All arrangements for the counting of votes to decide the winner of the Dhuri assembly byelection held on April 11 are complete. The process will begin at Desh Bhagat College, Bardwal, at 8am on Wednesday.
Returning officer Rajesh Dhiman said there would be 14 counting tables with a supervisor, a helper, and a micro observer manning each. Election observer SM Sarkunde will also be present.
Apart from counting agents, journalists will also be given space at the centre. “A separate media centre has been made,” said Dhiman. A three-tier security was deployed, said Sangrur senior superintendent of police (SSP) MS Sidhu, adding: “The inner circle will be of paramilitary troops led by a superintendent of police (SP) and two DSPs. The second circle will be of the CRPF and an SP would lead it. The third will be of the district police.”
Dhuri was an intensive election campaign with 12 candidates trying their luck. The main fight was between Akali-BJP candidate Gobind Singh Longowal and Congress-backed Sanjha Morcha contestant Simar Pratap Singh Barnala, grandson of former chief minister Surjit Singh Barnala. Both contenders expect big win, but political analysts say it will depend on the swing of the 63,000-odd votes that went to the Aam Aadmi Party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in this assembly segment.
AAP MP Bhagwant Mann stayed away from electioneering, engaged as he was in the war within the party in Delhi.
If Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Surjit Singh Kalabula gets more than 10,000 votes, it may dent the vote bank of Longowal, making his position vulnerable. Also, had Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh and his supporters put their weight behind Barnala from Day One of the campaigning, the candidate’s chances would be brighter on Wednesday.
Likewise, the near absence of the Bharatiya Janata Party from the campaign is also a talking point in the constituency.