Chandigarh, April 30: Nearly 65 percent of Punjab’s 1.95 crore ballots were cast till 5 p.m. as the state’s all 13 Lok Sabha seats went to the polls in a single phase, the Election Commission said.
Despite scorching heat of the day when temperatures stayed over 40 degrees Celsius in most places, balloting continued at a brisk pace.
Sangrur (69 percent), Bathinda (67) and Patiala (65) 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 contest with former chief minister Amarinder Singh, only 60 percent votes were cast by 5 p.m. This was the second-lowest turnout in the state during the day after Hoshiarpur (54 percent).
Both Jaitley and Amarinder Singh could not cast their ballot as they are not registered voters in Amritsar.
Punjab has over 19.5 million (1.95 crore) voters. As many as 253 candidates were 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).
In the 2009 elections, Punjab recorded over 70 percent polling. The Election Commission expected the polling to touch about 80 percent this year.
Over 75,000 policemen and paramilitary troopers have been stationed across the state to ensure peaceful polling, Director General of Police Suresh Arora said.