The Sangrur bypoll recorded a 37 per cent voter turnout on Thursday. It was a cause of concern for the Punjab CM, who also requested the Election Commission to extend the polling time.
With just 37 per cent of voters showing up at the polling booths, the high-stake by-election of the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in Punjab saw a low voter turnout on Thursday.
A lower turnout was a major cause of concern for the ruling AAP government as it seemed to be a five-cornered contest with strong contenders in the fray like Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann, Congress’s former Dhuri MLA, Dalvir Singh Goldy, former Barnala BJP MLA Kewal Singh Dhillon while Shiromani Akali Dal also fielded Kamaldeep Kaur.
There are 15,69,240 eligible voters – 8,30,056 men, 7,39,140 women and 44 belonging to the third gender in the Sangrur parliamentary constituency. 16 candidates, including three women, were in the fray. As many as 1,766 polling stations were set up.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Sangrur recorded a poll percentage of 72.44.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted and demanded the Election Commission to extend the voting time till 7 pm, citing that many people were still working in fields due to the paddy-sowing season.
ਭਾਰਤ ਦੇ ਚੋਣ ਕਮਿਸ਼ਨ ਤੋਂ ਮੰਗ ਕਰਦੇ ਹਾਂ ਕਿ ਸਮਾਂ ਝੋਨੇ ਦੇ ਸੀਜਨ ਦਾ ਹੈ ..ਬਹੁਤ ਲੋਕ ਦਿਹਾੜੀ ਜਾਂ ਹੋਰ ਕੰਮ ਤੇ ਗਏ ਹੋਏ ਨੇ …ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰਕੇ ਵੋਟਾਂ ਪਾਉਣ ਦਾ ਸਮਾਂ 6 ਵਜੇ ਤੋਂ ਵਧਾ ਕੇ 7 ਵਜੇ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਵੇ ਤਾਂ ਕਿ ਓਹ ਵੀ ਬਾਬਾ ਭੀਮ ਰਾਓ ਅੰਬੇਦਕਰ ਦੁਆਰਾ ਰਚਿਤ ਸਵਿੰਧਾਨ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਆਪਣੇ ਵੋਟ ਦੇ ਅਧਿਕਾਰ ਦਾ ਇਸਤੇਮਾਲ ਕਰ ਸਕਣ…
— Bhagwant Mann (@BhagwantMann) June 23, 2022
The Sangrur deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer and the state chief secretary also sought an extension of polling time from the election panel.
The poll panel pulled up the officials over the request, asking them to explain why they sought an extension of polling time towards closing hours, saying it amounted to an “attempt of unduly interfering in the election process and influence certain class of voters”.
HIGH STAKES FOR AAP GOVT
The Aam Adami Party (AAP) has high stakes in the Sangrur bypolls as it is the first election after the party’s impressive performance in the Punjab Assembly polls.
The bypolls are being held at a time when AAP is facing the opposition heat over the law and order scenario in the state and the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.