Punjab registered a 73 per cent polling, breaking all past records, as all 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state went to the polls on Wednesday. The voting was largely peaceful, barring a few incidents of violence.
The voter turnout was 73 per cent till the evening, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) V K Singh said. “No major violent incident was reported. The voter turnout is likely to touch 74 per cent,” he informed.
According to the CEO, high polling was witnessed in Sangrur, Patiala and Bathinda, while moderate voter turnout was recorded in Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur. The previous highest polling figure, 71.13 per cent, was recorded in the 1967 Lok Sabha elections. In the 2009 polls, voter turnout was 70.04 per cent in the state.
The CEO said over 400 EVMs were replaced after detecting faults with them. Over 300 EVMs that were replaced in the first hour of voting were quiet old.
Only four FIRs of minor skirmishes were registered this time, against 44 during the 2009 polls.
In one of the violent incidents, a few people entered the polling station 162 of Patiala Rural (Tripari) and threw the control unit of the EVM, causing partial damage to it. Two people were arrested and an FIR was registered against them. The polling, however, continued with new machine, Singh said and added that efforts would be made to retrieve data from the damaged machine. In another incident, 10 people were injured in a clash between Akali Dal and Congress workers at Sangatpura village in Moga district. At Devigarh village in Patiala Lok Sabha constituency, three AAP workers sustained injuries in a brawl between them and Akalis. The AAP candidate from Patiala, Dharamvir Gandhi, was allegedly attacked by some 25 unidentified youths owing allegiance to the SAD-BJP at Rassolpura Saidan village in Patiala, sources said.
In another instance, some Akali Dal workers allegedly broke the control unit of the EVM at Bajwa Colony in Patiala.Three persons were injured when supporters of SAD nominee Manpreet Singh and Independent candidate and sitting MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains clashed at Kot Mangal Singh locality in Ludhiana. Two vehicles were also vandalised during the clash, sources said. Minor clashes also took place between the Akali and Congress supporters at Amritsar and Khadoor Sahib.