Clashes mar record turnout in Haryana

Haryana registered a record high voter turnout of nearly 75 per cent in the elections amid violent clashes in Hisar district on Wednesday afternoon that left over a dozen persons, including policemen, injured.

At least four bikes were torched and some vehicles were vandalised. Members of the dominant Jat and Dalit communities clashed in Niyana village in Barwala segment over bogus voting. In Uchana Assembly segment, a polling official was assaulted by two youths. Two persons were injured after gunshots were fired by unidentified persons in Sirsa’s Nudia Khera village.

There are also reports that a top media baron, owing allegiance to the BJP, showed highhandedness at a polling station in Hisar.

Exit polls by various agencies are predicting a BJP victory, followed by the INLD. All exit surveys have predicted less than 15 seats for the outgoing Congress in the state. Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. The year 1967 was the year when the state registered a high of over 72 per cent voter turnout. This Assembly election broke all previous records.

Till the filing of this report, the polling percentage had touched about 75 per cent. If exit surveys are anything to go by, the saffron party is likely to form the government for the first time on its own in the state. Ahead of the elections, a resurgent BJP chose to snap its electoral ties with Kuldeep Bioshnoi-led Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC). The party also made a conscious decision to keep its former ally, INLD, at bay, rubbishing any possibility of a pre-poll or post poll alliance with the INLD.

The Congress term under Bhupinder Singh Hooda, eyeing a third turn at the helm, was blemished by graft charges, shady land deals (including the much-touted Vadra-DLF deal). It showed up in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the party bagged just one out of the ten seats in the state. Its voter percentage too plummeted. In fact, the BJP, which had a very low voter base in Haryana, gained immense ground by leading in 52 Assembly segments in the general elections.

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