CHANDIGARH: Amid sporadic violence that left a 16-year-old boy dead and around 10 injured, nearly 77 per cent of 1.76 crore voters on Monday exercised their franchise under tight security to elect 117 members to the Punjab assembly.
The fate of 1,078 candidates, including two chief ministerial aspirants, Mr Parkash Singh Badal of the ruling SAD-BJP, and the Punjab Congress chief, Captain Amarinder Singh was sealed in electronic voting machines in Monday’s exercise.
The DIG, Mr Arpit Shukla told reporters here that teenager Nishan Singh died of gunshot wounds received in a clash between activists of the ruling SAD and the opposition Congress in Piareana village in Ferozepur Rural assembly constituency.
Two other persons were injured in the incident, he said. The boy was said to be an Akali worker.
Reports of skirmishes between supporters of rival candidates were also received from Ludhiana, Bathinda, Amritsar Central, Abohar and some other districts.
The Punjab chief electoral officer, Mr Kusumjit Sidhu said the turnout was 77 per cent which might go up marginally as the final figures were yet to be tabulated.
In the 2007 assembly election, the turnout was 75.45 per cent and in 2002 it was 65.14 per cent.
Other notable candidates whose fate was sealed in EVMs were Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal (Jalalabad), Mr Raninder Singh, son of Captain Amardiner Singh, (Samana), former CM Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal (Lehra), former top cop Mr P S Gill (Moga) and former SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur (Bholath).
Mr Badal is seeking a fifth-term from his traditional Lambi assembly constituency and his predecessor Captain Amarinder Singh from Patiala city.
The Akalis alleged the gunshot was fired by Congress candidate Ms Satkar Kaur’s husband but the DIG (Ferozepur) Mr Alok Nath said “our investigations are on”.
Mr Sidhu said nine FIRs were registered in connection with the clashes at various polling stations in Mohali, Khadoor Sahab, Amritsar, Ludhiana Central, Abohar, Ajnala and Bathinda.
In Ludhiana, BJP’s district Yuva Morcha general-secretary, Mr Sanjay Kapoor was injured in a clash with Congress supporters.
At Bathinda, some miscreants pelted stones at the office of Dera Sacha Sauda sect on Amrik Singh road.
The police fired in air to disperse supporters of Congress candidate, Mr Sunil Jakhar and an Independent in Abohar.
BJP and Congress supporters also clashed at Amritsar Central.
A woman voter died in the polling station compound at Anandpur Sahab. Reports said she died of heart attack.
The counting of votes will take place on March 6.
Both the Congress and the SAD exuded confidence of forming the government.