Assembly polls: Punjab logs 70% voter turnout; over 60% in UP
Chandigarh/Lucknow, Feb. 20 (IANS/PTI): The overall voter turnout in Punjab on Sunday in a single-phase, multi-cornered contest for the 117-member Assembly seats was approximately 70 per cent, election officials said.
Sixty-three per cent of over 2.14 crore voters in Punjab turned out till 5 p.m. amid minor skirmishes and snags in EVMs.
“The voter turnout was 70 per cent with chances of the final figures likely to increase marginally. Rural areas saw high percentage of polling compared to urban ones,” an electoral officer told IANS here.
The Malwa region, which has the highest number of 69 seats, saw the highest poll percentage compared to Doaba and Majha regions.
Except some incidents of minor clashes, no major poll-related violence has been reported in the state so far.
Punjab is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with 1,304 candidates, including 93 women and two transgenders in the fray.
The counting of votes will take place on March 10.
The main contest is among the ruling Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is contesting the polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party after breaking two-decade old ties with the BJP in 2020 over the farm laws. The BJP-Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) alliance is also in the fray, besides the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, comprising Punjab farmer bodies that had taken part in the agitation against the Centre’s now repealed agricultural laws.
Congress leader Sunil Jakhar, who was among the early voters, cast his vote in Panjkosi village in Abohar constituency, while greenhorn Congress candidate Malvika Sood, who is the sister of actor Sonu Sood, cast her vote in Moga, while Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) CM candidate Bhagwant Mann exercised his franchise in Mohali.
Mann is contesting from the Dhuri Assembly seat.
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal asked voters to choose carefully.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the Congress had won an absolute majority by winning 77 seats in the 117-member Assembly, ousting the SAD-BJP government after 10 years.
The AAP had emerged as the second-largest party, winning 20 seats. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) won 15 seats, while the BJP, which had a coalition government with the Akali Dal in Punjab from 2007 to 2017, secured three seats.
The third phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh recorded 57.8 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm, as per the Election Commission (EC). Over 60 per cent voting was recorded till 5 pm on Sunday in 59 assembly constituencies in the third phase of the elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The updated approximate voting percentage, according to the Election Commission’s turnout app till 5 pm, was 60.63 per cent.
The percentage was 63.14 per cent in Hathras, 61.89 per cent in Firozabad, 63.04 per cent in Kasganj, 65.7 per cent in Etah, 61.51 per cent in Mainpuri, 59.13 per cent in Farrukhabad, 61.93 per cent in Kannauj and 58.35 per cent in Etawah.
It was 60.62 per cent in Auraiya, 59.87 per cent in Kanpur Dehat, 56.14 per cent in Kanpur Nagar, 59.93 per cent in Jalaun, 57.71 per cent in Jhansi, 69.05 per cent in Lalitpur, 60.56 per cent in Hamirpur and 64.56 per cent in Mahoba.
Though the election office here did not share final voting data till 6 pm, when polling had ended, the turnout app trend at 10 pm showed an updated polling percentage for 5 pm.
As many as 627 candidates are in the fray in the third of the seven phase elections to the 403-member state assembly. Over 2.15 crore people were eligible to vote in 16 districts in this phase.
Results of the 2022 polls will be announced on March 10.
In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the polling percentage in these districts was 62.21 per cent, the Election Commission said.
The BJP in 2017 had won 49 of the 59 seats and the Samajwadi Party (SP) had settled for nine. The Congress had got one seat while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) drew a blank.
Among the high-profile candidates this time are SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who contested from the Karhal assembly seat.
The BJP fielded Union Minister S P Singh Baghel against him.
Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav contested from his traditional Jaswantnagar seat.