Polling began on Saturday to elect the 117-member Punjab Assembly in a three-cornered contest with Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine, which is battling anti-incumbency after a 10-year rule, locked in a tough contest with Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party.
1.98 crore people are eligible to vote in the high-stake election, the first after Modi Government's demonetisation move, in which 1,145 candidates, including 81 women and a transgender, are in the fray.
Over 200 companies (each comprising 80-100 personnel) of paramilitary forces have been deputed for the election in the state which saw a car blast barely two days before the campaign was to end in which six people were killed. Punjab police did not rule out the incident as an act of terror.
Out of the total electorate of 1,98,79,069 in the state, there are 93,75,546 women and 415 transgenders.
22,615 polling stations have been set up across the state. While 83 Assembly seats are of general category, 34 have been demarcated as reserved.
#5:30pm: People help an elderly person who arrived to cast his vote at a polling station in Sohian Kalan near Majitha
#5:25pm: Polling in Punjab ends, people reporting to the booth up to 5pm will be voting
#4:59pm: Polling started an hour late in Punjab today due to inclement weather
#4:55pm: Punjab has recorded an overall voter turnout of 66% till 04:00 PM
#4:05pm: Punjab has recorded an overall voter turnout of 55 per cent till 03:00 PM
#15:52pm: Bike borne men open fire near a polling booth in Ferozepur district's Guru Har Sahai area, no injuries
#15:15pm: Punjab has recorded an overall voter turnout of 48% till 2:30pm
#12:15pm: BJP-Akali Dal will win and Parkash Singh Badal will become the CM for the sixth time: BJP's Hans Raj Hans
#12:15pm: BJP's Hans Raj Hans exercises his right to vote at a polling booth in Jalandhar
#11:47am: Will give Rahul Gandhi great gift with Congress' revival says Navjot S Sidhu as he arrives to vote at booth in Amritsar, with wife Navjot Kaur
#11:45am: Punjab has recorded an overall voter turnout of 14% till 11.30 am
#11:38am: Punjab wants govt that coordinates wth centre not one that hs issues with centre everyday, certainly not one that ruined Delhi-Harsimrat Kaur
#11:37am: Bikram Majithia objected Lali Majithia's vehicle entered into the polling station; Heated exchange of words between Bikram Majithia and congress candidate Lali Majithia at Majitha
#11:35am: After 30-yrs there was blast in Punjab, Kejriwal having dinner and breakfast with Babbar Khalsa, clear indication ISI sponsors Kejriwal-Harsimrat Kaur
#11:10:am: Amarinder Singh is dal-badlu.I hv 70-yrs experience, fought for Punjab&India,this is a small battle-CM Parkash Singh Badal
#10:55am: CM Parkash Singh Badal of SAD casts his vote at a polling booth in Lambi
#10:53am: We'll have a bigger win than last year, Amarinder Singh is only drama & AAP is on 3rd position: Sukhbir Singh Badal
#10:50am: Punjab has recorded an overall voter turnout of 12% till 10.30 am
#10:00am: People wait in queues as voting is yet to begin at booth no 35 in Majitha, due to error in EVM machine
#10:00am: Voter turnout in Punjab till 9am: 9 per cent
#9:55am: Aam Adami Party's senior leader Bhagwant Mann casts his vote in Mohali
#9:50 am: AAP's Gurpreet Ghuggi casts his vote at a polling station in Bathinda, says voting is our right and must be exercised
#9:35am: The environment is charged and very positive, we are confident of a win: Captain Amarinder Singh's wife, Preneet Kaur
#9:35am: Congress will Punjab; we will win this match and set big goals - Pargat Singh, Congress
#9:35am: There is a little competition from AAP, from Akalis none - Pargat Singh, Congress
#9:30am: Congress candidate Pargat Singh casts his vote at booth no. 66 in Jalandhar
#8:45 am: Polling at booth no.66 in Jalandhar delayed due to glitch in the EVM machine
#8:45 am: Polling at booth no.124-125 in Amritsar began 40 minutes late due to a glitch in the EVM machine
#8:40 am: First voter casts his vote at booth no.118 (govt school) in Lambi
#8:00am: Voting begins in Punjab for 117 assembly seats
#7:00am: Urging people of Punjab & Goa to turnout in record numbers & vote in Assembly elections.I particularly urge my young friends to vote-PM Modi
#Voting will begin at 8am in 117 constituencies in Punjab.
Important details about Punjab Elections
# Total Assembly Constituencies: 117 (SC- 34)
# Date of Polling: February 4 (Single Phase)
# Total Electorate: 1,98,79,069
# Number of Polling Stations: 22615
# Major Parties & Alliance
- SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal) + BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party)
- Indian Natioanl Congress
- Aam Aadmi Party + Lok Insaaf Party (LIP)
# 2012 Assembly Election Results:
- SAD: 56 Seats (34.7%)
- BJP: 12 Seats (7.2%)
- Congress: 46 Seats (40.1%)
- Others: 3 Seats (18%)
# 2014 Lok Sabha Election Result
- BJP: 2 Seats (8.77%)
- Congress: 3 Seats (33.19%)
- SAD: 4 Seats (26.37%)
Three-cornered contest in Punjab
Punjab is witnessing a three-cornered contest between ruling SAD-BJP alliance, Congress and AAP, which has claimed that it will repeat its Delhi success where it swept the election in 2015.
The AAP, which had won four Lok Sabha seats in 2014, has plunged into the contest in a big way with its chief Arvind Kejriwal criss-crossing large parts of the state.
The Badal family came under fierce attack from AAP over alleged corruption, drug menace and law and order while the SAD-BJP and Congress accused AAP of flirting with extremists and targeted Kejriwal for being an "outsider".
Kejriwal, in turn, accused Congress Chief Amarinder Singh and the Badals of being hand in glove.
Apart from the drug menace, the contentious SYL canal issue and sacrilege of holy books of Sikhs were among the major issues flagged by the electoral rivals.
The Assembly polls in Punjab are also seen as a test of Modi's popularity especially in the wake of demonetisation. BJP is, however, contesting only 23 seats in the state while its ally SAD has fielded candidates in 94 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.
Key contestants whose fate will be decided 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), AAP MP Bhagwant Mann (Jalalabad), Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia (Majitha) and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as Congress nominee (Amritsar East).
The other prominent candidates include 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 on Congress ticket (Bathinda Urban).
By-election to Amritsar Lok Amritsar is also taking place. The seat fell vacant following the resignation of Amarinder Singh to protest the apex court verdict on Punjab river waters. The voters strength in Amritsar Lok Sabha is over 14 lakh.
Prominent among those in the fray are 66-year-old BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina who is up against Congress' Gurjit Singh Aujla (44) and Aam Aadmi Party's Upkar Singh Sandhu (63).
Among the candidates for Assembly election are AAP's Himmat Singh Shergill and AAP's Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi (Batala), Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa (SAD, Lehragagga), Cabinet Minister Anil Joshi (BJP, Amritsar North), BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh (Amritsar Central), and Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu (Jalalabad).
Counting of votes will take place on March 11.
(With inputs from PTI)
SAD: Prakash Singh Badal/ Sukhbir Badal/Harsimrat Kaur Badal/ Bikram Singh Majithia/ Prem Singh Chandumajra/ Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa/ Rtd. General JJ Singh
BJP: Vijay Sampla/ Avinash Rai Khanna/ Tarun Chugh/ Kamal Sharma/
Congress: Amrinder Aingh/ Pratap Singh Bajva/ Rajinder Kaur Bhattal/ Parneet Kaur/ Ravnit Singh Bittu/ Vijai Inder Singhla/ Manish Tiwari/ Navjot Singh Sidhu
AAP: Bhagwant Mann/ Gurprit Guggi/ H S Phulka/ Himmat Singh Shergil