A battle-scarred veteran in electoral politics Congress’ Pawan Bansal, contesting Lok Sabha polls for the seventh time, faces three women of contrasting backgrounds and 13 others in the fray as the city’s 6.13 lakh voters queue up to exercise their franchise at 519 polling booths, With the male voters at 3.32 lakh male, against 2.81 lakh female voters, it is the group of 23,263 electors, exercising their franchisee for the first time, who are actually seen to be making a difference, should the election turn out to be a tightly fought one.
Over 3,000 polling staff will conduct the elections.
One of the perceived top three contenders, Bansal of the Congress, Kirron Kher of the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP), Aam Aadmi Partys (AAP) Gul Panag will represent Chandigarh in the 16th Lok Sabha on May 16, the day the votes are counted. Jannat Jahan of the BSP is also in the fray.
The administration has declared Thursday as a public holiday in all offices/ boards/ corporations/ institutions under it and also within the meaning of Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. It will be a paid holiday in industrial shops and commercial establishments and for daily wage employees.
3 LAKH VOTERS IN COLONIES, VILLAGES KEY
With 3 lakh voters, the villages and the colonies have the potential to sway the verdict. Manimajra has the highest number of voters at 48,103 followed by Dhanas with 28,721
voters. Ram Darbar and Bapu Dham Colony have 21,724 and 18,500 electors, respectively.
5,000 COPS DEPLOYED
More than 5,000 security personnel, including para-military forces, will be deployed under the supervision of UT SSP, security and traffic Maneesh Chaudhry, SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill and SSP (operations) RS Ghuman.
The election department has offered discounts up to 40% in hotels, restaurants and beauty parlours. The multiplexes will also offer free cold drink and
pop corns to voters. UT deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer Mohammed Shayin said that they had put in lot of efforts to attract voters. Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, is the counting centre.
FOR PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED
The election department has made ballot papers in Braille signage available in each polling station and the serial number in Braille signage have been pasted on the ballot units. The department has also arranged wheelchairs and ramps at all booths.
Residents can login to the website ceochandigarh.nic.in for services such as queue monitoring system, e-poll monitoring system and live webcasting from sensitive booths.
WILL CELEBRITY CANDIDATES SPRING A SURPRISE?
With the BJP and AAP fielding celebrity candidates, the otherwise low-key election is keenly watched. Experts claim that the election in the city has always remained a ‘predictable one’, but there may be surprises this time.