New Delhi: Voting for Punjab’s 117-assembly seats are going to be held on Saturday, 4 February. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal- Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance is saddled in power now for two consecutive terms and is vying for a third term. It will also put the incumbent chief minister Prakash Singh Badal for a fifth record stint in the office.
That’s, however, easier said than done with most opinion polls indicating the ruling coalition will lose power in Punjab, with the outcome split between Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which until now counts only Delhi as its power base.
AAP’s alliance partner Lok Insaf Party, led by Bains Brothers, is contesting on five of the 117 seats. AAP is in a triangular contest in Goa also where simultaneous assembly elections will be held tomorrow.
Congress has declared former chief minister Capt. Amrinder Singh its candidate for the top job, while AAP hasn’t declared its CM candidate, but many reports suggest that Lok Sabha MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Singh Mann who is contesting from the Jalalabad constituency and leading the party’s campaign committee may be considered for the role.
AAP’s leader Arvind Kejriwal also recently promised to make a dalit as the state’s deputy CM to woo the scheduled caste voters.
The largely agrarian state is reportedly facing a severe rural distress due to substantial farm debt and deepening drug abuse, which may add among multiple other anti-incumbency factors for the ruling combine.
Here are some quick facts related to the Punjab assembly elections:
■ Number of seats—117
■ Total Electors— 1,98,79,069 (Male—1,05,03,108; Female—93,75,546; Third Gender—415)
■ Total number of candidates—1145
■ Total number of female candidates—81
■ Third Gender candidates—1
■ Highest number of candidates contesting in an assembly constituency—18 in Sanour assembly seat
■ Lowest number of candidates contesting in an assembly constituency—5 in both Khem Karan and Fatehgarh Sahib assembly seat
■ Assembly constituencies where more than one women candidates are contesting—4 in Ghanaur
■ Top five political parties contesting (assembly seat wise)—SAD-BJP on all 117 seats (94 and 23 seats respectively), Indian National Congress in 116 seats, AAP—112 seats, Bahujan Samaj Party—110, Communist Party of India—23.
■ There are 304 independents and 468 registered but unrecognized parties too in the poll fray.
■ The number of electronic voting machines to be used in election—Balloting Units (BU)—23,056; Controlling Units (CU)—22,615.
■ The number of polling stations—22,615
■ Largest assembly constituency in terms of area—Gill
■ Largest assembly constituency in terms of electorate—Dera Bassi
■ Smallest assembly constituency in terms of electorate—Bholanath
■ The e-ballot system will be used for 5 of the 117 legislative assembly seats in Punjab.
Source: Election Commission of India via Press Information Bureau