The polling for the three Assembly seats of Punjab - Jalalabad, Kahnuwan and Banur commenced in on Monday where the fate of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal among others will be sealed by the voters by this evening.
The stakes are high for the SAD in these by-polls with its President Sukhbir contesting from Jalalabad seat in Ferozepur district. He had to resign from the post of Deputy Chief Minister last month as he failed to enter the state assembly within the stipulated six months after his nomination to the post.
A total of 21 candidates are contesting the by-polls with the main contest between ruling SAD and opposition Congress on all the three seats. The SAD has fielded its candidates on all the seats but it is litmus test for the SAD-BJP alliance with the Akalis hoping that sulking BJP leaders will bring around their workers to back the SAD candidates.
As many as 15 companies of Para Military Forces have been deployed by the Election Commission in the three Assembly constituencies for the smooth conduct of the by-polls.
While Banur had 92 hypersensitive booths, Jalalabad and Kahnuwan had 161 and 36 such booths respectively.
The by-polls for these constituencies were necessitated after Kahnuwan MLA Partap Singh Bajwa (Cong) and Jalalabad MLA Sher Singh Ghubaiya (SAD) were elected to the Lok Sabha, while Banur representative and cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh was killed in a road mishap.
While the main contest from Jalalabad is between Sukhbir and Congress candidate Hans Raj Joshan, the prestige is at stake at Banur where Kanwaljit's son Jasjit Singh Bunny is locked in a straight contest against Deepinder Singh Dhillon.
At Kahnuwan Partap Singh Bajwa's brother Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa is locked in a battle of nerves against Akali stalwart Sewa Singh Sekhwan.