Dhuri poll peaceful, but turnout declines

  • Vishal Rambani and Gagandeep Singh Gill, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Apr 11, 2015 22:10 IST

After all the high-intensity canvassing by the ruling and opposition parties, the voting percentage in Saturday's Dhuri assembly byelection dipped to 73 from 82 in the February 2012 Vidhan Sabha contest.

There were minor skirmishes and heated arguments, but the polling was peaceful overall. Congress-backed Sanjha Morcha candidate Simar Pratap Singh Barnala accused officials of trying to favour Akali candidate Gobind Singh Longowal but returning officer Rajesh Dhiman dismissed those complaints.

Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa, who was camping at Bagrian village near Dhuri, said the Akalis had used "underhand means".

Also Read: Dhuri bypoll: 72 % voting reported till 6pm, final figures awaited

Many Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) workers from outside were seen in the constituency, which triggered allegations of rigging from the Congress. The turnout in its usual stronghold of urban areas was low at 60%, while in the Akali domain of rural areas, it was 78%. Still, it's the swing of the Aam Aadmi Party votes that will decide the result. The AAP had lead of 33,000 votes in this assembly segment when it won the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat in 2014.

Barnala and his parents voted at Kakkarwal village. SAD (Amritsar) candidate Surjit Singh Kalabula also had big support.

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