Sangrur LS bypoll: Nearly 30 pc polling till 3 pm
Chandigarh: Only 30 per cent polling was recorded till 3 pm in the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll in Punjab on Thursday.
In a tweet in the afternoon, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann demanded from the Election Commission (EC) that the voting time be extended till 7 pm, pointing out that in view of the current paddy-sowing season, many people are out and they too should be able to exercise their franchise.
As of 3 pm, the poll percentage in the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat was 29.07, according to the figures made available by the EC.
Voting began at 8 am for the parliamentary seat, where the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is facing its first test of popularity after its impressive performance in the Assembly polls earlier this year.
In the first hour, over four per cent polling was recorded and by 11 am, 12.75 per cent of the voters had exercised their franchise. The poll percentage by 1 pm stood at 22.21.
Most of the nine Assembly segments in the parliamentary seat witnessed sluggish polling till the afternoon.
The Sangrur Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after Mann resigned as an MP as he was elected to the state Assembly from Dhuri in the polls held earlier this year.
The chief minister had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.
Amid tight security, the polling is scheduled to continue till 6 pm. The votes will be counted on June 26.
There are 15,69,240 eligible voters -- 8,30,056 men, 7,39,140 women and 44 belonging to the third gender -- in the Sangrur parliamentary constituency. Sixteen candidates, including three women, are in the fray.
As many as 1,766 polling stations have been set up.
Prominent amongst those who cast their votes in the morning were Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Cheema and AAP candidate Gurmail Singh. Congress candidate Dalvir Singh Goldy and BJP nominee Kewal Singh Dhillon also exercised their franchise.
The bypoll is being held at a time when the ruling AAP is facing the opposition heat over the law-and-order scenario in the state and the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.
The Congress, BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidates are hoping to cause an upset, while the AAP is looking to repeat its performance in the Assembly polls, in which it had won all the nine Assembly seats under the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency.
Mann campaigned extensively and also took out a road-show with AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, urging the voters to ensure the victory of Gurmail Singh, the party's Sangrur district in-charge.
The chief minister had expressed confidence that "the revolutionary people of Sangrur will once again vote for a common man and the AAP's Gurmail Singh will win the bypoll with a thumping majority".
The Congress, the BJP and the SAD had hit out at the AAP government during the campaigning over the "deteriorating" law-and-order situation in the state and also raised the issue of Moosewala's killing.
Apart from law and order, the opposition parties slammed the AAP government over "unfulfilled promises".
The main opposition Congress has fielded former Dhuri MLA Dalvir Singh Goldy, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon, who joined the saffron party on June 4, in the bypoll.
Kamaldeep Kaur, the sister of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh's assassination case, has been fielded by the SAD.
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann is also in the fray.
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