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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014
Interactive campaigns boost polling in Doaba
Jasdeep Singh Malhotra, Hindustan Times
Jalandhar, January 31, 2012
First Published: 15:46 IST(31/1/2012)
Last Updated: 16:09 IST(31/1/2012)

The Dalit-dominated Doaba region recorded a high polling percentage of 77%, thanks to enthusiasm among young voters and increased visibility of candidates during campaigning.

Ironically, Doaba, regarded as a Congress bastion since Independence, had witnessed 73% polling in the 2007 assembly polls to ensure the defeat of Congress candidates on 21 of the 25 seats. The SAD-BJP candidates had won 20 seats, while an Independent had also emerged victorious.

Maintaining the tradition of high turnout, Doaba residents made it clear that they had voted 'decisively'.

The subdued campaigning, thanks to the strict monitoring of poll expenditure by the Election Commission of India, forced candidates to meet voters in person through door-to-door campaigns.

In a rare occurrence in Punjab's poll history, candidates started conducting door-to-door campaigning immediately after the announcement of polls. To cut down on expenses, the practice of holding big rallies was curbed to a large extent. But, this actually helped candidates to establish a direct contact with voters, who enthusiastically came out to vote.

The presence of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and People's Party of Punjab (PPP) candidates in certain constituencies was also being viewed as a reason for the high turnout, especially since these nominees, especially of the BSP, tried to fan anti-Congress and anti-ruling combine sentiments.

The PPP candidates from Shahkot and Jalandhar Cantonment - Dr Navjot Dhayia and Rajinder Singh Johal respectively - and the BSP's Adampur candidate Sukhwinder Singh Kotli are tipped to get a good response from the voters.

During a visit by the HT team to Adampur and Kartarpur segments, first-time voters were spotted waiting in long queues to cast their votes. The political experts believed that the People's party of Punjab president Manpreet Badal's anti-corruption and pro-people campaign has appealed a sizeable section of youngsters in the region in his favour.


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