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Haryana sees 51.80% voting till 4 p.m. (Third Lead) (4 p.m.)

Haryana on Sunday witnessed 51.80 per cent voting till 4 p.m. for the state's 10 Lok Sabha seats, an official said.

The highest voter turnout was recorded in the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh seat at 53 per cent, followed by Sonipat, Hisar and Sirsa, the official told IANS.

Voting began at 7 a.m. for the Ambala, Kurukshetra, Gurugram, Faridabad, Hisar, Sirsa, Karnal, Sonipat, Bhiwani-Mahendragarh and Rohtak constituencies.

Congress leader and sitting MP Deepender Hooda accused Minister of State for Cooperatives Manish Kumar Grover of booth capturing and voter intimidation in Rohtak.

In a written complaint to Returning Officer Yash Garg, Deepender Hooda, in the fray from his home turf Rohtak for a fourth straight victory, demanded the registration of a criminal case against Grover.

Acting on the complaint, the election authorities directed Grover to remain in his office till the voting gets over.

Long queues of voters were seen outside polling booths across the 10 seats in the morning. But by the afternoon most looked deserted as temperatures soared.

Election officials expect the turnout to increase just before polling ends at 6 p.m.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the polling percentage was 73 per cent, higher than 68 per cent in 2009.

Polling was delayed in some booths in Yamunanagar, Mahendragarh and Gohana towns due to Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) malfunctioning.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, former Chief Minister and Congress candidate from Sonipat Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Union Ministers Rao Inderjit Singh, Krishan Pal Gurjar and Birender Singh and Indian skipper Virat Kohli were among the early voters in the state.

The state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar along with his wife exercised their franchise in Sirsa town.

Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) candidate and Hisar sitting MP Dushyant Chautala voted in Sirsa.

Rao Inderjit Singh, Gurjar and Hooda were among the 223 candidates, including 11 women, whose fate will be sealed by an estimated 1.80 crore voters.

The elderly didn't miss an opportunity to exercise their franchise.

Som Dutt, 98, exercised his franchise at a booth in Yamunanagar, Shanti Devi, 92, who reached the booth on a wheelchair, cast her vote in Ambala city.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, the Om Prakash Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and its breakaway faction the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) are the main political parties in the fray.

The BJP won seven of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 with a vote share of 34.7 per cent as compared to 17.21 per cent in 2009 when it failed to win any seat.

The then ruling Congress lost eight of the nine seats it had won in 2009 and saw its vote share decline to 22.9 per cent as compared to 41.77 per cent five years back.

The INLD, which won two seats in 2014, increased its vote share to 24.4 per cent from 15.78 per cent in 2009.

--IANS

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