Haryana municipal elections record over 70% voter turnout

More than 70% voters exercised their franchise in the elections to 888 wards of 46 municipal bodies — 28 committees and 18 councils — across Haryana on Sunday. The counting of votes will take place on June 22.

The Bawal municipal committee in Rewari recorded the highest voter turnout at 84.6%, while Bahadurgarh municipal council in Jhajjar district saw the lowest turnout at 59%. More than 18 lakh voters were eligible to vote in the elections.

Around 10,000 polling personnel including Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers, Presiding Officers, Polling Officers and other staff were deployed for the elections.

Dhanpat Singh, State Election Commissioner, told The Hindu that the elections to the municipal bodies remained peaceful and there were no reports of disruptions due to the ongoing protests against the Agnipath scheme. Mr. Singh said the election timings were extended by an hour till 6 p.m. in view of the prevailing heat wave conditions, but the weather remained pleasant.

The election for the seats of presidents to the municipal bodies were also held directly for the first time with the voters casting their votes for the ward member as well as the president.

Earlier these seats were filled up from among the elected members of the municipal bodies.

With the Congress opting out of the election, the Aam Aadmi Party, contesting the municipal elections in the State for the first time, is in direct contest with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Jannayak Janta Party coalition in a majority of the municipal bodies. Not able to register a single electoral victory in the State despite having earlier contested the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Haryana, AAP, riding on the wave of a recent victory in Assembly elections in neighbouring Punjab, hopes to open its account in the State in these polls.

Pact reached

Soon after announcement of the polls, the State unit of the BJP had unilaterally decided to contest the elections on its own leaving the JJP, the junior partner in the government, in the lurch. However, the two parties eventually joined hands to forge an alliance following intervention by BJP’s central leadership.

While the BJP-JJP coalition sought votes for the performance of the State government and argued that “triple-engine government” – the same party government at the Centre, State and municipal levels – would ensure better co-ordination and development, the AAP promised to free the municipalities from corruption and implement “Kejriwal model” in the State.

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