CHANDIGARH: Polling to 122 municipal councils and nagar panchayats today passed off peacefully in which the state election commission said it estimates around 80 per cent voting.
As per initial reports, the voting is estimated at about 80 per cent despite rains lashing in the morning in various parts of the state, a Punjab State Election Commission official said.
"The polling is expected to be 80 per cent towards the end. However, polling remained by and large peaceful," Punjab SEC Secretary, M L Sharma said here today.
Till 4 PM, the polling percentage had crossed 73 per cent, he said.
However, in one ward of Samana, polling material including EVMs was taken away by unidentified miscreants while in one ward of Ferozepur, anomaly was found in the voter list.
"We have ordered repolling in both the wards of Samana (Ward number 7) and Ferozepur (Ward number 14) on March 8," Sharma said.
Maximum polling was witnessed in Bathinda, Moga, Mansa, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot.
On February 22, polling in six municipal corporations was recorded at 69 per cent.
Heavy security arrangements were made in the state to prevent any untoward incident during the polling.
Despite apprehension of violence by BJP, voting in Tarn Taran remained peaceful amid tight security arrangements as SAD and BJP contesting separately here.
Punjab and Haryana High Court had allowed videography by private persons in two wards of Tarn Taran following petition filed by the brother of Punjab Cabinet minister Anil Joshi.
Tempers had flared up between Akalis and BJP following the attack on the brother of Joshi allegedly by Akali workers in Tarn Taran earlier this month.
Nearly 28.5 lakh eligible voters have sealed the fate of 7,006 candidates who are in the fray.
Besides polling in 122 municipal councils and nagar panchayats, the by-elections for one ward of nagar panchayat Bariwala also took place.
A total of 1,486 polling stations and 3,170 polling booths were set up for the election in 2,062 wards of municipal councils and nagar panchayat.
Of the total of 7,006 candidates in the fray, 160 have been elected unopposed, which include 56 from Bathinda, 25 from Ferozepur and 13 from Mohali.
Polling started at 8 AM and went up till 5 PM. After polling was over, the counting of votes will start, said Sharma.
Over 15,000 police personnel were deployed to maintain law and order situation during the polls.
As many as 163 polling booths were declared hyper sensitive, while 940 were in sensitive category.
The civic polls are being seen as an acid test for the SAD-BJP regime in the state which is in the saddle for more than seven years.
The results of these polls will also indicate the acceptability or rejection of the Akalis-BJP coalition in the state even as both parties have tried hard in seeking votes on the development work carried out in rural and urban areas.
Congress, which has even not fielded candidates on all the seats in these polls, would like to consolidate its position at the ground level, amid infighting and tussle over state leadership issue.
Independents, among them some of are rebels of SAD, BJP and Congress parties, are also expected to give tough fight to the candidates of these political parties. Aam Aadmi Party, which has swept Delhi Assembly polls, is not contesting civic polls.
Despite deciding to contest jointly, SAD and BJP have fielded their own candidates in Tarn Taran, Sanaur, Khemkaran and Batala. However, at remaining places, both parties are contesting jointly.
The civic polls even saw some unease in the relations between SAD and BJP following the attack on the brother of Punjab Cabinet minister Anil Joshi allegedly by Akali workers in Tarn Taran this month.