CHANDIGARH, Feb 4:
Brisk polling was going on as around 35 per cent of the total 1.98 crore electors exercised their franchise till 1 PM in the high-stakes Punjab Assembly elections, wherein 1,145 candidates are in the fray.
“35 per cent polling has taken place till 1 PM,” an election office spokesman said here.
“Polling is going peacefully,” Additional Director General of Police (ADGP-elections) V K Bhawra said.
Meanwhile, a technical snag was reported in voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines in Majitha and Sangrur, the spokesman said, adding that the matter had been referred to the Election Commission .
The voting started around 45 minutes late at two polling booths in Jalandhar and Amritsar due to technical glitches in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia was unable to cast his vote in the morning due to the technical snag in EVM at polling station number 35, Ward number 5 in Majitha constituency in Amritsar district.
Among those who had cast their vote so far included Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Congress vetran Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.
Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh and his wife Preneet Kaur had also cast their votes.
“Seeking my mother’s blessings before casting my vote. Let this be a new dawn for Punjab!,” Amarinder tweeted.
Former Army chief General J J Singh (retd) of SAD, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Pargat Singh of Congress, Sucha Singh Chhotepur of Apna Punjab Party (APP), and Bhagwant Mann, Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi and Sukhpal Singh Khaira of AAP also cast their votes.
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh along with his mother Avtar Kaur also exercised their franchise.
The polling for 117 Punjab assembly seats is being held in a single phase amid tight security.
Punjab is witnessing a three-cornered contest between ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, opposition Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has fielded candidates in 94 seats while its ally BJP has nominated candidates in the remaining 23 seats. Congress is contesting alone on all seats.
AAP, which is contesting the state polls for the first time, has fielded candidates in 112 seats while its ally Lok Insaf Party, led by Ludhiana-based Bains brothers, has fielded nominees in five seats.
Other political outfits in the fray include BSP, former AAP leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur-led Apna Punjab Party, the Left comprising CPI and CPI-M, and SAD-Amritsar.
Over 200 companies of paramilitary forces have been deputed for the fair conduct of polls.
Voting for Amritsar Lok Sabha seat by-poll is also being held amid tight security arrangements.
The total number of electors in the state is 1,98,79,069, including 93,75,546 females. There are 415 transgender voters.
The total number of candidates in the fray include 81 women and a transgender. The polling commenced at 22,615 polling stations in the entire state.
While 84 Assembly seats are of general category, 34 are reserved. (AGENCIES)