Punjab's Final Phase Lok Sabha Elections Witness High Stakes

Voting commenced in Punjab and Chandigarh for the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections with tight security arrangements. Major political parties, including Congress, AAP, BJP, and SAD, contesting independently, have fielded numerous prominent candidates. The multi-cornered contest aims to capture 13 seats in Punjab and one in Chandigarh.

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 01-06-2024 07:07 IST | Created: 01-06-2024 07:07 IST
Punjab's Final Phase Lok Sabha Elections Witness High Stakes
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Polling began on Saturday morning for 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab and the lone Chandigarh seat in the seventh and final phase of parliamentary elections.

Amid tight security arrangements, polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm, said the officials.

INDIA bloc allies -- the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) -- are contesting separately while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are contesting the Lok Sabha polls on their own for the first time since 1996.

The Sukhbir Badal-led SAD walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2020 over the now-repealed three farm laws.

Besides the Congress, AAP, SAD and the BJP, two other parties -- SAD (Amritsar) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) -- have also fielded their candidates.

Punjab is going to witness a multi-cornered contest on all the 13 Lok Sabha seats.

The AAP, Congress, SAD, BJP, BSP and the SAD (Amritsar) are contesting in all the constituencies of Punjab. However, the Congress and the AAP have forged an alliance in Chandigarh.

Among the prominent faces, BJP nominee and four-time MP Preneet Kaur is seeking reelection from the Patiala parliamentary constituency.

Three-time MP and SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal and BJP's Parampal Kaur Sidhu, a former IAS officer, are trying their luck from Bathinda.

Former chief minister and Congress candidate Channi and BJP nominee Sushil Rinku are in the fray from the Jalandhar reserved constituency.

Former deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa is fighting from Gurdaspur.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring is contesting against BJP's Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana.

Radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh, who is lodged in Assam's Dibrugarh jail under the National Security Act (NSA), is fighting from Khadoor Sahib.

Former diplomat and BJP nominee Taranjit Singh Sandhu is fighting from Amritsar while Congress candidate Gurjeet Singh Aujla is contesting to retain this seat.

Of all its 13 candidates, the AAP has fielded five cabinet ministers -- Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal (Amritsar), Laljit Singh Bhullar (Khadoor Sahib), Gurmeet Singh Khuddian (Bathinda), Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer (Sangrur) and Balbir Singh (Patiala).

Congress candidate Sukhpal Khaira is contesting from Sangrur while AAP's Karamjit Singh Anmol and BJP's Hans Raj Hans are in the fray from the Faridkot seat.

SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is contesting from Sangrur and Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa, who is the son of Beant Singh, one of the two assassins of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, is contesting from the Faridkot reserved constituency.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress bagged eight of the 13 Lok Sabha seats. The SAD and the BJP, then fighting as allies, won two seats each. The AAP got just the Sangrur seat then.

Following the 2022 Sangrur and 2023 Jalandhar bypolls, the Congress is left with seven seats, the SAD and the BJP have two each and the AAP and the SAD (Amritsar) one each.

In Chandigarh, BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon is pitted against Congress nominee and former Union minister Manish Tewari.

A total of 328 candidates, including 26 women, are in the fray in Punjab while 19 candidates comprising two women are fighting the elections in Chandigarh, the officials said.

Drinking water, shades, 'chabeel' (sweetened water), medical kits, oral rehydration solution (ORS) and the likes have been arranged at polling stations in the wake of the heat wave, said the officials.

A total of 2,14,61,739 voters including 1,01,74,240 women and 773 transgenders are eligible to cast their votes in Punjab.

In Chandigarh, 6,59,805 voters comprising 3,18,226 women and 35 third gender are eligible to exercise their franchise.

For the 13 Lok Sabha seats, a total of 24,451 polling stations have been set up. Out of these, 5,694 polling stations have been identified as critical.

Around 70,000 security personnel including central forces have been deployed in 13 Lok Sabha seats on Saturday, said the officials.

Besides, 1.20 lakh polling staff have been deployed for the polling in the state.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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