Voters standing in queues to cast their votes in Ellenabad. (Express Photo: Manoj Dhaka)
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The bypolls were necessitated after Chautala resigned in solidarity with the agitating farmers who are protesting the three farm laws. Chautala contested the polls again, and is eyeing a fourth win from the seat — after winning the bypolls to Ellenabad in 2010, Abhay retained it in 2014 and again in the 2019 Assembly polls. This election is significant for Chautala as Ellenabad was the lone seat his party had won in the last election to the Vidhan Sabha.
The Ellenabad bye-election was the first election in any Assembly constituency in Haryana since the farmers' agitation began last November. The state has now emerged the epicentre of the movement. The results of this election, therefore, are likely to emerge as a referendum on whether the ongoing agitation has had any impact on electoral politics. It is being considered a tough test for the ruling dispensation, as the BJP-JJP alliance is already facing opposition from the farmer community over the legislations.
Ahead of the Ellenabad bypolls, as many as 121 polling booths of the 211 set up were declared "sensitive or hyper sensitive". 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."
The polling was conducted according to the Covid-19 guidelines. Voters were made to stand in queues and follow the social distancing norms.
Hisar range IGP Rakesh Arya said apart from the policemen from Hisar range, as were as 34 companies of paramilitary forces 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,” he had told The Indian Express.