies of the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces to maintain law and order in Rohtak, Sonepat, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Sirsa and Hisar districts as well as to ensure peace after announcement of the counting results in the state.

Yadava said the security of the strong rooms housing the EVMs has been tightened with a total strength of 35 companies, including 23 of the Central paramilitary forces and 12 of Indian Reserve Battalion. In all, these companies will have a total of 3,150 personnel. In addition to State Armed Police Force, adequate local police personnel have also been stationed for foolproof safety at the strong rooms where EVMs have been stored under three-layered security.

The DGP said instructions had been issued to the district police chiefs to make fool-proof security arrangements in the counting centres. “Any element that will try to vitiate the law and order and disrupt the counting process will not be spared,” the DGP warned.

Meanwhile, with the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) to be counted in five polling booths picked at random from each of the 90 Assembly segments of Haryana, the announcement of results for the 10 Lok Sabha seats is likely to be delayed.

Besides, the counting of votes on EVMs, the votes of defence personnel cast through electronically transmitted postal ballot system (ETPBS) are also likely to take some time and the final results for the 10 seats may be known only by late evening or could even stretch to midnight or beyond, a poll official said.

The counting will decide the fate among others of Union Ministers Rao Inderjit Singh, Krishan Pal Gurjar and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Union minister Birender Singh’s son Brijendra Singh (BJP) and former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal’s grandson Bhavya Bishnoi (Congress), both political greenhorns, contested from the Hisar seat, where they faced sitting MP and leader of the newly floated JJP Dushyant Chautala, grandson of former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala. Former Union minister Kumari Selja and state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar were in the fray from Ambala and Sirsa, respectively. Shruti Choudhry, former MP and granddaughter of ex-Chief Minister Bansi Lal, contested from the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh seat.

In the last elections held in 2014, the BJP had contested eight seats and won seven. Its then ally, the Haryana Janhit Congress, had fought on two seats, losing both.

Tight security in place 

  • The security of the strong rooms housing the EVMs has been tightened with a total strength of 35 companies, including 23 of the Central paramilitary forces and 12 of Indian Reserve Battalion. 

  • In all, these companies will have a total of 3,150 personnel. In addition to the State Armed Police Force, adequate local police personnel have also been stationed for foolproof safety at the strong rooms.

90 counting centres

  • Over 70 per cent of nearly 1.80 crore voters of the state exercised their right to franchise on May 12.

  • 7,000 officials deployed at 90 counting centres spread over 30 locations in the state 

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