The Malwa region topped the turnout chart with about 80% polling. For one change or the other, people voted. Was it anti-incumbency or money power that drove a sea of people to the polling booths of Muktsar and Bathinda districts on Monday?
High-profile constituencies such as Lambi and Gidderbaha recorded highest voter turnouts in Muktsar district. More than 88% electors in Gidderbaha used their right, and in Lambi, the percentage was 86.
Long queues outside polling booths since morning were gone mostly by the afternoon. At Badal, the village of Parkash Singh Badal, people were out to seal the CM's fate.
The opposition parties have counted the heavy turnout of voters in their favour. "It's the anti-incumbency factor," said Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Congress candidate from Gidderbaha. "The huge vote is against the policies of the state government."
Money power also influenced the behavior of voters. "The election commission disappeared a night before voting," said the leader of a mainstream political party in Gidderbaha. "No officer was at the ground to stop the sale and purchase of votes. Every party tried to make the deal, collecting voting slips from people who accepted bribe. At polling booth, they were handed back their slips to be able to vote."
Lambi, Gidderbaha, Maur, Bathinda Urban, and Talwandi Sabo, and nearly everywhere in Malwa, votes were bought and sold a night before. In Muktsar and Malout, the turnout percentage was 82, and 83, respectively.
In Bathinda district, the turnouts for the Bathinda Urban and Talwandi Sabo were lowest but still as high as 75%. Maur, where heavyweight Manpreet Singh Badal is in the contest, recorded 78% voting. In all other constituencies of Bathinda district, the voting percentage was more than 80. In Bhucho Mandi and Bathinda Rural, the percentage was 80 and 82, respectively, and in Rampura, the highest of Bathinda district at 86.