Chandigarh, Apr 30: Despite scorching heat during the day, balloting continued on a brisk note in Punjab Wednesday for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in a single-phased poll, the Election Commission said.
Between 35 to 40 percent voting was recorded till 1 p.m., the commission said here.
The day temperature was over 40 degrees celsius at most places but that did not deter voters.
Sangrur, Bathinda and Ludhiana constituencies were leading in the number of votes polled. People queued up even before 7 a.m. when the polling stations opened for balloting.
Punjab has over 19.5 million (1.95 crore) voters. As many as 253 candidates are in the fray.
Prominent candidates are Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Arun Jaitley, the Congress’s Amarinder Singh and the BJP’s three-time MP Vinod Khanna, an actor.
The big contest is on in Amritsar where Jaitley, who is fighting a popular election for the first time, is locked in a bitter contest with former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. However, both Jaitley and Amarinder could not cast their votes as they are not registered voters in Amritsar.
The Election Commission 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.
Punjab has 13,582 polling stations and 22,060 polling booths. Of these, 2,442 polling stations have been declared hyper-sensitive and 4,632 sensitive, Arora said.