Chandigarh: Punjab has recorded 78.6 per cent polling, which turned out to be below expectations of the Election Commission which had targeted 85 per cent voting.
During 2012 assembly polls, Punjab had witnessed 78.57 per cent polling.
However, an official of the state election office said the constituency wise poll data was still being tabulated.
Out of total electors of over 1.98 crore, about 1.54 crore exercised their franchise on Saturday. The percentage of male and female voters were 78.5 and 79.2, respectively. The third gender voting percentage was 22 per cent, as per information given by state election office. During last assembly polls, the percentage of female polling was 79.10 per cent and male voting was 78.09 per cent. District wise, maximum polling was witnessed on Saturday in Mansa at about 87 per cent while lowest was in Mohali at about 72 per cent. On an average, Malwa area polled over 80 per cent while Majha and Doaba regions polled about 75 per cent each.
Malwa region comprises 69 seats and has a major role to play in deciding the formation of the government while Majha area has 25 seats and Doaba has 23 seats. Malwa region registered a heavy turnout from where the new entrant AAP is hoping to gain majority of seats in the 117 assembly constituencies. Malwa region mainly comprises Ludhiana, Muktsar, Ferozepur, Bathinda while Majha area comprises Amritsar, Pathankot, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur. Doaba region has Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr. All the major political parties in the fray– SAD-BJP, Congress and AAP were claiming to romp home victorious.
The elections are litmus test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation scheme even as SAD-BJP was facing strong 10-year long anti-incumbency. Poll is also seen as AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s reach beyond Delhi and revival of Congress under Rahul Gandhi who intensively campaigned in the state.
Punjab has witnessed a three-cornered contest between ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, opposition Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party for the first time in its history.
Key contestants whose fate has been sealed included Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal (Lambi), his son Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal (Jalalabad) and Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh (Patiala and Lambi seats).
The other prominent candidates in the polls included Congress veteran and former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal (Lehragaga), Indian Youth Congress chief Raja Amarinder Singh Warring (Gidderbaha), Badal’s estranged nephew Manpreet Singh Badal on Congress ticket (Bathinda Urban) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann, who is crossing swords with Sukhbir in Jalalabad. Navjot Singh Sidhu, the voluble cricketer-turned- politician, who quit BJP to join Congress just ahead of the polls, is trying his luck from Amritsar East seat, part of his former Parliamentary constituency Amritsar.
The total number of candidates in the fray were 1,145, including 81 female and one transgender.
Counting of votes will take place on March 11.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) fielded candidates in 94 seats while its ally BJP nominated candidates in the remaining 23 seats. Congress contested alone on all seats.
AAP, which is contesting Punjab polls for the first time, fielded candidates in 112 seats, while its ally Lok Insaaf Party, led by Ludhiana-based Bains brothers, fielded nominees in five 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.
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