Day of reckoning for people in Punjab, Goa

Day of reckoning for people in Punjab, Goa
Battle lines are drawn as Punjab votes on Saturday to elect its next government. This high-stake election is majorly a contest among the Congress, the SAD-BJP combine and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is contesting its first Assembly elections outside Delhi. The incumbents, after a decade of rule, are facing strong anti-incumbency. The big fight is between Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and state Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh from Lambi.

Amarinder is also contesting polls from his hometown Patiala. This would be his last election. The seats of Congress candidate Navjot Sidhu from Amritsar and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal from Jalalabad are the prominent ones to watch out for.

In the 2012 Assembly elections, the SAD won 56 seats and its ally the BJP bagged 12. The Congress, despite getting the largest vote share of close to 40%, lost the elections with 46 seats in its kitty. Drugs, unemployment, corruption, and law and order have been the major poll issues this time around. The SAD made development its prominent poll plank.

Authorities have appealed for peace in the elections against the backdrop of the bomb blast at Bathinda this week, which claimed six lives, including four children. Punjab has a total electorate of over 1.98 crore registered voters. There are as many as 1,145 candidates in the poll fray. These include only 81 women and a transgender.

The BSP is contesting independently in 110 seats. Borders with the neighbouring states have been sealed. Nearly one lakh security personnel have been deployed to avoid any untoward incident during polls.
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