Voting for 117 seats of the Punjab Assembly will be held on Sunday with over 2.14 crore voters to decide the fate of 1,304 candidates, including 93 women.
The chief electoral officer (CEO) S Karuna Raju said 24689 polling stations and 51 auxiliary polling stations have been established at 14684 polling station locations.
Polling will be held from 8 a.m. till 6 p.m, the CEO said. The counting of votes will take place on 10 March.
In the multi-cornered contest, the ruling Congress is seeking to retain power with a promise of better governance under Charanjit Singh Channi and measures like reduction in power tariff and fuel prices, taken during the current Chief Minister’s 111-day tenure after the ouster of his predecessor Captain Amarinder Singh.
But the Congress is facing anti-incumbency for not fulfilling promises (made in 2017) like jobs for each household, end of drug menace, and sand mafia.
Congress is facing a serious challenge from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). With its “Delhi Model of governance,” the Arvind Kejriwal-led party is promising an end to corruption and improvement of public services.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is contesting the polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) after breaking ties with the BJP in 2020 over the farm laws issue, is fighting its first-ever election with party chief Sukhbir Singh Badal as CM candidate, is presenting itself as the only alternative to save Punjab.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led alliance is seeking a chance with the promise of unprecedented development with a ‘double-engine’ government (the promise full support of the Centre, once the saffron party-led government in the state).
While the Congress and the AAP are not having an alliance and are contesting all 117-seats, the SAD is contesting 97 seats, leaving the remaining 20 seats for the alliance partner BSP. The BJP is contesting election on 65 seats, leaving 37 seats for Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and 15 for SS Dhindsa’s Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).
The CM, Channi, is contesting from two reserved seats (scheduled caste) Bhadaur in Barnala district and from Chamkaur Sahib, which he has represented thrice in the Assembly, in Rupnagar.
Former chief ministers Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh are contesting from their traditional seats Lambi (in Muktsar) and Patiala Urban respectively.
While AAP’s CM face Bhagwant Mann is contesting from Dhuri seat in Sangrur, the SAD-BSP’s CM face Sukhbir Badal is contesting from the border constituency of Jalalabad in Fazilka district. Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu is in the fray from the Amritsar East constituency.