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Haryana polls over 60 percent, Punjab 55 percent

National,Politics, Thu, 07 May 2009 IANS

Chandigarh, May 7 (IANS) Haryana saw over 60 percent polling for its 10 Lok Sabha seats, while in neighbouring Punjab over 55 percent balloting was recorded for the four constituencies that went to polls Thursday.


Election officials said the total polling percentage would be higher as people who had queued up at polling stations till 5 p.m. would be allowed to cast their votes.



In Haryana, the fate of 210 candidates was decided, while in Punjab voters decided the electoral fortunes of 79 candidates.



Minor clashes were reported between supporters of leading parties but the poll process largely remained peaceful.



The main contest in Haryana is between the ruling Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)-BJP combine.



Key candidates in the fray include former chief minister Bhajan Lal (Haryana Janhit Congress), Ajay Singh Chautala (INLD), steel-magnate Naveen Jindal (Congress), Deepinder Singh Hooda (Congress) and union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Selja (both Congress).



The Congress had won nine out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the 2004 general elections while the BJP had one seat.



In Punjab, the polling percentage till evening was 55 percent for the four seats - Bathinda, Sangrur, Ferozepur and Patiala - of the total 13 constituencies.



The main contest is between the Congress and the ruling Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance.



The high-profile Bathinda seat, that is seeing a fight between the ruling Badal family and the Patiala royals led by former chief minister Amarinder Singh, saw the highest voting at over 60 percent till evening.



Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal's wife, Harsimrat Kaur, is pitted against Amarinder Singh's son Raninder Singh on this seat.



Both Congress and Akali leaders accused each other of violence and firing in areas of Bathinda, Ferozepur and Patiala seats. Police officials, however, said that no major incident was reported from anywhere.



Over 5.27 million voters from Punjab's total electorate of 16.8 million were eligible to vote. In the 2004 general elections, the Akali-BJP combine had won 11 seats while Congress won only two seats in Punjab.



In Haryana, the electorate is 12 million.


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