Voting begins in Punjab, good turnout in rural areas

Voting begins in Punjab, good turnout in rural areas

C22handigarh, April 30 (IANS) Voters queued up at polling booths across Punjab in good numbers Wednesday as polling started on all 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state in a single phase, officials said.

As many as 253 candidates are in the fray.

People could be seen queuing up at some polling stations even before the official opening time of 7 a.m. The voter turnout was good in rural areas.

Balloting is being held at 22,060 polling booths where more than 19.5 million people are eligible to vote.

The Election Commission is expecting a voter turnout of 80 percent this time. Punjab had recorded over 70 percent polling in the 2009 general election.

Over 75,000 Punjab police and para-military forces personnel have been stationed across the state to ensure free and peaceful polling, Director General of Police (DGP) Suresh Arora said.

The big contest is in Amritsar where senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who is fighting a popular election for the first time, is locked in a bitter contest with former Punjab chief minister and Congress candidate Amarinder Singh. However, both Jaitley and Amarinder could not cast their votes as they are not registered voters in Amritsar.

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