Haryana goes to polls in high stakes multi-cornered fight

Chandigarh: The fate of 1,351 candidates will be sealed by 1.63 crore voters in high-stakes multi-cornered contest in Haryana which goes to polls tomorrow with top guns including the kin of the three famous ‘Lals’ battling it out in the state.

After the hectic poll campaign came to an end at 6 PM yesterday, many parties today issued advertisements in the newspapers appealing for vote for tomorrow’s polling to the 90 member state assembly.

1.63 crore voters, including 87.37 lakh women, will decide the fate of 1,351 candidates, including 109 women, in 16,357 polling stations.

The main contestants include top guns like Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Randeep Surjewala (Congress), former Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala’s son Abhay, daughter-in-law Naina and grandson Dushyant (INLD), former Union Minister Venod Sharma and his wife Shakti Rani (HJCP-V), former MP Kuldeep Bishnoi, his wife Renuka and elder brother former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan (HJC-BL).

Other main candidates include Haryana BJP President Ram Bilas Sharma and Abhimanyu (BJP), Arvind Sharma (BSP) and Gopal Kanda (HLP), who was booked in the Geetika Sharma suicide case.

Unlike in the recent past, when the fight has mainly been limited between Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), a number of new players have thrown their hats in the ring this time.

Besides Congress and INLD, BJP is trying to come to power on its own for the first time since the formation of Haryana in 1966.

Apart from banking on the anti-incumbency factor, the BJP is hoping that the “Modi factor” will work in its favour like in the Lok Sabha, in which it got seven of the eight seats it contested from Haryana.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi aggressively campaigned for the BJP in Haryana appealing the voters to give the party a chance to take the state on path of development.

The Congress is eyeing a win for the third time in a row, mainly banking on the development card while main opposition INLD is seeking to return to power after a decade of hiatus, banking on the charisma of its President Om Prakash Chautala and consolidation of the Jat vote, besides other factors.

Two new parties– former Union Minister Venod Sharma-led Jan Chetna Party and former MP Kuldeep Bishnoi led Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) are fighting the polls in alliance and both outfits will mainly bank on consolidation of the non-Jat votes.

Independent MLA Gopal Kanda’s Haryana Lokhit Party, besides BSP and the Left parties are also trying their luck.

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