Chandigarh, May 12: Polling in the all ten Haryana parliamentary constituencies picked up after a sluggish start in the morning as over 22 per cent of 1,80,56,896 voters exercised their franchise in the first four hours on Sunday.
Polling began at 7am amid tight security and will continue till 6pm in the seats of the state. So far, voting has been peaceful with no untoward incident being reported. However, reports of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) came from a certain places in Kurukshetra parliamentary constituency.
Prominent personalities who cast their votes included Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Union ministers Krishan Pal Gujjar and Birender Singh, Haryana Ministers Rao Narbir Singh and Kavita Jain and her husband Rajiv Jain, Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal Gujjar.
Senior Congress leader and MLA Kiran Chaudhary and her daughter and Congress candidate from Bhiwani-Mahendragarh Lok Sabha seat Shruti Chaudhary and Haryana Congress chief Dr Ashok Tanwar also exercised their franchise. Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) leader and party candidate from Hisar Dushyant Chautala, his mother and MLA Naina Chautala and his wife Meghna Chautala also cast their votes.
Bhiwani-Mahendergarh seat recorded the highest 25.23 per cent voting till 1100 hrs, while Ambala seat recorded only 18.22 per cent.
As many as 1,80,56,896 registered voters, including 97,16,516 male, 83,40,173 female and 207 transgenders, are expected to exercise their franchise at 19,442 polling stations across the state to decide the fate of 223 candidates including 11 women who are in the electoral fray.
Around 67,000 Haryana police personnel and 95 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to ensure free and fair polling.
The Election Commission has deployed about 1.25 lakh employees or officers on election duty and 22, 819 Control units, 44,374 Ballot units and 24,451 VVPATs machines would be used in the Lok Sabha elections.
A tough electoral battle is seen between ruling BJP and opposition parties Congress, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP)-Aam Adami Party (AAP) alliance. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in alliance with Loktantra Suraksha Party of BJP rebel Raj Kumar Saini is also in the fray.
Prominent candidates who are in the fray included BJP candidates Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh (Gurugram), Union Minister of State Krishan Pal Gurjar (Fariadabad), sitting MP Ratan Lal Kataria (Ambala) and Dharam Bir Singh (Bhiwani-Mahendergarh), Brijendra Singh, son of Union Minister Birender Singh (Hisar), Congress nominees former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Sonepat), his son Deepinder Singh Hooda (Rohtak).
Bhavya Bishnoi, grandson of former chief minister Bhajan Lal (Hisar), former union minister Kumari Selja (Ambala) and Haryana Congress president Dr Ashok Tanwar (Sirsa), JJP leader Dushyant Chautala, great grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal (Hisar) and his brother Digvijay Chautala (Sonepat) and INLD candidate Arjun Chautala, grandson of former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala (Kurukshetra) are among the other prominent faces.
Several national and state leaders held rallies and road shows in favour of their candidates during the around month-long campaigning in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh, campaigned aggressively for the saffron party while Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former union minister and party's Haryana affairs in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad campaigned for their party candidates.
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Adami Party (AAP) Convener Arvind Kejriwal, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also campaigned for their alliance candidates.
In 2014 general elections, the BJP won seven seats, the INLD two and the Congress retained the Rohtak Lok Sabha seat.
The result will be declared on May 23.