Nearly 34 per cent polling was recorded till noon in the bypolls for the Hisar Lok Sabha seat, which is witnessing a triangular contest with the Anna factor looming large raising the stakes for the ruling Congress.
"At 12 pm the overall poll percentage of the nine assembly segments comprising the Hisar parliamentary constituency was nearly 34 per cent," Haryana's Chief Electoral Officer, Sumita Misra told PTI.
In the first hour itself, polling had started to pick up and by 9 am the overall poll percentage stood at 7.41 per cent.
In the 2009 parliamentary polls, Hisar had witnessed an overall poll percentage of 69.3 per cent and today it was likely to cross that figure, Misra said, adding polling today so far was completely peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
After the polling ends on Thursday evening, voters will seal the fate of 40 candidates who are in the fray.
Congress has fielded three-time MP from Hisar, Jai Prakash (58). He is pitted against Haryana Janhit Congress' Kuldeep Bishnoi (42), son of late Chief Minister Bhajan Lal, and main opposition INLD's Ajay Singh Chautala (50), MLA from Dabwali and son of INLD President Om Prakash Chautala.Both Jai Prakash and Ajay Chautala are Jats while Bishnoi is a non-Jat.
Out of the 40 candidates in the contest, mainly independents, Hisar has a total voter strength of 13.32 lakh that includes 7.29 lakh males.
Hisar parliamentary constituency comprises of nine assembly segments -- Adampur, Uklana SC, Narnaund, Hansi, Barwala, Hisar, Nalwa, Uchana Kalan and Bawani Khera SC.
For the first time, videography is being done at all the polling stations in Hisar where EVMS were carried with escorts from dispatch centres. Later these machines will be carried from booths to strong rooms under security.
Foolproof security arrangements have been made to ensure fair and free election, with 40 companies or roughly 4,000 personnel of Central forces deployed in addition to the police force spread across 1506 polling booths, out of which 339 have been declared as hyper sensitive and 387 others as sensitive.
Misra said that for the first time, on the directions of the Election Commission, people can view live shots of polling over Internet.
The high-pitched campaign that came to an end on Tuesday evening was dominated by wranglings between Congress and Team Anna, spearheading the anti-corruption campaign.
In 2009 Parliamentary polls, Congress had won nine out ten Lok Sabha seats in Haryana barring Hisar, which was won by HJC's Bhajan Lal, whose death necessitated the bypolls.
The constituency has nearly 4.6 lakh Jat voters, 80,000 Brahmins, 36,000 Bishnois, 65,000 Punjabis while SC and Backward Classes constitute a sizeable over 5 lakh votes.
Ruling Congress would be looking for a win to silence the opposition who has been targeting the state government and the UPA regime at the Centre on corruption and other issues.
Jai Prakash's own standing is also at stake as he had lost the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from here and also tasted defeat in the 2009 state assembly polls from Bhajan Lal family stronghold Adampur in this district.
For HJC-BJP's Bishnoi, his own political future and the longevity of his alliance will be at stake while the outcome of the polls will also test Ajay Chautala's own standing and that of his party, especially in the light of CBI cases going on against the Chautala family.
Late Bhajan Lal had won the seat in 2009 by a margin of about 7,000 votes. Lal got 2.48 lakh votes against INLD's Sampat Singh (now in Congress) who got 2.41 lakh votes. Jai Prakash had finished third securing 2.04 lakh votes.
Meanwhile, Jai Prakash, Bishnoi and Ajay Chautala in separate interactions with reporters, exuded confidence that they would win.Bishnoi and Chautala claimed that the Anna factor would benefit them.