Chandigarh: The heavy voter turnout in Haryana's assembly elections Wednesday has taken the state to a new high with a record 75.90 percent of the state's 1.63 crore electorate exercising their franchise. The voting percentage is the highest ever in any assembly elections since Haryana became a state in 1966.
"This is the highest ever voting record in the history of Haryana's assembly polls since 1967," Haryana Chief Electoral Officer Shrikant Walgad told IANS.
The voter turnout has already put the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is taking its first shot at power in the state on its own, on victory course if the exit poll results are to be believed. The exit polls have given the BJP between 34 to 54 seats in the 90-member assembly. The results will be known after the vote count Sunday.
"The BJP will form the next government and the high voter turnout is a clear indicator that people in Haryana want a change. They were fed up with the scams, corruption and misrule of the last 10 years," said BJP leader Abhimanyu, who is a frontrunner in the race to be the next chief minister if the BJP comes to power.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which has been given between 20 and 26 seats in the exit polls, too is confident after the high turnout.
Out of Haryana's 21 districts, 15 districts recorded a voting percentage of 75 percent or more. Of these, six districts recorded heavy voter turnout of over 80 percent.
Sirsa district, which is the stronghold of the opposition INLD, recorded the highest polling of 84.2 percent. It was followed by Fatehabad district with a turnout of 83.2 and Kaithal with 82.2 percent voting.
The previous record for maximum polling at 72.65 percent in 1967 was broken.
In the 2009 assembly polls, Haryana recorded nearly 72.29 percent voting. In the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, Haryana saw a turnout of 71.86 percent.
The assembly constituency of Ellenabad in Sirsa district saw the highest voter turnout of 89 percent. It was followed by Rania at 87.9 percent, Sadhaura at 84.9 and Jagadhri at 84.7 percent.
The high profile assembly seat of Uchana Kalan in Jind district saw a record voting of 84.8 percent. Here INLD candidate Dushyant Chautala, who is the current Lokk Sabha member from Hisar constituency and great-grandson of late former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, was pitted against Premlata Singh, wife of Jat leader Birender Singh who quit the Congress recently to join the BJP.
The National Capital Region (NCR) areas of Faridabad and Gurgaon were the ones which could not match up to the high voting percentage elsewhere in the state. Faridabad district recorded the lowest turnout in the state at 62.1 percent while Gurgaon was a shade better at 69.2 percent.
Badhkal (55.9 percent), Ballabhgarh (58) and Faridabad (59.7) assembly constituencies recorded the lowest turnouts in the state.
Even Panchkula assembly segment, adjoining state capital Chandigarh, had a low turnout of 65.7 percent. Gurgaon assembly constituency, adjoining the national capital, saw only 63.8 percent voting.
"The state's rural areas voted heavily. Details will be known later," one election official said.