Campaigning ends for 10 seats in Haryana

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Chandigarh, Apr 8: Campaigning ended for the polling to 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana which will witness a four-cornered contest between ruling Congress, BJP-HJC combine, INLD and AAP.

About 1.55 crore voters, including 71 lakh women, would cast the ballot at 16,129 polling stations to choose 10 representatives from a total of 251 candidates on April 10, for which the campaigning ended at 6 pm, an hour late.

Star campaigners included Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.

Canvassing was by and large peaceful in the state except for an attack on Kejriwal during his road show in Charkhi Dadri area of Bhiwani Mahendargarh Lok Sabha constituency.

Campaigning also ended for the lone seat in Chandigarh Union territory where sitting Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal is pitted against two actor-turned-politicians Kirron Kher (BJP) and Gul Panang (AAP), and Jannat Jahan (BSP). Hisar has the most candidates, 44, including seven namesakes of HJC-BL chief Kuldeep Bishnoi, while Ambala (SC) and Rohtak have the least with 16 each.

There are 20 candidates from Sirsa (SC), 24 from Gurgaon, 25 from Kurukshetra, 26 each from Karnal and Sonipat, and 27 each from Bhiwani Mahendargarh and Faridabad.

Congress' Naveen Jindal, Arvind Sharma and Avtar Singh Bhadana are seeking third terms from Kurukshetra, Karnal and Faridabad respectively, while Deepender Hooda (Rohtak), Shruti Chaudhary (Bhiwani Mahendargarh) and Ashok Tanwar (Sirsa), and HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi are seeking second terms.

Rao Inderjit Singh, who won the 2009 general election on a Congress ticket, is trying for a third term, but on BJP's symbol, the lotus.

AAP's key leader Yogendra Yadav is fighting his first Lok Sabha polls from Gurgaon. BJP has fielded former MP, R L Kataria from Ambala (SC). From Sonipat, Congress has fielded its Gohana MLA Jagbir Singh Malik after party's sitting MP Jitender Malik opted out of the race.

Of the 10 Lok Sabha seats, Congress has nine MPs while Haryana Janhit Congress has one from Hisar.

Though SAD is allied with the BJP in Punjab, it has backed the saffron party's rivals in Haryana, INLD because of close family ties between the Chautalas and the Badals. INLD is fighting the polls independently after its attempts to weave a tie-up with BJP failed to bear fruit.

In the absence of party chief Om Parkash Chautala and his MLA-son Ajay Singh Chautala, who are in jail in connection with a 14-year-old teachers recruitment scam, INLD is being led by younger son Abhay and grandson Dushyant, who is contesting his maiden elections from Hisar.

Despite its failed alliance with BJP, INLD has declared that it will back Narendra Modi in the Prime Ministerial race. Ruling Congress finds itself battling 10 years of anti-incumbency while the BJP is fighting the polls in alliance with Kuldeep Bishnoi-led HJC. While HJC has fielded its candidates in Hisar and Sirsa (SC), BJP is fighting the remaining eight constituencies.

Aam Aadmi Party is looking to build on its performance in Delhi Assembly elections last year and make an impact in the state's politics.

The Arvind Kejriwal party is also fighting the polls in all the ten seats on its own. Among others, BSP and Trinamool Congress have put up their candidates in the fray.

PTI

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