37 per cent polling till 12 noon for civic body elections in Punjab


CHANDIGARH: Around 37 per cent polling was registered till 12 noon on Sunday for the civic body elections in Punjab, officials said.

The voting began at 8 am and it will continue till 4 pm, they said.

There were some reports of minor skirmishes and heated exchanges between the workers of the ruling Congress and the opposition parties at some places, including Jagraon, Batala, Rupnagar, Rajpura, Tarn Taran and Bathinda.

A total of 9,222 candidates are in the fray for elections to 2,302 wards of the eight municipal corporations of Abohar, Bathinda Batala, Kapurthala, Mohali, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot and Moga and 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in the state.

Out of total candidates, 2,832 are contesting as independents, 2,037 are of the ruling Congress while 1,569 are Akali Dal nominees. The number of candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party is 1,003, 1,606 and 160 respectively. Prominent among those who cast their votes till noon included Punjab minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia and AAP legislator Aman Arora. The State Election Commission (SEC) has set up 4,102 polling stations, of which, 1,708 have been declared as sensitive and 861 as hyper sensitive. A voter who enters the polling station before 4 pm will have the right to vote, an SEC spokesperson said. Around 7,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been deployed for voting.

As many as 19,000 police personnel have been deputed to conduct free and fair elections, the spokesperson said. Talking to the media in Majitha, Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia accused the ruling Congress of misusing the government machinery to win urban local bodies polls. He further charged the Congress-led government of not carrying out any development work during its regime. Voters including elderly citizens started coming to the polling booths in the morning at many places in Punjab to cast their votes.

Voters were also screened through thermal scanners at polling booths in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 20,49,777 male,18,65,354 female and 149 transgender voters, totalling 39,15,280 registered voters in the state for the civic body elections, the spokesperson said.

The counting of votes will take place on February 17.

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