Chandigarh, April 30: Nearly 55 percent of Punjab’s 1.95 crore votes were polled till 3 p.m. Wednesday but Amritsar lagged with barely 47 percent, the Election Commission (EC) said.
Despite scorching heat with the day temperature ranging over 40 degrees Celsius at most places, balloting continued on a brisk note for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the single-phased poll.
Sangrur, Ludhiana and Bathinda constituencies were leading in the number of votes polled. People queued up even before 7 a.m. when the polling stations opened.
However, in Amritsar, where BJP leader Arun Jaitley is locked in a bitter contest with former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, only 47 percent votes were cast by 3 p.m. This was the second lowest turnout in Punjab after Hoshiarpur (45 percent).
Both Jaitley and Amarinder could not cast their votes as they are not registered voters in Amritsar.
Punjab has over 19.5 million (1.95 crore) voters. As many as 253 candidates are in the fray.
Other prominent candidates are Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Bathinda) and BJP’s three-time MP and actor Vinod Khanna (Gurdaspur).
The EC is expecting a voter turnout of 80 percent in the state this time. In the 2009 election, Punjab recorded over 70 percent polling.
Over 75,000 policemen and paramilitary troopers have been stationed across the state to ensure peaceful polling, Director General of Police Suresh Arora said.