High Turnout and High Stakes: Punjab's Lok Sabha Polls Unfold

Punjab witnessed a robust voter turnout for its 13 Lok Sabha constituencies, with 37.80% of voters casting their ballots by 1 pm. Tight security and high-profile voters, including prominent political leaders, marked the day. With a total of 328 candidates on the ballot, the stakes are high.

PTI | Chandigarh | Updated: 01-06-2024 14:17 IST | Created: 01-06-2024 14:17 IST
High Turnout and High Stakes: Punjab's Lok Sabha Polls Unfold
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A voter turnout of 37.80 per cent was recorded till 1 pm in the polling for the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies of Punjab on Saturday.

In the lone parliamentary seat of Chandigarh, the voter turnout was at 40.14 per cent.

Polling began at 7 am amid tight security arrangements and will continue till 6 pm, officials said.

Among the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab, Bathinda recorded a turnout of 41.17 per cent till 1 pm, followed by Sangrur with 39.85 per cent.

The polling percentage in Amritsar was 32.18, Anandpur Sahib 37.43, Faridkot 36.82, Fatehgarh Sahib 37.43, Gurdaspur 39.05, Hoshiarpur 37.07, Jalandhar 37.95, Khadoor Sahib 37.76, Ludhiana 35.16, Ferozepur 39.74, Faridkot 36.82 and Patiala 39.73, as per Election Commission data.

Voters, including elders, women and youngsters, queued up early in the morning at several polling stations to exercise their franchise.

Among those who cast their votes early were Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, state BJP chief Sunil Jakhar, AAP leader Raghav Chadha, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema, AAP candidates Malvinder Singh Kang, Karamjit Singh Anmol and Laljit Bhullar, BJP candidate Taranjit Singh Sandhu, SAD candidate Anil Joshi and former cricketer Harbhajan Singh.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, along with his wife, cast his vote in Muktsar. Congress candidate Gurjeet Singh Aujla exercised his franchise in Amritsar, while the BJP's Chandigarh candidate Sanjay Tandon and his family voted in Chandigarh.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife and Bathinda candidate Harsimrat Kaur Badal, along with their son and two daughters, cast their votes in Muktsar.

Former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa cast their votes in Punjab while actor Ayushmann Khurrana and sitting BJP MP from Chandigarh Kirron Kher exercised his franchise in the Union territory.

The officials said the BSP's Ferozepur candidate Surinder Kamboj was booked for having someone film him while voting at a polling booth in Guruharsahai and making it public.

In Muktsar, an EVM developed a technical snag at a polling booth in Khuddian village.

Speaking to reporters in Sangrur, Mann appealed to the people of Punjab to exercise their franchise in large numbers.

SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal also appealed to voters to go out and vote.

In Mohali, AAP leader Chadha appealed to people to exercise their franchise. ''Each vote will decide the country's 'disha' (direction) and 'dasha' (condition),'' he said.

Among the prominent faces in the fray, BJP nominee and four-time MP Preneet Kaur is seeking re-election from the Patiala parliamentary constituency, while Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a three-time MP, and the BJP's Parampal Kaur Sidhu, a former IAS officer, are trying their luck from Bathinda.

Former chief minister and Congress candidate Charanjit Singh Channi and BJP nominee Sushil Rinku are in the fray from the Jalandhar reserved constituency. Former deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa is contesting from Gurdaspur, while Warring is contesting against the 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 contesting from Amritsar against sitting MP and Congress candidate Gurjeet Singh Aujla.

Among its 13 Lok Sabha candidates in Punjab, 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 the 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 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 contesting 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 given the heatwave conditions, the officials said.

A total of 2,14,61,739 voters, including 1,01,74,240 women and 773 third-gender electors, are eligible to vote in Punjab.

In Chandigarh, 6,59,805 voters 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.

INDIA bloc allies Congress and AAP are contesting the polls separately while the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are fighting 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.

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

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