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Punjab Records 52% Voter Turn Out By 4PM, Goa Crosses 67% By 3PM

Punjab Records 52% Voter Turn Out By 4PM, Goa Crosses 67% By 3PM
| PTI Photo
Punjab Records 52% Voter Turn Out By 4PM, Goa Crosses 67% By 3PM
outlookindia.com
2017-02-04T16:24:56+05:30

Around 52 per cent of the total 1.98 crore electors have exercised their franchise till 4PM to seal the fate of 1,145 candidates in the high-stakes Punjab Assembly elections while Goa crossed 67 per cent in terms of voter turn out.

In Punjab, a technical snag was reported in voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines in Majitha and Sangrur, the spokesman said, adding that the matter had been referred to the Election Commission .

The voting started around 45 minutes late at two polling booths in Jalandhar and Amritsar due to technical glitches in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia was unable to cast his vote in the morning due to the technical snag in EVM at polling station number 35, Ward number 5 in Majitha constituency in Amritsar district.

Among those who had cast their vote so far included Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Congress vetran Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh and his wife Preneet Kaur had also cast their votes.

"Seeking my mother's blessings before casting my vote. Let this be a new dawn for Punjab!," Amarinder tweeted.

Former Army chief General J J Singh (retd) of SAD, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Pargat Singh of Congress, Sucha Singh Chhotepur of Apna Punjab Party (APP), and Bhagwant Mann, Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi and Sukhpal Singh Khaira of AAP also cast their votes.

Cricketer Harbhajan Singh along with his mother Avtar Kaur also exercised their franchise.

The polling for 117 Punjab assembly seats is being held in a single phase amid tight security.

Punjab is witnessing a three-cornered contest between ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, opposition Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has fielded candidates in 94 seats while its ally BJP has nominated candidates in the remaining 23 seats. Congress is contesting alone on all seats.

AAP, which is contesting the state polls for the first time, has fielded candidates in 112 seats while its ally Lok Insaf Party, led by Ludhiana-based Bains brothers, has fielded nominees in five seats.

Other political outfits in the fray include BSP, former AAP leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur-led Apna Punjab Party, the Left comprising CPI and CPI-M, and SAD-Amritsar.

Over 200 companies of paramilitary forces have been deputed for the fair conduct of polls.

Voting for Amritsar Lok Sabha seat by-poll is also being held amid tight security arrangements.

The total number of electors in the state is 1,98,79,069, including 93,75,546 females. There are 415 transgender voters.

The total number of candidates in the fray include 81 women and a transgender. The polling commenced at 22,615 polling stations in the entire state.

While 84 Assembly seats are of general category, 34 are reserved. (MORE) Speaking to reporters after casting his vote at Lambi,

89-year-old five-time Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said, "I have 70 years of experience and have fought for Punjab and India. This is a small battle."

His comment came when asked about the electoral battle turning into a triangular contest this time with the entry of Aam Aadmi Party.

"We will have a bigger win than last time. AAP will finish at third spot," Sukhbir Badal claimed.

"People will vote for development, peace and communal harmony. AAP is a pack of criminals," he added.

Punjab Congress president and party's chief ministerial candidate Amarinder Singh said his party was leading in the state and was set to form the government.

The senior Congress leader, who is contesting from Lambi, said he would defeat Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the latter's turf.

"This time three major parties are in the fray. I wish that whoever wins keep Punjab's interests above all," cricketer Harbhajan Singh told reporters in his hometown Jalandhar. He also appealed that more and more youth should come out to cast their votes.

General J J Singh (retd) said SAD-BJP will perform a hatrick and form the government.

Sidhu, who along with his wife Navjot Kaur cast his vote, said, "People of Punjab will give a gift to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi by ensuring party's victory here and its revival in the country."

"Truth will prevail in Punjab...From this place Congress flag will start floating," he said.

The key contestants in the crucial state polls include Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh (Patiala and Lambi seats), Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal (Lambi) and his son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal (Jalalabad).

The other prominent candidates are Congress veteran and former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal (Lehragagga), Indian Youth Congress chief Raja Amarinder Singh Warring (Gidderbaha), Badal's estranged nephew Manpreet Singh Badal, who is fighting on a Congress ticket from Bathinda Urban, and AAP MP Bhagwant Mann (Jalalabad).

Amritsar Lok Sabha seat fell vacant following the resignation of Amarinder Singh to protest the apex court verdict on Punjab's river waters. The voter strength in this seat is over 14 lakhs.

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal  exuded confidence that the SAD-BJP would again form the government in the state as she hit out at Congress and AAP for making "false promises" to lure voters.

"With the grace of God, our (SAD-BJP) government will again form the government in the state as our government always worked for the state's progress and development," Harsimrat, wife of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, told reporters after casting her vote in Lambi.

"100 per cent we shall score a hat-trick," she asserted.

Hitting out at Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, she said, "They (Congress and AAP) were busy making false accusations against us and both of them will bite the dust".

Prominent among the candidates in fray for the Lok Sabha seat are BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, who is up against Congress' Gurjit Singh Aujla and Aam Aadmi Party's Upkar Singh Sandhu.

For the Amritsar Lok Sabha by-poll, 35 per cent polling has taken place so far, an election office spokesman said here.

The counting of votes for the state polls and Amritsar Lok Sabah by-poll will take place on March 11.

(With inputs from PTI)

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