At 53.86%, voter turnout in Ludhiana sees a dip
The polling for the zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls saw a relatively low turnout in the district on Wednesday.
The early trend showed that the voter turnout was mere 8.20% which rose to 19.21% by noon. Election observers said that the total voter turnout was 56.83%.
This is lower than what was recorded in 2013 elections, when 63% voters came out to vote. In 2008, the turnout was much higher at 70%.
Unlike the previous zila parishad elections, wherein the voter turnout used to be on the higher side in the morning hours, this time the voter turnout which was below 10% in the morning and increased by the afternoon as sarpanches were seen convincing the villagers to cast their vote.
The entire electoral process which engaged the rural area remained a low-key affair as people preferred to stay inside fearing poll violence. As Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance is out of power, none of its senior leadership was there to mobilise the voters on the polling day.
Voters also expressed their resentment over the sacrilege issue which has put the SAD leadership on the back foot. “The Ranjit Singh Commission report has demoralised the SAD workers in the villages which has resulted in the low turnout of voters,” sai, a voter in a village at Payal.
Tension gripped at a polling booth in Mandiala Kalan, Samrala after SAD supporters accused a youth of indulging in bogus voting. Heated words were exchanged between Congress and SAD supporters. SAD supporters alleged that MLA Lakhvir Singh Lakha’s relative Jatinder Singh Joti casted votes on behalf of his own family members. Jagjivan Singh, Chowki in-charge of Kot village, reached the spot and pacified the situation.
However, apart from minor incidents, the elections remained largely violence-free.
Congress MP Ravneet Bittu refuted the allegations of booth capturing during the elections and said, “Booth capturing and rigging was practiced during the SAD regime. Today the elections were violence free and transparent.”