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40% voting in Moga in first 5 hours of polling

Over 40 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise till 1:PM today in the by-election to Moga Assembly constituency in Punjab.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Moga
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2013 02:54 PM IST

Over 40% of the voters exercised their franchise till 1 pm today in the by-election to Moga Assembly constituency in Punjab.

The polling was dull in the morning due to rainy weather, but as the day progressed, more and more people flocked the booths to cast vote, Election Commission officials said.

"By at around 1 pm, over 40 per cent voters had cast their vote," the officials said.

Polling, which started at 8 am, had to be stopped for about 40 minutes at booth number 171 in the morning following some defect in a EVM, which was changed and the voting later resumed.

Police sources said the polling was going on peacefully and no untoward incident had been reported so far from anywhere.

Meanwhile, a MLA of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal was spotted standing near a polling booth in the morning.

The MLA, who is from outside Moga, was spotted by a social worker, who informed police officials on duty. The police asked the legislator to leave the constituency immediately and he complied, the sources said.

The district administration had ordered all political leaders from outside to leave the constituency.

The bypoll was necessitated due to Congress MLA Joginder Pal Jain resigning from the party and joining the ruling SAD-BJP alliance.

The main contest is between Akali Dal candidate Joginder Pal Jain and Congress candidate Vijay Kumar Sathi.

Jain had quit the assembly seat and the Congress party on December 26, last year and joined the Akali Dal. He was elected from Moga seat on a Congress ticket in the 2012 assembly polls. His resignation forced a by-election. A total of 10 candidates are in the fray.

A total of 1,79,338 voters are expected to exercise their franchise.While 69 booths are hyper sensitive, 90 are sensitive out of the total 188.

A large number of paramilitary forces and Punjab Police personnel have been deployed to ensure free and fair polling. The security personnel had yesterday held flag marches in Moga town and in the rural areas to instill confidence among the electorates.

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