Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) VK Singh thanked has thanked the political parties and the Dhuri voters for keeping Saturday’s assembly byelection peaceful.
He said all EVMs (electronic voting machines) had worked smoothly from 8am to 5pm, and the lone malfunctioning unit had been replaced at the start itself. Dhuri had 166 polling stations for nearly 1.51-lakh voters (80,561 men and 71,391 women). The fate of 12 candidates now is sealed in the EVMs and the counting will be on April 15. The result will be out the same day.
The security arrangements for Saturday’s election were in the hands of police and paramilitary forces, and the CEO thanked them as well. Six companies of paramilitary forces, four flying squads, and four static surveillance teams formed the security ring.
He has directed the district election officer and the returning officer concerned to ensure that the EVMs were kept in strong rooms under foolproof security, and nobody had access to the units. Complaints of rigging by the Congress-backed Sanjha Morcha candidate were dismissed.
For guarding the 166 polling stations, 63 of which had been declared “hypersensitive” and 50 “sensitive”, 1,800 security personnel were deployed The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has 58 legislators in the 117seat Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and a victory in Dhuri will help it to majority and the end of dependence on alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party.