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Punjab assembly election live updates: Voting begins, polls 2017 a litmus test

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10:40 am: at least 12 per cent voting has been recorded in Punjab

10:00 am: Some trouble, but only technical. Reports of technical snag in EVM machine coming from booth number 35 in Majitha. Voters queue outside the polling booth to cast their vote.

9:55 am: AAP’s Bhagwant Mann cast his vote at booth no 126 in Mohali. Meanwhile, voting began in Lambi after security check. “No matter whose govt comes in power, youth wants employment,” said a first time voter to news agency ANI.

9.45 am: Casting his vote in Bathinda, AAP’s Gurpreet Ghuggi said, “Voting is our right and must be exercised.”

9.40 am: Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh’s wife, Preneet Kaur cast her vote. “The environment is charged and very positive, we are confident of a win,” she said.

Patiala: After months of speculations, high-decibel campaigning and slugfest, voting finally began in Punjab. After two consecutive terms in the office, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Badal) and BJP alliance is facing serious anti-incumbency in the state.

It will be nothing less than a miracle if the SAD-BJP combine returns to power in the state.

In the meantime polling began in the state bordering Pakistan amid heavy security earlier this morning. There are as many as 1,145 candidates contesting across 117 seats. The polling is set to end at 5 p.m.

punjab_election_2017

The most important fight that the state is witnessing is between chief ministerial aspirants Parkash Singh Badal, 89, and Captain Amarinder Singh, 75, of the Congress in Lambi and a mega battle in Jalalabad between Sukhbir Badal and Bhagwant Singh Mann, seen as AAP’s leading contender for chief minister if the party wins.

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It is now a common refrain that the fight is a three-cornered contest this time around. The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, which has been in power for the past decade, will be locked in contest with the Congress and new entrants Aam Aadmi Party. Voting will today also take place for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant following the resignation of state Congress Chief Amarinder Singh.

Around 2 crore voters will decide the fate of 1,145 candidates, including 81 women. 22, 615 polling stations have been set up, with over one lakh security personnel deployed for free and fair voting. Tight security arrangements have also been made for 100 critical polling stations and 5,500 vulnerable pockets of the state.

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