High voter turnout in 48 polling stations as re-polling ends
High voter turnout in 48 polling stations as re-polling ends
Voting at 30 % till 11.15 am | Hindustan Times
Repolling in 48 stations in Punjab is going smoothly with nearly 30 per cent electorate turnout. Kaurewala village in Sardulgarh constituency saw 33 per cent voting, Majitha saw 43 percent polling and Muktsar reported 47.29 voting, a report published in the Hindustan Times said.
Punjab govt announced holiday in five districts going repolling
The Punjab government has announced a holiday in the five districts which are undergoing repolling on Thursday. A 'paid holiday' in factories, shops and commercial establishments situated in the area of Amritsar parliamentary constituency and the assembly constituencies has also been declared.
Three held for 'distributing liquor, bribing voters' ahead of Majitha repoll
In case you missed, on Wednesday, three people were arrested for allegedly trying to lure voters through liquor and bribing in Majitha assembly constituency. The police named Balwinder Singh with cartons of liquor by an Election Commission observer while Mohan Singh alias Mohni and Om Prakash Gabbar were caught by the people while allegedly bribing voters. Balwinder was Senior Vice President of the Majitha Congress. Mohni was Vice President of while Gabbar was a district level senior party leader (also remained deputy mayor).
Majitha is among the five assembly constituencies where repoll at few polling stations was announced on 7 February. Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) demanded immediate disqualification of Congress Majitha candidate Sukhjinder Singh Lalli Majithia over the issue.
Repolling begins in 48 stations on 9 February
Repolling in at 48 polling stations of Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency and the five assembly segments, including a seat from which SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia is contesting began on Thursday, while the Aam Aadmi Party called for tighter security to prevent any untoward accidents in the constituencies.
It was ordered on 7 February in the wake of the malfunctioning of Voter-Verified Audit Paper Trail (VVPAT) and Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in these stations during the polling.
The repolling was ordered at 12 polling stations of Majitha Assembly seat, nine each of Muktsar and Sangrur, one each of Moga and Sardulgarh and 16 polling stations of Amritsar Parliamentary constituency.
Amarinder Singh confident of Congress' clean sweep
Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Saturday termed the Assembly polls as a "vote for stability versus communalism and radicalism" and exuded confidence of a clean sweep in the state, including the Malwa region, which poll pundits had been terming as an AAP stronghold.
The chief ministerial candidate of Congress who exercised his franchise at Government College for Women in Patiala, promised to usher in the "much-needed new dawn (navan savera)" in the state.
Terming the elections as a vote for peace, communal harmony and stability, he claimed, "The people have voted for stability versus communal and radical politics." The people of Punjab want the experience and expertise of Congress to get the state back on the rails of progress and development, Amarinder claimed.
He dismissed any threat from either SAD, which had "ripped apart the state's social, religious and economic fabric" in the last 10 years, or AAP, whose "popularity graph has declined drastically" in the last two to three years with the "exposure of their misdeeds and failures".
Previous performances by major parties in the state
Won by whisker: Punjab witnessed heavyweights scrapping through in their seats in 2012 polls
In the 2012 polls, 12 out of the 34 SC reserved constituencies saw narrow margins of victories. In fact, the narrowest of the victories was witnessed in the reserved constituency of Phillaur, where Avinash Chander of the SAD won by a mere 31 votes!
Apart from these reserved constituencies, 21 other constituencies witnessed a close electoral battle. They were won by less than 4,000 votes which makes for less than three percent of the total votes polled.
Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, a member of the Khairon political family and a minister in the SAD-BJP government, won his Patti seat by a whisker of a margin of 59 votes.
And Kairon was not the only minister who had to face a narrow victory. Janmeja Singh, the PWD minister in the outgoing cabinet won the Maur seat by 1,387 votes, while BJP's Surjit Kumar Jyani, who is the present health minister, defeated Independent candidate Jaswinder Singh aka "Rocky" by a margin of 1,692 votes.Janmeja Singh, the PWD minister in the outgoing cabinet won the Maur seat by 1,387 votes, while BJP's Surjit Kumar Jyani, who is the present health minister, defeated Independent candidate Jaswinder Singh aka "Rocky" by a margin of 1,692 votes.
"Rocky", a local don from Fazlika, was later killed by unidentified gunmen in May 2016.
Manoranjan Kalia, the industry minister between 2007 and 2012, who had also served as the Punjab BJP chief, too met with a similar fate. Kalia won his Jalandhar Central constituency by just 1,065 votes.
To read more, click here.
SAD's Majitha candidate Bikram Majithia and Congress' Lalli Majithia involved in war of words
Majitha: Punjab minister and Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Bikram Singh Majithia and Congress nominee Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majithia today had heated exchange of words after the former raised objection over allegedly bringing vehicles inside the polling station.
The state Revenue Minister apparently asked the Congress candidate to take his vehicles out of the polling booth. "Do not break the rules," a visibly charged Majithia told his opponent.
"Take the vehicles out. Nobody will break the law here. You (Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli) are a candidate. You do not know the rules. How could you do that (bring the vehicles inside)? How could you influence (voters)? Take these vehicles out," he asked Lalli.
The Congress candidate retorted, "Do not try to vitiate the atmosphere." He then asked his driver to take the vehicles out.
An agitated Lalli also took a jibe at the Akali candidate. "Do not cry when you are losing (elections)," he said.
Majithia hit back by saying, "You will come to know now who is losing."
Bikram Majithia, brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, is seeking re-election for the third time from Majitha seat on development plank.
The new entrant AAP has nominated Himmat Singh Shergill from the seat. The high-stakes Punjab Assembly elections to 117 seats
began on Saturday.
Interest in employment has fallen in employment over the last five years
A comparison of search data collected from Google Trends between three topics — employment, drugs and the Sutlej Yamuna Link — shows that the interest level of people in Punjab (from 2012 till now) was higher in employment in 2012. But interest in employment has gradually fallen during the SAD-BJP regime over the last five years. As this graph shows, search for the terms drug and employment are at almost the same level. The Sutlej Yamuna Link canal was not much of interest in 2012, and it still isn't. However, search data shows that there is an increase in interest in Sutlej Yamuna Link if compared to the last election.
For more on how search interest varied in Punjab, click here.
Sidhu with his family at polling booth in Amritsar
Congress candidate Navjot Singh Sidhu, along with his wife Navjot Kaur and his son, after casting their votes at a polling station in Amritsar on Saturday.
People showing their voter ID cards in a village near Amritsar
Issues likely to dominate in Punjab poll
Besides state assembly, Amritsar to also vote for Lok Sabha seat
The Amritsar Lok Sabha seat fell vacant following the resignation of Amarinder Singh to protest the apex court verdict on Punjab's river waters. The voter strength in this seat is over 14 lakhs.
Prominent among the candidates in fray for the Lok Sabha seat are BJP leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, who is up against Congress' Gurjit Singh Aujla and Aam Aadmi Party's Upkar Singh Sandhu.
For the Amritsar Lok Sabha by-poll, 35 per cent polling has taken place so far, an election office spokesman said.
Despite low voter turnout, some voters brave all odds
In Amritsar, 85-year-old Mukhtar Singh is being helped by his relatives to reach to a polling station to cast his vote in a village, about 25 km from Amritsar, on Saturday.
Ailing women offer lesson on voting, arrives poll booth in ambulance
Two ailing women voters, Raj Rani (78) and Bimla Devi (80), came in an ambulance to exercise their right of vote in Phagwara. While one was taken on a stretcher, the other was taken on wheelchair to Booth No 158 near old Dana mandi in Phagwara.
Talking to reporters later, the women said they had arranged for ambulances themselves. They urged the Election Commission to make separate and priority arrangements for the ailing voters.
In Fazilka, state police personnel gave roses to first ten voters.
Expelled Congress leader Manjit Singh Mann booked for campaigning post-deadline
In Moga, the police booked Independent candidate Manjit Singh Mann under the provisions of the Representation of the People's Act and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), for allegedly campaigning even after the deadline for the same had ended, Moga's Returning Officer told PTI.
Mann was expelled from Congress last month.
'People are fed up of gundagardi, I will win by heavy margin,' says AAP's Bhagwant Mann
AAP leader Bhagwant Mann said he expected to win by a "heavy" margin the Jalalabad seat where he is pitted against Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Congress's Ravneet Bittu.
"I will win by a heavy margin... by more than 50,000 votes," he claimed after casting his vote, adding, "People are fed up of the gundagardi and mafia raj and they will wipe them out completely."
Mann also said polling was delayed by 45 minutes due to a technical snag in Mohali, where he cast his vote.
"I was assured by poll officials that polling time will be extended," he said.
AAP is promoting terror in Punjab, says SAD's Sukhbir Singh Badal
"Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is promoting terror in Punjab," Sukhbir Singh Badal said once again just now. Sukhbir, however, is not the only one. Former top cop KPS Gill has already expressed apprehension that the involvement of some NRIs in the election might prove to be an encouragement to radical elements among Sikhs in the state.
Shunned by the Congress and the Akalis to a large extent, they now have found a new platform in Arvind Kejriwal's party, he said.
Win or loss, Kejriwal has to be careful. He is capitalising on the huge public grievance against the Badals. This is the same grievance radical elements use for their own designs.
Will followers back Dera chief?
Is the control of Dera chiefs over their followers total? To put it another way, when a Dera chief, such as Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim of Dera Sacha Sauda, asks his followers to vote for a particular party, do they necessarily take it as a command? In elections in the last couple of years, parties in northern India have gone all out to woo Dera heads. The BJP's stunning Lok Sabha victory in 2014, followed by a win in Haryana, were both believed to have come about because of support from such denominations. Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim has extended his support to the Akali-BJP combine this time. Results will prove whether his followers keep politics and faith apart.
Low voter turnout could help ruling SAD-BJP alliance
Only 23 percent polling recorded in the first four hours, low voter turnout should have the ruling combine in Punjab interested. As pre-poll surveys would tell us the voters are sore with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) rule and the results would be a toss-up between the Indian National Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party. The latter is likely to score heavily in the Malwa region, which accounts for around 70 seats, while the Congress has an advantage in Doaba and Majha regions. If the pattern of lower voting continues then chances are that the Akalis are not doing too badly. They have a loyal core voter base in rural areas which would turn up for voting no matter what.
Punjab registers 23% voting in first 4 hours
Chandigarh: Over 23 per cent of Punjab's 1.98 crore voters on Saturday cast their votes in the first four hours in the polls for the 117 assembly seats, election officials said here.
Long queues were seen outside many of the 22,614 polling stations across the state between 8 a.m. and 12 noon. The Fatehgarh Sahib district led in the voting percentage with over 36 per cent votes being polled till noon. This was followed by Fazilka (35 per cent), Moga (30), Muktsar (28) and Mansa (27).
Rahul Gandhi's terrorism speech in Lambi belies his 'secular' claims
For a leader who never fails to describe the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hindutva philosophy as divisive, it is indeed shocking, and perturbing, that Rahul Gandhi should have given a communal twist to Punjab politics 48 hours before it began to vote. This he did by raising the spectre of terrorism returning to haunt Punjab should the Congress not be voted to power.
Worse, in a display of arrant irresponsibility that has hitherto been the hallmark of BJP MLAs and MPs from Uttar Pradesh, Rahul linked the bomb blast on 31 January in Maur constituency in Bathinda district to the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party as a contender for power in Punjab.
No evidence has yet surfaced to even speculate on the identity of those responsible for the blast. Was it the handiwork of a shadowy Khalistani militant group seeking to spread terror for subverting the democratic process? Or did the blast fall in that typical category called 'election violence'? Or was it a form of retribution, for whatever reasons, directed against the Congress candidate?
Such questions could have deterred a responsible politician from hurling wild charges or making sweeping statements. But not so Rahul, who declared on 2 February in Lambi, where Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal appears hard-pressed to notch up yet another electoral victory, “The blast in Badal appears hard-pressed to notch up yet another electoral victory, “The blast in Bathinda killed six people and many got injured. It is sad that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is helping the forces behind this blast. Such ideology will never do Punjab any good.”
— writes Ajaz Ashraf. To read the full story, click here
Captain Amarinder Singh casts his vote
Seeking my mother's blessings before casting my vote. Let this be a new dawn for Punjab!— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) February 4, 2017
Huge discounts on winter wear; no love for BJP
Huge banners and hoardings announcing heavy discounts on winter wear are a common sight in Ludhiana. In scale and magnitude,they even outdo campaigns being run by the three political parties, in the hosiery capital of India: Congress, SAD-BJP and Aam Aadmi Party.
14 percent polling in Punjab
By 11.30 am, Punjab had recorded overall 14 percent polling.
Loyalty to the royalty
Paramjit Singh is voting for the Congress in Patiala because his family is indebted to 'Maharaja Sahab' for helping them settle down after his ancestors came to Punjab after partition. "Janma da karza hai Maharaja Sahab da saade upar," he says. Loyalty to the royalty is the theme of the elections in Patiala, home turf of Congress leader and royal family scion Captain Amarinder Singh.
Faulty EVMs interrupt polling at two centres
Faulty EVMs have interrupted polling at two centres at Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district.
'Roadbandi' a critical issue in Amritsar
Assembly elections in Amritsar is not just about notebandi, although it's an issue that is making the BJP a bit anxious. For many, it is also about 'roadbandi', the Akali Dal government's decision to ban vehicles in areas around the Golden Temple.
SAD-BJP combine confident of retaining power
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal taunts Congress and Aam Aadmi Party. He also said Amarinder Singh is "drama".
Faulty EVMS interrupt voting in five seats
As per Election Commission, faulty EVMs have interrupted polling in five seats — Sultanpur Lodhi, Kharar, Nihal Singh Wala, Budhlada and Patiala Rural. Technical glitches have been an issue since morning.
Polling interrupted in four seats due to faulty EVM: Election Commission
According to Election Commission, at the moment voting in Kapurthala, Mansa, Moga and Bhatinda has been interrupted due to faulty EVM.
Chandigarh: Punjab is set to see its most crucial assembly election in decades on February 4, with its undercurrent of "silent" voters likely to turn the poll arena into an uncertain event which could swing anywhere.
For the first time, Punjab is witnessing three-cornered contests on all the 117 assembly seats.
The main contest is among the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance, Congress and the newest entrant in Punjab's political space - the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
That the AAP has become the main target for both the traditional parties, the Congress and Akali Dal-BJP combine, in the past one year speaks about the deep inroads that AAP has made among electors, particularly the youth and rural voters, in Punjab.
The Akali Dal, whose president and incumbent Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has been saying that the party will rule for 25 years, is facing anti-incumbency since it has been in power, along with the BJP, for a decade (2007-2012 and 2012-2017). The Akalis are contesting 94 seats while ally BJP is fighting it out on 23 seats.
A resurgent Congress, which is hoping for a pan-India revival if it is able to come back to power in Punjab, has fallen back on old warhorse, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, as its chief ministerial face, but he is the party's best bet in the given crop of its leaders in Punjab and circumstances.
The Akali Dal, BJP and Congress — the traditional parties on Punjab's political scene, are not only holding on to their existing political space but also fighting hard to ward off the challenge from AAP.
In recent weeks, the Akali-BJP combine and Congress have launched full-fledged attacks on AAP, and its leadership, with the "outsider" tag. They allege that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the AAP leader, wishes to be the Punjab Chief Minister.
While the Akali Dal-BJP combine is harping on Punjab's development, the Congress and AAP have been attacking the ruling alliance by highlighting major problems like drugs, massive corruption, unemployment, lack of infrastructure, police excesses among others.
Recent opinion polls and surveys have given the Congress party a clear edge in the assembly elections. The India-Today-Axis poll survey put the Congress in the lead with 60-65 seats, with the AAP coming second with 41-45 seats and the Akali Dal-BJP combine finishing a poor third with 11-15 seats.
The gains for the AAP are mainly being seen in the agriculturally-rich Malwa belt (south of river Sutlej) which alone accounts for 69 of the 117 assembly seats. This is the belt which has traditionally been an Akali Dal stronghold. The Congress had done well in the same belt in the 2012 elections.
The AAP, which emerged on Punjab's political scene for the first time only in the 2014 parliamentary polls, had started with a bang — getting 24 per cent of the vote share in its very first outing.
In the Majha (north of river Beas) and Doaba (land between Beas and Sutlej rivers), the fight between the main political parties is intense.
The big contests are in Lambi, between Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh; the three-way fight between Sukhbir Badal and sitting MPs Bhagwant Mann (AAP) and Ravneet Singh Bittu (Congress) in Jalalabad; Amarinder Singh versus former Army chief and ex-Governor J.J. Singh (SAD) in Patiala (Urban), and the fight between former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal (Congress) and Punjab's Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa (SAD) on the Lehra seat.
'Deras' (sects) like the Radhasoami (Beas) sect, Sacha Sauda sect, Sach Khand Ballan sect and others have an important influence on the elections in Punjab with each one of these having lakhs of followers. With Dera Sacha Sauda openly announcing support for the Akali Dal-BJP combine, the going could be tougher for the Congress and AAP in the Malwa belt.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and other top party leaders have, in recent weeks, visited the Radhasoami Beas dera and the Sach Khand Ballan dera to seek support.
The by-election for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant following Amarinder Singh's resignation over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue in November last year, is also taking place along with the assembly elections. But the din of the assembly polls has relegated the Lok Sabha poll, which saw a big fight between Amarinder Singh and BJP leader Arun Jaitley (now the Union Finance Minister) in the 2014 parliamentary polls, to a corner.
Over 1.98 crore voters will decide the fate of 1,145 candidates, including 81 women candidates and one transgender.
There are security concerns during the assembly elections in the state this time, particularly after a car bomb blast in Maur Mandi town in Bathinda district left six people, including three children, dead on Tuesday evening. Central forces and Punjab Police personnel have been deployed across Punjab.
Published Date: Feb 03, 2017 01:16 pm | Updated Date: Feb 09, 2017 07:07 pm
Punjab Assembly disrupted by debate over drug trafficking, graft, farm loan waiver issues
Gujarat polls: Rahul Gandhi accuses Narendra Modi of changing agenda of state election after getting 'exposed'
Punjab BJP releases list of over 100 candidates for municipal polls; election to be held on 17 December