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Gurdaspur bypoll: Over 55% electors cast their votes

Gurdaspur bypoll: Over 55% electors cast their votes”

The seat, which fell vacant following the death of actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna of the BJP in April, is witnessing a three-cornered race among Congress, BJP and AAP contestants.

Voters could be seen standing in the queues at various polling booths across the constituency.

Polling remained largely peaceful except a minor clash between Congress and Akali-BJP workers, he said.

Gurdaspur deputy commissioner-cum-district electoral officer Gurloveleen Singh Sidhu said that the administration was in the process of getting detailed reports following which they would tak action accordingly. Of the total electorate of 15,22,922 in the constituency, 7,12,077 are women and 14 belong to a third gender.

While the Congress has fielded its Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar, the BJP has put up businessman Swaran Salaria as its candidate. Voting started on a slow note and just 23.44 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 12 noon.

Happy Phara, former Akali Sarpanch of Phara village of Gurdaspur, was injured during a scuffle between the polling agents of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and Congress party, after voting began in the Gurdaspur by-election.

Senior SAD leader Dr. Daljit Cheema alleged that Congress workers attacked Akali Dal workers in Pahra village and no FIR has been registered yet.

Almost 15.22 lakh voters were eligible to vote to decide the fate of 11 candidates, including BJP's Swarn Salaria, Congress' Sunil Kumar Jakhar and Aam Aadmi Party's retired Major General Suresh Kumar Khajuria.

Tight security arrangements are in place.

Around 30 companies of paramilitary forces and more than 7,000 Punjab Police personnel have been deployed in the constituency. The results of the bypoll will be announced on October 15.

The bypoll will also be a litmus test for the SAD-BJP alliance. Gurdaspur is the first parliamentary constituency in the country where all polling stations will have Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines. The bypoll will gauge the popularity of the Amarinder Singh government which is battling allegations of reneging on its pre-assembly polls promise of farm debt waiver and free smartphones.

The Congress, fresh from its emphatic win in assembly elections, is set to give a close contest to the BJP, which is trying to retain the seat.

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, which won 20 seats in the Assembly elections, would also like to consolidate its presence in the area.



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