Chandigarh, Aug 21: Voters could be seen queuing up to exercise their franchise as polling began for the by-election in two assembly seats of Patiala and Talwandi Sabo in Punjab on Thursday. The fate of 15 candidates will be decided in the by-election. The main contest is between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the opposition Congress. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also in the fray.

Former union minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur is in the fray from the Patiala assembly constituency. The seat was vacated by her husband and former chief minister Amarinder Singh recently after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Amritsar parliamentary constituency May this year.

Preneet Kaur has been three-time Lok Sabha MP for the Patiala seat. She lost the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year to Dharamvira Gandhi of the AAP. Amarinder Singh is now the deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha. He had defeated BJP candidate Arun Jaitley, now the union finance and defence minister, in a bitter contest for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat by over one lakh votes.

While the by-election to the Patiala seat was necessitated by Amarinder Singh resigning from there, the by-poll for the Talwandi Sabo seat is being held as the Congress legislator Jeet Mohinder Singh quit the party and resigned from his seat and joined the Akali Dal.

The Akali Dal has named Jeet Mohinder Singh as its candidate for the Talwandi Sabo seat in Bathinda district. He is pitted against Harminder Singh Jassi of the Congress. Counting of votes will take place Aug 25.