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Round 7: Moderate to high turnout on 89 seats
At 70.39%, Punjab second best after Bengal amid skirmishes
Ruchika M Khanna and Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Punjab recorded 70.39% polling as the state went to the polls for the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies amidst sporadic incidents of violence. The state had recorded 70% polling in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.

Sangrur witnessed the highest poll percentage at 74.04%, followed by Bathinda (72%). In highly sensitive constituencies of Amritsar (where Congress candidate Capt Amarinder Singh is pitted against BJPís Arun Jaitley) and Bathinda (where SADís Harsimrat Kaur Badal is contesting against her estranged brother-in-law Manpreet Badal), the poll percentage was initially quite low, but it picked up sharply in the evening. Amritsar recorded 70% polling and Bathinda 72%.

Polling started at 7 am and people, especially in the Sangrur and Patiala constituencies, came out in large numbers. A number of people were seen queuing up even before the parties had set up their booths outside polling stations.

By 11 am, 25-27 per cent polling had taken place across Punjab, with 33 per cent polling being recorded in Sangrur. By 1 pm, the percentage had risen to 40%, with Patiala taking the lead (46%), followed by Ludhiana and Sangrur (45% each). By 5 pm, over 61 per cent polling had been recorded in Punjab. Amritsar which saw a low turnout all through the day saw brisk polling in the evening. By 5 pm, 60 per cent polling was reported there. Gurdaspur, which witnessed moderate polling initially, recorded 69.73 per cent polling. The lowest turnout was recorded in Hoshiarpur (65%), followed by Jalandhar and Khadoor Sahib (68% each). Punjabís chief electoral officer VK Singh said polling was by and large peaceful. ďAs compared to 44 cases of violence where FIRs were registered in the 2012 Punjab Assembly elections, there have been very few incidents this time.

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