Punjab Assembly elections: 17.77 percent voting till 11 am
PTI | DC Correspondent
A total of 1,304 candidates, including 93 women and two transgenders, are in the fray for the high-stake electoral contest
Citizens undergo thermal screening as they wait to cast their votes a polling station during Punjab Assembly elections, in Jalandhar, Sunday, Feb 20, 2022. Polling is underway for all 117 seats in Punjab. (PTI)
Chandigarh: An average voter turnout of 17.77 per cent was recorded till 11 am in Punjab on Sunday.
Voting for 117 Assembly seats in the state started at 8 am and will continue till 6 pm.
Tight security arrangements have been made for the peaceful conduct of the polls.
A total of 1,304 candidates, including 93 women and two transgenders, are in the fray for the high-stake electoral contest.
Counting of votes will take place on March 10.
According to the Punjab chief electoral office, an average voter turnout of 17.77 per cent has been recorded till 11 am.
Among many places, Amritsar recorded a voting percentage of 15.48 till 11 am, Barnala 20.15 percent, Bathinda 21.08 per cent, Fatehgarh Sahib 20.12 percent, Fazilka 22.55 percent, Ferozepur 19.29 percent, Malerkotla 22.07 percent and Muktsar 23.34 percent.
Those who voted so far included former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Pargat Singh and Vijay Inder Singla, Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa and Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma.
AAP's chief ministerial face Bhagwant Mann exercised his franchise in Mohali.
Besides, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also cast their votes.
Sukhbir Badal himself drove a vehicle and brought the family to cast their votes in Muktsar.
Voters standing in the queues could be seen at the polling stations in the state. There were some youngsters who came to vote for the first time.
People were being given masks, gloves and their hands sanitised at the polling booths before casting their votes.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal appealed to voters to come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.
In the morning, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi paid obeisance at religious places at his home constituency Chamkaur Sahib.
A total of 2,14,99,804 people, including 1,02,00,996 women, are eligible to vote.
There are 24,740 polling stations, of which 2,013 have been identified as critical while 2,952 are vulnerable, said Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju.
Punjab is witnessing a multi-cornered contest among the Congress, AAP, SAD-BSP, BJP-PLC-SAD (Sanyukt) and the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM), a political front of various farmer bodies.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is contesting the polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The BJP is fighting the elections in alliance with Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led SAD (Sanyukt).
The SSM is contesting the polls with Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni-led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party.
Prominent faces in the fray include Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Aam Aadmi Party's chief ministerial face Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, former CMs Amarinder Singh and Parkash Singh Badal, and Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma and former Union minister Vijay Sampla are also in the contest.
A total of 700 companies of the central armed police force besides the state police personnel have been deployed.
There are 196 pink polling stations for women while 70 polling stations are being managed by persons with disabilities