New Delhi, News24 Bureau, Jan 28: Finally, the voting began for the high-stake multi-cornered bypoll to the Jind assembly constituency of Haryana on Monday.
Randeep Surjewala offers prayers at Somnath temple. He is the Congress candidate for the by-election to the legislative assembly constituency of Jind. Voting is underway for the by-election.
The polling began at 7 am and will continue till 5 pm.
All necessary arrangements have been put in place for smooth and peaceful conduct of polling, officials here said.
The constituency is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with prestige at stake for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the opposition Indian National Lok Dal, Congress and the fledgling Jannayak Janta Party formed by Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala after the split in the INLD.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha last August last year.
Nearly 1.7 lakh people, including 80,556 women, are eligible to vote, officials said. Braving cold weather conditions, people could be seen queuing up at various polling booths to cast their vote. There are 71 polling booths in rural areas of this constituency and 103 polling booths fall in urban areas.
As part of elaborate security arrangements to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of polling, nearly 3,000 policemen have been put on duty, a senior police official said. Besides, 500 home guards and over 200 personnel drawn from the CRPF and the Rapid Action Force have also been deployed.
Additional police forces have been deployed at sensitive and highly-sensitive booths.
Counting of votes will take place on January 31.
Arch rivals BJP, Congress, INLD and the JJP are eyeing the results as a self-assessment exercise ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The election is considered as a referendum on the Manohar Lal Khattar government and also a semi-final ahead of the general election.