Punjab elections: 75% polling in state amid technical glitches, skirmishes at some places

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President Amarinder Singh casts his vote for the 2017 assembly elections surrounded by supporters in Patiala on February 4, 2017 / AFP PHOTO / -
By: PTI
Updated: 04 Feb 2017 08:36 PM
CHANDIGARH: Around 75 per cent of the 1.98 crore electors today exercised their franchise in the election to the 117 Assembly seats of Punjab which passed off peacefully, barring stray incidents of violence and technical glitches.

"Around 75 per cent polling has taken place," Chief Election Officer (CEO) V K Singh said, adding that the polling was still continuing at many places as people were inside the polling station and final figure was awaited.


Over 79 per cent electors had cast their votes in the 2012 Assembly polls.

Punjab saw a high-stake contest among Congress, new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the ruling SAD-BJP combine, with all the key stakeholders claiming a victory.

The maximum voting of 85 per cent took place in Mansa district and the lowest of 67 per cent in Amritsar.

"Barring a few incidents of violence, the polling in the single-phase election remained largely peaceful," Additional Director General of Police (ADGP- elections) V K Bhawra said.

There were two incidents of firing - at Lalu Ghuman village in Tarn Taran and Guru Har Sahai in Ferozepur, Singh said. Though officials here said that one person sustained bullet injuries at Tarn Taran, reports from the districts said that a total of around 15 persons were injured, most of them with minor wounds.

During the mock voting at Moga 50 votes were added at one of the polling stations. The votes could not be deleted, the CEO said, adding that the matter has been referred to the Election Commission.

Singh said polling was affected at 50 polling stations due to malfunctioning of VVPAT, he said, adding that these include 25 polling stations in Majitha and 10 each in Sangrur and Muktsar.

VVPATs were installed at 6,668 polling stations in 33 constituencies.

To a query on disruption in polling Majitha because of problem in VVPATs, Singh said, "When poll gets completed we will submit a report if there is any serious deficiency then the Election Commission can take a call."

Asked if any political party has demanded re-polling in Majitha, Singh said, "It depends upon total facts. Polling happed at 200 locations in Majitha. We have to ascertain what happened exactly...when polls gets completed then assessment will be made."

Asked to respond on AAP's demand for extending timing for polling where voting was disrupted, Singh said, "The time of polling is fixed by notification by the Election Commission. It is not a simple process which can be done easily...That is why whoever comes by 5 pm, one is allowed to poll."

Asked why the timing of polling in Goa was 7 till 5 pm, Singh said that in 2012 Assembly polls, the timing of polling was 8 am till 5 pm in Punjab. "We have to give time to poll staff for setting up polling station..In Punjab due to winter, this is tradition of 8 am till 5 pm."

He said that 242 EVMs were replaced due to malfunctioning at different places.

He said that 725 number of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, installed for the first time in the ongoing Punjab Assembly polls, developed snag during the polling process in the state.

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