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81.3% turnout in Ellenabad, counting on Nov 2

These 1.86 lakh voters will decide the fate of 19 candidates in the fray. However, the contest is being considered a triangular fight among the three key contestants.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 31, 2021 8:05:10 am
Voters standing in queues to cast their vote at a polling booth in Ellenabad. (Express photo by Sukhbir Siwach)

Over 81.3 per cent polling took place in Ellenabad constituency during the bypoll that was held Saturday. The counting of votes is scheduled for November 2.

“Polling began at 7 am and continued till 6 pm. Till 5 pm, there was over 73.31 per cent polling. There were still people in queues at several polling booths till 6 pm,” officials of Sirsa district administration said.

Sirsa District Election Officer Anish Yadav told The Indian Express: “As many as 211 polling booths were set up for 1.86 lakh voters. As many as 121 polling booths were declared sensitive or hyper sensitive. The election process went on peacefully.”

These 1.86 lakh voters will decide the fate of 19 candidates in the fray. However, the contest is being considered a triangular fight among the three key contestants.

The bypoll was necessitated after the resignation of INLD legislator from Ellenabad, Abhay Chautala, in January. He had resigned in solidarity with the agitating farmers who are protesting against the three farm laws. Chautala again contested the bypoll as INLD candidate.

The BJP fielded Sirsa MLA Gopal Kanda’s brother, Gobind Kanda, while BJP-rebel Pawan Beniwal is the Congress candidate for the bypoll.

Hisar range IGP Rakesh Arya said apart from the policemen from Hisar range, as many as 34 companies of paramilitary forces were also deployed to ensure free and fair election.

“As many as 65 patrolling parties were formed for nearly 80 villages where the election process took place. The patrolling parties were given a target to reach any spot within 5-7 minutes after getting any complaint. As many as 52 nakas were set up on the borders of Punjab and Rajasthan. Similar nakas were installed by the neighbouring states too in their jurisdiction following our request,” Arya told The Indian Express.

The bypoll is being considered to be a tough contest for the ruling dispensation’s candidate as the BJP-JJP alliance is already facing opposition from the farmer community over the three central legislations.

Ellenabad is considered a stronghold of Chautala clan. Abhay Chautala is a four-time MLA. Earlier, he had won the Rori Assembly bypoll in Sirsa district in 2000 and the 2010 bypoll from Ellenabad when his father and INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala had vacated the seat to retain the Uchana seat in Jind district – the other constituency from which he had contested in 2009 and won.

In 2010 bypoll in Ellenabad, Abhay had won and then retained the seat in 2014 Assembly elections. In 2019 too, Abhay won from Ellenabad and made it to the Vidhan Sabha as a lone MLA from INLD.

While Abhay Chautala reiterated Saturday that he has got the support of farmers as he resigned expressing solidarity with their agitation, Kanda had been facing opposition from within the BJP as he was considered an outsider. The Congress, on the other hand, too built its entire campaign around the ongoing farmers’ agitation to woo majority of the rural population of the constituency.

For INLD, the bypoll is considered far more important than the ruling BJP-JJP or the main opposition Congress. The only way for INLD to keep its existence in the Vidhan Sabha is if Abhay Chautala wins this bypoll.

The polling was conducted according to the Covid-19 guidelines. Voters were made to stand in queues and follow the social distancing norms.

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