The Congress and AAP on Sunday sounded confident a day after voting in Punjab, each claiming to have done enough to wrest the mandate from the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine which seemed resigned to defeat.
All contenders stare at a long wait ahead as the results will be announced more than a month from now, on March 11. Interestingly, hundreds of non-resident Indians who arrived in the state to campaign for AAP have decided to stay put till result day in order to ‘celebrate the victory’.
Kejriwal, who relaxed with a viewing of Bollywood film Raees along with his deputy Manish Sisodia, said AAP would win. “These elections were fought by the people for the people. They spent money, campaigned door to door,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook page. “It was an election of hopes. People have high hopes, and we will together fulfil those hopes.”
Congress leader and former India hockey captain Pargat Singh said the AAP would make marginal inroads but the ruling alliance would be wiped out, clearing the way for an emphatic Congress victory. “The environment is charged and very positive, we are confident of a win,” said Preneet Kaur, former MP and wife of the Congress’s chief ministerial candidate, Capt Amarinder Singh.
An advisory by the Dera Sacha Sauda to its followers to vote for the Akali Dal reportedly led to murmurs of dissent within the sect on Sunday as many felt it amounted to supporting a lost cause.
Women could hold the key in deciding the fate of the 1,145 candidates in the fray as they turned up in higher numbers than men to cast their vote on Saturday. Of the 1,145 candidates, only 81 were women. A total of 78.14% (93.75 lakh) women exercised their franchise while 76.69% (80.54 lakh) men voted. The overall turnout figure stood at 77.37%.
Meanwhile, the electronic voting machines used for polling were stored in high-security strongrooms with three-tier security and constant CCTV surveillance. Punjab additional director general of police VK Bhawra told HT that 12 companies of paramilitary forces had been retained for the security of the machines.
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