Assembly Polls: 17.77% Voting In Punjab, Over 21% in UP in First Four Hours
Voters queue up in Punjab. Image credit: The Indian Express
An average voter turnout of 17.77% 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 transgender persons, 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% has been recorded till 11 am.
Among many places, Amritsar recorded a voting percentage of 15.48 till 11 am, Barnala 20.15%, Bathinda 21.08%, Fatehgarh Sahib 20.12%, Fazilka 22.55%, Ferozepur 19.29%, Malerkotla 22.07% and Muktsar 23.34%.
Those who have voted so far include 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 were 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 farmers' organisations.
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 (PwD).
An average 21.18% voting was recorded in the first four hours of polling in 59 Assembly constituencies spread across 16 districts of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
Polling started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.
According to the data shared by the Election Commission, the average polling percentage till 11 am was 22.67% in Hathras, 24.32% in Firozabad, 22.54% in Kasganj, 24.30% in Etah, 24.46% in Mainpuri, 19.64% in Farrukhabad, 22% in Kannauj, 19.84% in Etawah, 18.53% in Auraiya, 19.86% in Kanpur Dehat, 16.79% in Kanpur Nagar, 21.66% in Jalaun, 19.11% in Jhansi, 25.80% in Lalitpur, 23.30% in Hamirpur and 23.50% in Mahoba.
As many as 627 candidates are in the fray in this phase, in which over 2.15 crore people are eligible to vote.
The districts where polling is being held are Hathras, Firozabad, Etah, Kasganj, Mainpuri, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Etawah, Auraiya, Kanpur Dehat, Kanpur Nagar, Jalaun, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Hamirpur and Mahoba.
The Karhal assembly seat, from where Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is contesting, is also going to the polls in this phase. The BJP has fielded Union minister S P Singh Baghel from the seat.
Sunday's polling will also seal the fate of the Samajwadi Party chief's uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who is contesting from his traditional Jaswantnagar seat.
Among the prominent political leaders who cast their votes on Sunday are Akhilesh Yadav, Dimple Yadav, Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ramgopal Yadav, Congress leader Salman Khurshid, UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh and UP minister Satish Mahana.
Meanwhile, Kanpur Mayor Pramila Pandey and former BJP office bearer Nawab Singh have landed in trouble as they revealed the parties they voted for.
FIRs are being registered against them.
Pandey took her mobile phone inside the polling booth at Hudson School, and clicked a selfie while exercising her right following which an FIR was being lodged against her, said a senior official.
The mayor has shared video that has gone viral on social media platforms.
District Magistrate Neha Sharma said the Kanpur Mayor has violated the rules of the Election Commission by revealing the name of the party she voted for.
Former city president of BJP's Yuva Morcha was also caught violating EC rules. Singh also took a mobile inside the booth and shot a video while casting vote.
The Election Commission has banned use of mobile phones inside polling stations.
In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, the polling percentage in these 16 districts was 62.21 per cent, the Election Commission said.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 49 of the 59 seats while the SP had settled for nine. The Congress had got one seat while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) drew a blank.
The 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases. The results are scheduled to be announced on March 10.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.