Polling begins for Haryana, HP, Punjab by-polls

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Chandigarh, May 22 : Polling began at 0800 hrs today a parliamentary seat in Hamirpur of Himachal Pradesh, three assembly seats of Adampur, Indri and Gohana in Haryana and one assembly seat of Amritsar (South) in Punjab, amid tight security arrangements.

A report from Shimla said early risers had begun trickling in at the polling booths despite a nippy morning, to decide the fate of four candidates, of whom the main contestants were BJP's Anurag Thakur, son of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, and O P Ratan of Congress. The other two candidates are PC Kaundal of Bahujan Sakti Party and independent candidate Amin Chand.

An estimated 11,72,944 electors, 5,84,795 of them female, were expected to cast their vote in Hamirpur byelection, necessitated following the resignation of Mr Dhumal from Lok Sabha after his election to the state assembly last year, Himachal Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Manisha Nanda said.

The voters include 11,49,329 general electors, 23,615 service and 307 electors above the age of 100 years, she added.

Total 1,373 polling stations had been set up in the 17 Assembly segments of Hamirpur, of which 179 polling stations had been declared as hyper sensitive, 303 as sensitive polling stations, she said.

In Punjab's Amritsar South assembly constituency, an estimated 1,32,172 electors, including 62,417 females are expected to cast their franchise in the byelections with enthusiastics lining in front of the booths as the polling began.

The bypoll was necessitated here following the death of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP legislator Raminder Singh Bolaria.

Though there are four candidates in the fray but the main contest is between the SAD-BJP nominee, Inderbir Singh and Navdeep Goldie of the Congress. The other two candidates are Bhai Ram Singh of the SAD (Amritsar) of Simranjit Singh Mann and Sharanjit Singh, an independent.

The polling is taking place in 140 polling stations with the help of about 160 EVMs. An estimated 500 government employees have been put on poll duty.

UNI

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