Chandigarh: Voting was underway on Sunday for five municipal corporations and committees of Hisar, Rohtak, Yamunanagar, Panipat and Karnal in Haryana. The polling began at 7.30 am and will continue till 4.30 pm, election officials said. The election to the posts of mayors will be held directly for the first time.
While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are contesting the elections on their respective party symbols, the Congress has chosen not to use the party symbol for candidates backed by the party.
The elections are being considered important before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and Assembly polls likely to be held in October 2019. The BJP has been in power in Haryana since October 2014.
A total of 14,01,454 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 136 wards of the municipal corporations and committees. The State Election Commission (SEC) said that there are a total of 744,468 are male voters and 656,986 are female voters.
However, due to the cold weather, only a few voters were seen at polling stations in the early hours of Sunday.
The Haryana Police has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of the elections. Over 7,000 police personnel, including women police officials, are on duty.
It is for the first time in the electoral history of municipal elections in the country that none of the above (NOTA) has been introduced as an option in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
There are 1,292 polling stations for the elections. Out of these, 304 are sensitive and 166 are hyper-sensitive. The highest number of polling stations (303) has been set up in Yamunanagar district.
Director General of Police (DGP) B.S. Sandhu said on Saturday that the entire police administration is fully geared up to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections.
(With agency inputs)