Election 2017

Lowest 56 percent polling in Gurdaspur bye-poll left Punjab political parties guessing

October 11, 2017 09:26 PM

Punjab News Express |Satinder Bains
CHANDIGARH: The voters of Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency have not shown any enthusiasm in the bye-election held today where only 56 percent voters turned up to polling booths which is almost 23 percent less than assembly elections held early this year.

The low voting has baffled the main stake holders, the Congress and SAD-BJP alliance who are unable to gauze the mind of voters despite high hopes of large mobilsation of their cadre. The third contender Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) is also keeping its fingers crossed with the hope of maintaining edge in the elections.

The result of election will be declared on October 15. The outcome of the election result would have far reaching consequences on state and national politics. Gurdaspur will set trend for 2019 General Elections of Parliament and all the three players have their prestige at stake.

The low percentage is reported from across the nine assembly segments falling Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency except for Dera Baba Nanak where vote percentage is slightly high that other segments. In the first four hours of polling only 15 percent votes were cast which was an indicator of voting trend. The voters have not came out of their homes despite persuation by the contesting parties and appeals by Election Commission to use theor right of franchise. The trend is an indication that people were fed up with kind of political culture is prevailing in Punjab. The voters seemed disillussioned from SASD-BJP alliance and Congress for not keeping their word on promises made to them.Since AAP was never in power in Punjab and it has no old baggage of betraying voters, the response of people to AAP is anybody's guess.

As per election commission data 65 percent votes were polled in Dera Baba Nanak agaisnt 77.79 percent in last assembly elections and 70.91 percent in 2014 Lok Sabha poll. It is Sikh dominated constituency and it has elected Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa its MLA. This constituency is one best bet for Congress where Jat Sikhs are loyal to Congress for decades. The constituency was nourished by late Santokh Singh Randhawa.

Fatehghar Churian is another Sikh dominated constituency where second highest 63 percent votes are polled against 76.45 and 72.23 in last assembly and Parliament elections. Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa cabinet Minister in Capt Amarinder Singh Government won it in assembly.

In 2014 Pathankot segment had recorded highest polling of 73.26 percent and this time it has recorded lowest 54 percent. During assembly poll Pathankot 76.50 percent voters second highest after Sujanpur. In Sujanpur 79.85 percfent votes were polled in assembly and 71.54 percent in last Lok Sabha.This time it is 54 percent.Pathankot and Sujanpur are Hindu dominated areas and low percentage means a large section of business community has stayed away from polling which is alarming signal for BJP. In assembly Pathankot is repersented by Congress MLA Amit.

The industrial segment of Batala has recorded the lowest polling of 50 percent which which is 20.01 percent less that last assembly and 17.04 percent less than 2014 Lok Sabha poll. It is also disturbing for BJP. The closure of big number of industrial units here in last ten eyars of SAD-BJP regime seems major reason of low voting since large number of migrant labourers working here seemed to have returned to their home states.The seat is presently held by Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal of SAD.

Quadian where Sikhs and Muslims share almost equal population and home turf of Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa has also presented a dismal picture with 57 percent polling against 76.20 percent in last assembly and 70.57 percent for  in 2014 Lok Sabha. It is an indication that minority communities have maintained a low profile. Fateh Jung Sing Bajwa of Congress i sitting MLA. Bajwa family has strong hold in the area.

Bhoa constituency also held by Congress (Joginder Pal) has recorded60 percent voting against 76.41 in assembly and 70.51 percent in last Lok Sabha. Gurdaspur held by Congress MLA Barinderjit Singh Pahra has also recorded 54 percent against 75.32 and 69.48 in assembly and Lok Sabha respectively.

The political parties ahve their own logics to justify the low percentage but what is in mind of voters would be known only on October 15. The Congress candidate Sunil Kumar Jakhar, SAD-BJP candidate Swaran Salaria and AAP candidate Suresh Kumar Khajuria would wait for the D Day with high curiousty and it will be day of voters in real sense.

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