Punjab bypoll: 42.60% voter turnout in Jalandhar West till 3 pm

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Jalandhar, Jul 10 (PTI) A voter turnout of 42.60 per cent was recorded till 3 pm in the Jalandhar West assembly bypoll in Punjab on Wednesday.

The seat is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with major political parties such as the ruling AAP, the Congress and the BJP vying to outdo each other.

Amid tight security arrangements, polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm, officials said. Votes will be counted on July 13.

A voter turnout of 42.60 per cent was recorded till 3 pm, according to the Election Commission of India's Voter Turnout app.

Fifteen candidates are in the fray in the by-election.

Talking to reporters, Congress candidate Surinder Kaur slammed the AAP government in Punjab and claimed that people were fed up with it and they will teach it a lesson in the bypoll.

AAP candidate Mohinder Bhagat exuded confidence that people would ensure his party's victory in the Jalandhar West seat.

At many polling stations, plants were given to voters who exercised their franchise.

There are 1,71,963 eligible voters -- 89,629 males, 82,326 females and eight third gender voters.

There are 874 Persons with Disabilities (PwD) category voters for whom necessary arrangements of wheelchairs and pick-and-drop facility have been made, officials said.

A total of 181 polling stations have been set up, they said.

The Jalandhar West assembly seat fell vacant after Sheetal Angural resigned as AAP legislator and joined the BJP in March.

Bhagat, the son of former minister Bhagat Chunni Lal, and Surinder Kaur, a former senior deputy mayor, have been fielded by the AAP and Congress, respectively, against BJP's Angural.

Though the Shiromani Akali Dal had fielded Surjit Kaur for the bypoll, it later withdrew its support and disowned her amid the party's ongoing infighting.

Later, the SAD had announced its decision to support BSP nominee Binder Kumar for the bypoll.

The bypoll is being seen as a litmus test for Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, after the AAP's poor showing in the recent Lok Sabha polls. The AAP won only three of the 13 parliamentary constituencies in Punjab.

The stakes are also high for main opposition party Congress which would want its candidate to register victory after winning seven of 13 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Prestige is also at stake for the BJP which also wants to taste victory from the Jalandhar West seat after drawing a blank in the state in the Lok Sabha polls. PTI CHS SUN ANB ANB ANB

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