Chandigarh, Oct 21 (IANS): Nine per cent of over 1.83 crore voters in Haryana turned out in the first three hours of polling on Monday to elect 90 members of the state Assembly, officials said.
"The voter turnout was 9 per cent by 10 a.m.," an electoral official told IANS after polling started at 7 a.m. across the state.
The highest turnout was in Muslim-majority Punhana seat (19 per cent), while the lowest was in Panchkula (two per cent).
Barring minor hiccups in the operation of the electronic voting machines, the initial round of voting was brisk across the state.
Electors were seen reaching polling stations even before voting started at 7 a.m. The polling will continue till 6 p.m.
The election results will be out on October 24, coinciding with the Maharashtra Assembly election results.
Among the early voters were Congress candidate Chander Mohan, sitting BJP minister Kavita Jain and her husband, Congress state chief Kumari Selja, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) chief Dushyant Chautala and his family, including mother Naina Chautala, who reached a polling booth in Sirsa in a tractor, BJP leader Krishan Pal Gurjar, BJP candidates and international wrestlers Babita Phogat and Yogeshwar Dutt and Congress candidate Randeep Surjewala.
A total of 1,169 candidates, including 105 women, are in the fray. One candidate is a transgender.
While the BJP and the Congress are contesting on all 90 seats, the BSP is in the fray on 87 seats, and the INLD is contesting on 81 seats. There are some 375 candidates contesting as independents.
Hansi has the maximum of 25 candidates in the running, while Ambala Cantt and Shahbad have just six. Narnaul is the smallest constituency in terms of voters, with just 144,066 electorates, while Badshahpur is the largest, with 396,281 voters.
While one constituency has less than 1.5 lakh voters, some 47 constituencies have between 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh voters and 42 constituencies have more than 2 lakh voters.
The state has 19,578 polling stations, which will use 27,611 voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPATs) machines.
Political observers say the main contest is largely between the BJP and the Congress.
Riding high on pro-incumbency and the Modi wave, BJP's Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar believes he will take his party's tally to 75 plus from the present 47 legislators, while Congress' two-time chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has been raising the pitch against unemployment, law and order and lack of development.
After casting vote in Kaithal town, Congress national spokesperson Surjewala told the media that a huge public support reflect people's overwhelming mood to give mandate in favour of the Congress in the state with a clear majority.
A total of 69.74 per cent cast their votes in the state in the Lok Sabha elections in May.
In the 2014 Assembly polls, Haryana recorded the highest-ever turnout of 76.54 per cent.