M A I N   N E W S

Fate of 1,078 candidates to be sealed; counting on March 6
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
As many as 1,76,83,562 voters will seal the fate of 1,078 candidates, including two chief ministerial aspirants - Parkash Singh Badal of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance and Capt Amarinder Singh of the Congress - in the fray as Punjab goes to the polls amid tight security tomorrow.

About 70,912 security personnel of 237 companies of Central paramilitary forces and 55,804 Punjab Police personnel spread over 19,841 polling stations would man 117 Assembly constituencies.

The counting of votes will take place on March 6.

Five segments including Lambi, Patiala (City), Gidderbaha, Lehra and Bholath have been identified as hyper-sensitive and 32 as sensitive.

The inflow of visitors from other states bordering Punjab like Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir will be under surveillance tomorrow. As many as 374 police barriers will be set up across the state.

Besides the security personnel, the Election Commission will keep an eye on polling stations with the help of 2,627 video and 554 digital cameras in 2,718 polling stations that have been identified as hyper-sensitive. As many as 203 polling stations would witness webcasting for the first time.

The ruling SAD-BJP combine, the Indian National Congress and BSP are contesting all 117 seats, PPP is contesting 92, SAD (Amritsar) is pitted on 57 seats. Out of 1,078 candidates in fray, including 417 Independents, 93 are women. During the last elections, 1,055 candidates were in the fray.

The SAD has put up candidates on 94 seats, which include 10 women, while its alliance partner the BJP is contesting the remaining 23 seats, which includes three women contestants. The Congress has fielded 11 women while the BSP has fielded six women.

The elections will be held under the watchful eyes of 55 general observers, 27 police observers, 43 expenditure observers and 7,638 micro-observers.

As many as 2,591 hamlets have been identified as vulnerable hamlets, and 1,30,624 voters as vulnerable voters in the state. All the polling stations would be manned by 1.3 lakh polling staff including 86,382 men and 48,909 women.

In only one Assembly segment - Bholath - out of the total 117, the number of female voters (59,321) is more than that of males (59,020).

Sardulgarh is the largest constituency area-wise to go to polls and Gill Assembly segment of Ludhiana is has the highest number of voters 1,94,331. The minimum voters are in Amloh Assembly segment of Fatehgarh Sahib district 1,13,952. Ludhiana East, Jalalabad, Patiala Rural have the maximum number of 16 candidates each while the lowest number of candidates in fray are at Attari (SC) — just four.

There are 82,255 service voters, with Dina Nagar Assembly segment of Gurdaspur having a maximum of 3,155 service voters and Atam Nagar in Ludhiana with minimum 16 voters.

Polling will start at 8 am and will go on till 5 pm in all polling stations. “Anybody reaching by 5 pm will be allowed to exercise his right,” said Chief Election Officer, Punjab, Kusumjit Sidhu.





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