Arrangements in place for Sunday's civic body polls in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Feb 13 (PTI) All the arrangements are in place for the civic body elections in Punjab on Sunday, an official spokesperson of the State Election Commission said on Saturday.

The voting for elections to eight municipal corporations of Abohar, Bathinda, Batala, Kapurthala, Mohali, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot and Moga and 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in the state will be held on February 14 from 8 am till 4 pm.

A total of 9,222 candidates are in the fray for 2,302 wards.

Out of the total candidates, 2,832 are contesting as independents, 2,037 are of the ruling Congress and 1,569 of the Akali Dal.

The number of candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Aam Aadmi Party and the BSP are 1,003, 1,606 and 160 respectively.

The official spokesperson of the State Election Commission said it has set up 4,102 polling stations and out of which, 1,708 have been declared as sensitive and 861 as hypersensitive.

The spokesperson said every voter who enters the polling station before 4 pm will have the right to vote.

The counting of votes will take place on February 17.

The State Election Commission has also announced February 14 and 17 as dry days.

Around 7,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been deployed for voting. A total of 25,010 employees have also been deputed.

Around 19,000 police personnel have been deputed to conduct free and fair elections, said the spokesperson.

There are 20,49,777 male, 18,65,354 female and 149 transgender voters, totalling 39,15,280 registered voters in the state of Punjab for the civic elections.

A total of 30 IAS or PCS officers have been deputed as observers to conduct free and fair elections, said the spokesperson.

In these elections, 50 per cent of seats have been reserved for women.

All the main political parties had canvassed vigorously during the campaigning for the civic body elections in the state which will see assembly polls next year.

Several Punjab ministers including Manpreet Singh Badal and Balbir Singh Sidhu had canvassed for the Congress nominees.

The SAD and the BJP are fighting these elections separately after the former walked out of the National Democratic Alliance over the farm laws issue last year.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and other party leaders campaigned for their party candidates.

The BJP leaders and candidates had faced farmers' protest during campaigning with the saffron party accusing the Congress of unleashing “hooliganism” in the guise of farmers.

Several senior AAP leaders including Raghav Chadha had held roadshows in several parts of the state and had sought votes for the nominees of the main opposition party in Punjab.

The Opposition had accused the Congress of “misusing” the government machinery to win these polls, a charge denied by the ruling party. PTI CHS VSD RAX RAX