Amidst festivities, Panchkula voters turned out in large numbers and as many as 65.7 per cent exercised their franchise in the Haryana Assembly election on Wednesday. In the last election, held in 2009, the polling was only 57.45 per cent.
In Kalka, the voter turn-out was still higher at 78.6 per cent. In 2009, it was 77.21 per cent. In the Lok Sabha election earlier this year, the polling was 67.34 per cent in Panchkula and 71.32 per cent in Kalka. Both are parts of the Ambala Lok Sabha constituency. The polling day coincided with the celebration of a local festival, Ahoi ashtmi when the women keep a day-long fast but, this had no effect on polling. Although, there were no long queues seen at most polling stations, the voter turnout increased towards the evening.
There was an early morning rush in some polling stations, which thinned as the day progressed. Polling was 10% till 9 am, 31% till 11 am, 42% till 1 pm, and 63 % till 5 pm.
Festivity was in the air at polling stations in Sectors 15, 16 and 17, where the residents of Rajiv Colony and Indira Colony came in large numbers to vote. The tents of all political parties bustled with activity, as party workers made one last attempt to win over voters and to explain the use of EVMs with the help of dummies.
However, the atmosphere was calm in other urban areas. “Most residents of Panchkula are retired people, their children do not stay here. This explains why there is not much enthusiasm in these sectors,” explained a voter.
Voting concluded peacefully in Panchkula, but there were reports of a scuffle between the members of the Indian National Lok Dal and an independent candidate, Sudhir Sharma, at one a Kalka polling station.
The highest voter turnout in Kalka was recorded at Government High School, Krida, which recorded 100 per cent polling, followed by 96 per cent in Government Primary School, Khol Fatehsingh, and 84 per cent in Government Primary School, Shahjanpur.
“Polling was peaceful, except a few minor scuffles. One of the EVMs was found faulty during the mock drill, which was immediately replaced,” said Kalka SDM Shakti Singh. (Final voter turnout figures will be declared on Thursday)