Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 19
The city saw around 70 per cent voter turnout for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat as the fate of Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal, BJP candidate Kirron Kher, AAP candidate Harmohan Dhawan and 33 other candidates was sealed in electronic voting machines (EVMs) today. However, the Election Department was yet to calculate the final voting percentage figures till late at night due to late polling in some booths.
The counting of votes will take place on May 23. Though the voting percentage failed to cross the figure of the last elections, polling in the constituency started with an overwhelming response. The highest polling percentage of 73.23 in the city was recorded in 2014.
At many places, voters reached the booths before the polling started in the morning. While the polling started smoothly in a majority of the booths, it got delayed at some booths due to technical reasons.
Three control units, nine ballot units and 15 VVPAT machines were replaced during the mock poll, while two control units, six ballot units and 13 VVPAT machines were replaced during the polling. Long queues were witnessed at polling booths in colonies and southern sectors, while polling remained slow in northern sectors.
A total of 6,46,084 voters were registered this time. Of them, 3,41,640 were male, 3,04,423 female and 21 others. There were 17,598 voters in the 18-19 age group.
Ajoy Kumar Sinha, Chief Electoral Officer, said the polling was peaceful as the administration had elaborated arrangements for the elections.
New and women voters were more enthusiastic to cast their votes. People, particularly young voters, started coming to the booths early as the voting process started at 7 am, thanks to incentives offered to early voters by the Administration. The voting percentage gained momentum slowly. At 9 am, the voting percentage was 10, which went up to 22 at 11 am, 37.5 at 1 pm and 51.58 at 3 pm. At 5 pm, the voting percentage was 63.
The department had set up 24 model booths where special arrangements were made for voters. However, voters complained of lack of facilities at other booths. There was no separate line for senior citizens at some booths. At one of the polling booths in Sector 27, the election staff refused to accept Aadhaar card and many voters were turned away on this ground. Keshav Garg, a resident, said there was only one EVM in Sector 27 to cater to hundreds of voters, which delayed the voting.
A woman standing in a queue at a booth in Dadu Majra fainted due to the heat. Rajinder Jain, a resident of the area, said there was no water at the booth due to which the woman fainted. Voters faced harassment as they were denied permission to carry mobile phones inside the booths. They were seen arguing with the staff at some booths that they were not informed about the rules earlier. Voters also complained of slow voting in many booths.
"There was no Bansal factor in the elections, there was only a Modi wave & I am confident that I will win the elections by a bigger margin than last time." —Kirron Kher, BJP
"The Congress is going to win from Chandigarh with a big margin for sure. There was no Modi factor and the elections were fought on local issues".—Pawan Kumar Bansal, Cong
"Voters in large numbers came out in support of the Aam Aadmi Party and cast their ballot. I am hopeful of winning the elections this time to serve the city".— Harmohan Dhawan, AAP
"The disturbing thing about this poll was jarring, abusive TV debates. I ran 80 races and before every event, we would wish the best to our contenders."— Milkha Singh, Flying Sikh
"This is a poll between two forces — one about progress, arts and humanity & the other regressive and reactionary. It’s not a poll between people but ideologies." — Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry
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