Mumbai / Chandigarh / Itanagar: Moderate to heavy polling was on Tuesday registered in the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh amid sporadic incidents of violence in which a polling agent was killed and Naxals attacked a patrol party and a booth.
While an estimated 70% of the voters exercised their franchise in Arunachal Pradesh, the turnout was around 50% in Haryana and about 40% in Maharashtra till about 1500 hrs, poll officials said.
The 48-year-old polling agent, Jyoti Ram, was killed in a clash between supporters of Congress nominee Dillu Ram and Independent candidate Kulwant Bazigar in Gulha assembly constituency in Haryana’s Kaithal district, police said.
He represented Bazigar.
In Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district where 17 policemen were shot dead by the Maoists on 8 October, naxalites opened fire at a patrol party near Kasansur in Aheri block shortly before polling commenced. No one was injured, police said, adding security forces did not retaliate.
In another incident, naxals opened fire at a polling station at Bonde in Korchi taluka of the district. While no one was hurt, additional forces were despatched by an airforce chopper, Manoj Sharma, ASP, Gadchiroli, said.
Over 1.29 lakh state police and central forces were deployed across the state to ensure orderly polling in 288 Assembly seats, DGP (Elections) A N Roy said adding that the incidents did not hamper the polling process.
Union ministers Sharad Pawar and Vilasrao Deshmukh, industrialist Anil Ambani, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar were among the prominent voters.
The fate of 3,559 candidates, including chief minister Ashok Chavan, his deputy Chhagan Bhujbal and 37 ministers will be decided by the electorate comprising 7,56,34,525 voters.
Sons and daughters of leaders like Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde, Gopinath Munde and late Pramod Mahajan are making their electoral debut.
Meanwhile, an FIR was registered against three-time Congress MLA Janardhan Chandurkar for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by trying to influence voters by distributing money in suburban Bandra in Mumbai, police said.
Official reports from Nagpur said polling parties had failed to reach some booths in the interior areas of Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district.
In Haryana, over 1.31 crore eligible voters, including 59 lakh women, will decide the fate of 1,222 candidates in fray for 90 assembly seats.
Prominent contestants include chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, his ministerial colleagues -- Birender Singh, Kiran Choudhry and Randeep Singh Surjewala, former chief minister and INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, INLD’s secretary general Ajay Chautala, and Haryana Janhit Congress supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi.
In Arunachal Pradesh polling was held for 57 of the 60 seats in the Assembly.
Three Congress candidates, including chief minister Dorjee Khandu, have already been elected unopposed from the predominantly Buddhist district of Tawang.
Around 7.25 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in favour of 151 candidates.
Shoot-at-sight orders were issued against booth capturers or those attempting to damage EVMs in Papumpare district and in Itanagar.
Counting of votes in all the three states will take place on 22 October.