In the seventh phase of the 16th Lok Sabha election on Wednesday, the district witnessed 70.17% voter turnout for SAS Nagar and Kharar assemblies falling under the Anandpur Sahib constituency and Dera Bassi falling under the Patiala constituency. The figure is higher than the 67% turnout in the district in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
However, the Anandpur Sahib constituency witnessed 70% voter turnout on Wednesday. In SAS Nagar, 67.89% polling was recorded, as compared to 62.57% in 2009. Kharar, which was part of SAS Nagar assembly in 2009 Lok Sabha election, witnessed 70% turnout. However, it was around 72.64% turnout in Dera Bassi.
Rush was witnessed outside polling booths and on the stalls of the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in SAS Nagar. At urban polling stations, voters started pouring in at 7am and it got over at 6.45pm.
Though there are 18 candidates in fray, the contest is between Congress leader Ambika Soni, SAD’s Prem Singh Chandumajra and AAP’s Himmat Singh Shergill. The candidates were seen visiting various polling booths in the constituency.
Enthusiasm was visible among voters of all age at most of the polling booths. At Shivalik Public School, Phase 6, polling booth, 90-year-old Harbans Kaur was seen coming on wheelchair.
Swapandeep Singh, a young voter said, “I am voting for development and good governance.”
Voting went peacefully in the entire district and till 11am, around 47% turnout was recorded in the urban areas. Enthusiasm was also witnessed in villages and colonies, where voters waited in long queues in the sun to cast their vote and complained of slow voting procedure.
Ram Singh, a voter at Balongi, said, “It took me nearly one hour to cast my vote as the system was very slow.”
District electoral officer Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu said a remarkable turnout was recorded in the district, which itself was a record as compared to the previous elections.
Overall voters expressed their satisfaction about the arrangements and said that for the first time they have seen the proper arrangement for drinking water, seating and a better management of queue, he added.
Additional district commissioner Parveen Thind said, “Electronic voting machines (EVMs) have been kept in the two strong rooms at Shivalik Public School under tight security arrangements.”
Magician entertains voters
To entertain voters who were waiting in queue, the district administration arranged for magician, who played various tricks and entertained them. This was at super model and model polling stations in the district.