Jind (Har): Nearly 25 per cent polling has been recorded in the first few hours of the high-stake multi-cornered bypoll to the Jind assembly constituency in Haryana on Monday.
Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 5 pm. In the first two hours, 15 per cent voters had exercised their franchise and by 10:30 am, the poll percentage rose to nearly 25 per cent, officials said here. People, including nonagenarians, queued up outside polling stations since early morning despite cold weather conditions.
No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere, officials said.
Necessary arrangements have been put in place for the smooth and peaceful conduct of the election, they said.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Indian National Lok Dal legislator Hari Chand Middha in August last year. Nearly 1.7 lakh people, including 80,556 women, are eligible to vote, officials said.
There are 71 polling booths in rural areas of this constituency and 103 polling booths in urban areas.
The constituency is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with prestige at stake for key political outfits, including the ruling BJP and the opposition INLD, Congress and the fledgling JJP, formed by Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala after split in INLD.
Nearly 3,000 policemen have been put on duty to ensure smooth polling, a senior police official said.
Besides, 500 home guards and over 200 personnel drawn from the CRPF and the Rapid Action Force have also been deployed.
Additional police personnel have been deployed at sensitivities and highly sensitive booths, officials said.
The Jind assembly segment has been divided into 24 sectors, with six deputy superintendents of police being made in-charge to oversee security arrangements. Counting of votes will take place on January 31.Twenty-one candidates including two women are in the fray.
Prominent among the candidates include senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is also the party's sitting MLA from Kaithal, the late Hari Chand Middha's son and ruling BJP candidate Krishan Middha and INLD's Umed Singh Redhu.
Besides, the bypoll will also decide the fate of Digvijay Singh Chautala and Vinod Arshi, respective candidates of two newly formed political outfits Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and Loktantra Suraksha Party (LSP) of BJP's rebel MP Raj Kumar Saini.
Arch rivals BJP, Congress, INLD and JJP are eyeing the results as a self-assessment exercise ahead of Lok Sabha polls this year.
The high-stake election is considered a referendum on the Manohar Lal Khattar government and also a semi-final ahead of Lok Sabha elections.