Punjab polls: Over 63 per cent Voter Turnout till 5 pm

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Chandigarh, Feb 20 (PTI) Over 63 percent voter turnout was recorded till 5 pm in Punjab, where the polling for all 117 Assembly was held amid tight security arrangements.

The polling ended at 6 pm and the final voting figure is yet to be out. The voting had started at 8 am.

A total of 700 companies of the central armed police force besides the state police personnel have been deployed for peaceful polling.

A total of 1,304 candidates, including 93 women and two transgenders, are in the fray.

According to the Punjab chief electoral office, an average voter turnout of 63.44 percent was recorded till 5 pm.

Mansa recorded a maximum voter turnout of 73.45 while Malerkotla recorded 72.84 percent polling till 5 pm.

Fazilka recorded a turnout of 70.70 per cent, Sangrur 70.43 per cent and Muktsar 72.01 per cent. Amritsar recorded 57.74 percent voter turnout while Mohali recorded the lowest turnout at 53.10 percent.

At a polling booth in Amritsar, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Sidhu and SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia came face to face and exchanged brief pleasantries. Both leaders are contesting against each other from Amritsar East.

AAP’s chief ministerial face Bhagwant Mann met his mother at his native place.

Amritsar-based famous conjoined twins Sohan Singh and Mohan Singh, fondly known as Sohna-Mohna, cast their separate votes.

Sohna-Mohna had recently been handed over two separate electoral photo identity cards by Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju.

Both had turned 18 last year and voted for the first time.

The conjoined twins said they are extremely happy as both were able to exercise their voting rights.

Officials said the conjoined twins were treated as two separate voters and special arrangements were made for them so that both could maintain the secrecy of their votes.

The Election Commission had restrained actor and philanthropist Sonu Sood from visiting polling booths in Moga following complaints that he was trying to influence voters.

His vehicle has also been impounded by the police, said, officials.

However, Sood, who has denied the charges, alleged that other candidates were trying to buy votes.

Sood’s sister Malvika Sood Sachar is a Congress candidate from Moga.

Dressed in her bridal wear, a young woman first went to cast her vote at a village in Zirakpur on the outskirts of Chandigarh, before performing marriage rituals.

At the women-managed pink polling booths in the state, enthusiasm was seen among voters, especially those voting for the first time.

There are 196 pink polling stations for women while 70 polling stations are being managed by persons with disabilities (PwD).

The elderly were helped at polling booths. Arrangement for wheelchairs was also made at polling stations.

First-time voters were given certificates at the polling booths.

Those who voted so far included former chief minister and SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal (94), the oldest candidate in the fray, ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Pargat Singh and Vijay Inder Singla, Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa and Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma.

AAP’s chief ministerial face Bhagwant Mann exercised his franchise in Mohali.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also cast their votes.

Sukhbir Badal himself drove a vehicle and brought the family to cast their votes in Muktsar.

AAP leader Raghav Chadha in his tweets alleged that at a polling booth in Guruharsahai, a sarpanch tried to influence voters. He claimed that some EVMs malfunctioned at Sanaour, Attari and Majitha.

Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal appealed to voters to exercise their right to franchise.

In the morning, Charanjit Singh Channi paid obeisance at religious places at his home constituency Chamkaur Sahib. He claimed that Congress will get two-thirds majority in the polls.

After casting his vote, Parkash Singh Badal said, “I am happy that our democracy is very strong. I will continue to serve my people till my last breath.

Sukhbir Badal said the SAD-BSP alliance will win over 80 seats.

Former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said she will urge every single voter to vote.

Harsimrat said, There is going to be a clean sweep in favor of a tried and tested regional party that understands the aspiration of the people.

In Patiala, former chief minister Amarinder Singh also exuded confidence of his victory. Asked how big the challenge in these elections was, Amarinder said, Not much. We will win.

Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur, who is a Congress MP, said, I always supported Captain sahib (Amarinder). It is my family and my family is above everything.

A total of 2,14,99,804 people, including 1,02,00,996 women, are eligible to vote.

There are 24,740 polling stations, of which 2,013 have been identified as critical while 2,952 are vulnerable.

Punjab is witnessing a multi-cornered contest among the Congress, AAP, SAD-BSP, BJP-PLC-SAD (Sanyukt) and the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM), a political front of various farmer bodies.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is contesting the polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The BJP is fighting the elections in alliance with Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led SAD (Sanyukt).

The SSM is contesting the polls with Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni-led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party.


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