Punjab elections: Voter turnout of 63% recorded till 5 pm

A voter turnout of over 63 per cent was recorded till 5 pm in Punjab, where the polling for 117 Assembly seats was held amid tight security arrangements.

The voting started at 8 am and continued till 6 pm. The voting remained peaceful, Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju told PTI.

At many places, where the voters had entered booths before 6 pm and were standing in queues, they were allowed to cast their votes.

The final voting percentage, which is set to increase, will be known later after compilation of data, officials said. In the 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, the voting percentage stood at 77.4.

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

According to the Punjab chief electoral office, an average voter turnout of 63.44 per cent was recorded till 5 pm while voting ended at 6 pm.

Gidderbaha Assembly segment recorded the highest turnout of 77.80 per cent while Amritsar South seat recorded the lowest turnout at 48.06 per cent.

Mansa district recorded a maximum voter turnout of 73.34 per cent while Mohali recorded the lowest at 53.10 per cent.

Many districts falling in Malwa region, which accounts for 69 of total 117 seats, recorded more than 65 per cent turnout.

In Majha region, Gurdaspur witnessed 64.59 percent polling, followed by Pathankot (63.89), Tarn Taran (60.47) and Amritsar (57.74).

In Doaba region, the voter turnout in SBS Nagar was 64.03 per cent, Hoshiarpur 62.91 per cent, Jalandhar 58.47 per cent and Kapurthala 62.46 per cent.

The Punjab CEO said 72 ballot units, 64 control units and 649 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) were replaced after they developed some snag.

He said there was not a single case of disruption of polling.

On law and order, Raju said, "Some minor poll-related incidents were witnessed in the state and a total of 18 FIRs were registered on the day of polling to avert any untoward incidents."

Pick-up and drop facility was provided to people above 80 years and persons with disabilities (PwD), said the CEO. While arrangement for wheelchairs was made for elderly at polling stations, first-time voters were given certificates at the polling booths.

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

Polled EVMs will be kept in designated strongrooms under round the clock surveillance of CCTV cameras, said the officials.

Punjab witnessed 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) contested the polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

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

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

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.

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

His vehicle was also impounded by police, said officials.

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

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

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

However, Channi accused the SAD and BJP of taking the support of the Dera Sacha Sauda.

"Akali and BJP partnership is out in open, both are taking support from the Dera Sacha Sauda," Channi alleged in a tweet.

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

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

In Patiala, former chief minister Amarinder Singh also exuded confidence of his victory. 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.

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.

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

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

Source: https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/trends/story/punjab-elections-voter-turnout-of-63-recorded-till-5-pm-323293-2022-02-20?utm_source=rssfeed