More than five per cent polling was recorded till 9 am in the bypoll to the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat on Wednesday. The seat, which fell vacant following the death of Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary due to a cardiac arrest during his party's Bharat Jodo Yatra in January, is witnessing a four-cornered electoral battle.
The AAP, which is the ruling party in the state, the Congress, BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal are vying to outdo each other in the Dalit stronghold. Voting began at 8 am amid tight security arrangements and is set to continue till 6 pm officials said. According to the Election Commission's voter turnout app, 5.21 per cent polling was recorded till 9 am in the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency. Prominent among those who cast their ballot in the morning included AAP candidate Sushil Rinku, Congress MLA Pargat Singh and AAP MP Balbir Singh Seechewal.
There are 16,21,800 eligible voters, including 8,44,904 males, 7,76,855 females, and 41 third genders. Nineteen candidates, including four women, are in the fray. The AAP has fielded former MLA Sushil Rinku who quit the Congress to join the Punjab's ruling party while the Congress has shown its faith in Karamjit Kaur, the wife of Santokh Chaudhary.
The BJP has fielded Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, a Dalit Sikh, who quit the Shiromani Akali Dal to join the saffron party. Atwal is the son of former Punjab Vidhan Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal who had also joined the BJP. The SAD has fielded its two-time MLA from the Banga seat Sukhwinder Kumar Sukhi, a doctor. The SAD candidate is backed by its ally Bahujan Samaj Party. The Simranjit Singh Mann-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has fielded Gurjant Singh.
There are 1,972 polling stations in the constituency and 497 of them have been identified as critical. A dedicated women-only polling station has been set up in each of the nine assembly constituencies, which are part of the Jalandhar parliamentary seat, officials said. The counting of votes will take place on May 13.
The win is important for the AAP which had faced a drubbing in the Sangrur Lok Sabha bypoll, just three months after it came to power in Punjab in March 2022 with a thumping majority. The Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll is also being seen as a test of the performance of the Bhagwant Mann-led government which has been harping on providing free electricity, jobs to youth, regularising services of contractual employees, action against corruption and opening of mohalla clinics among others.
The Congress, meanwhile, is looking to defend its citadel with its prestige at stake. The Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat is considered to be a traditional stronghold of the Congress and the party has remained undefeated here since 1999. The stakes are also high for the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal which tasted humiliating defeats in the 2022 Punjab Assembly polls. The two parties were allies in Punjab till the SAD broke ties with the BJP in 2020 over the now-repealed farm laws.
(Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed; only the image & headline may have been reworked by www.republicworld.com)
Get all the latest Politics News, politics news, today's headlines, political news of India today, and more real-time, breaking India News, Entertainment News, Education News , Top Sports News, Live Cricket News, Technology News update, and state election election results at Republic World.