Two Union ministers and a former chief minister are among the 223 Lok Sabha poll candidates in Haryana whose fate would be known on Thursday when counting of votes gets underway at 90 centres spread over 30 locations in the state.
Polling in the 10 parliamentary constituencies in Haryana was held in the sixth phase on May 12 in which over 70 per cent of the 1.80 crore people cast their votes.
Haryana's Joint Chief Electoral Officer, Inder Jeet Wednesday said, "All arrangements, including those pertaining to security, have been put in place. The process of counting of votes will begin at 8 am on May 23."
Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Navdeep Singh Virk said a three-layered security cover has been put in place at the counting centres.
Security has been tightened at strong rooms housing the EVMs to ensure peaceful counting of votes, he said.
With the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) to be counted in five polling booths picked at random from each of the 90 assembly segments of Haryana, the announcement of results for the 10 Lok Sabha seats is likely to be delayed.
"VVPAT paper slips of five polling booths of each assembly segment will be counted and we have made arrangements for that," Inder Jeet said.
Besides, the counting of votes on EVMs, the votes of defence personnel cast through electronically transmitted postal ballot system (ETPBS) are also likely to take some time and the final results for the 10 seats may be known only by late evening or could even stretch to midnight or beyond, a poll official said.
Union minister Birender Singh's son Brijendra Singh (BJP) and former chief minister Bhajan Lal's grandson Bhavya Bishnoi (Congress), both political greenhorns, contested from the Hisar Lok Sabha seat, where they faced sitting MP and leader of newly floated JJP Dushyant Chautala, the grandson of former chief minister O P Chautala.
Former Union minister Kumari Selja and state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar were in fray from Ambala and Sirsa, respectively. Shruti Choudhary, former MP and grand daughter of ex-chief minister Bansi Lal contested from Bhiwani Mahendergarh seat.
During the hustings, the Congress targeted the BJP government at the Centre over "failed" promises and alleged corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders talked about the alleged land scams when the Congress was in power, the issue of national security and brought up the 1984-anti-Sikh riots issue.
The violent quota agitation of 2016 also figured during campaigning.
Among the major parties in the contest are the ruling BJP, the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal, all of whom fought the 10 seats independently. The Jannayak Janata Party, formed after split in the INLD six months ago, contested on seven seats while its ally AAP fought in the other three seats.
In the 2014 parliamentary polls, the BJP had contested eight seats and won seven. Its then ally, the Haryana Janhit Congress, had fought on two seats, losing both. The INLD won two seats and the Congress could retain only Rohtak seat last time.