PunjabPolls | Voter turnout of 77.37% recorded

Amid technical snags and sporadic incidents of violence, Punjab on Saturday registered 77.37% polling in the high-stakes assembly elections where the SAD-BJP, Congress and newbie AAP are locked in a fierce triangular contest. The turnout in the 2012 assembly polls was 78.5%.

“Barring stray incidents of violence, the polling in single-phase remained peaceful,” said additional director general of police (ADGP-elections) VK Bhawra.

“Barring stray incidents of violence, the polling in single-phase remained peaceful,” additional director general of police (ADGP- elections) VK Bhawra said. Two persons were injured in a clash which took place between AAP and Congress workers at Sultanpur village in Sangrur district.

In Tarn Taran district, a Congress worker identified as Jagjit Singh was injured when an Akali supporter allegedly opened fire at him outside a polling booth in Lalu Ghuman village. In Ferozepur’s Guru Har Sahai segment, unidentified miscreants fired gunshots in the air, triggering panic.

AAP candidate of Dera Baba Nanak segment was booked for allegedly using undue influence on the complaint of Congress nominee. As many as 187 voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, installed for the first time in the ongoing Punjab assembly polls, developed snags during the polling process in the state, leaving officials red-faced. As many as 538 VVPAT machines had developed glitches during the mock poll.

Punjab CEO VK Singh dubbed it as “logistic nightmare”. Most snags were reported in Majitha, Muktsar, Sangrur, Barnala and Bathinda constituencies. In Majitha, polling had to be called off a number of times due to the snag. “We will see the report of the returning officer and take a call on whether a repoll will be held or not,” VK Singh added.

A polling station in Moga is heading for a repoll as the polling staff by mistake included 50 mock poll votes in the actual voting. 195 electronic voting machines developed technical snag during the mock poll and 47 turned faulty during the polling.

After Maur twin blast on Monday five anti-terrorist units of CRPF were deployed at five places in the state. More than one lakh paramilitary personnel were deployed in the state for smooth conduct of polls.

The Election Commission (EC) said more than 80% voters exercised their franchise in districts such as Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot and Sangrur. Experts said this clearly indicated a fiercely fought three-cornered battle in Malwa.

But, this trend was missing in Doaba and Majha where voting percentage dipped, pointing towards a two-horse race between the Congress and Akalis.

Punjab and Goa will be followed by assembly elections in Uttarakhand, Manipur and the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, which will see seven-phase polls. The results of all states will be announced on March 11.