importance of Punjab's Lambi assembly seat could be gauged from
the fact that Saturday, the last day of campaigning for assembly
elections in Punjab, saw both the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya
Janata Party combine and the Congress signing off from the
constituency for Monday's assembly elections.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is the patron-in-chief of
the Akali Dal, faces his toughest political test as he is pitted
against his own younger brother, Gurdas Badal, 81, of the People's
Party of Punjab (PPP) and cousin Maheshinder Singh Badal of the
Congress in a bitter triangular contest.
With former BJP president Rajnath Singh, former Haryana chief
minister Om Prakash Chautala and son and Akali Dal president
Sukhbir Singh Badal by his side, the senior Badal, 84, ended his
campaigning from his traditional seat Saturday.
The four-time chief minister sought votes from the electorate for,
perhaps, his last election in a political career spanning over six
The opposition Congress too chose Lambi seat as one of the venues
to finish off their poll campaign on the last day.
"We are going to have a landslide victory. The Congress will win
over 75 seats," Punjab Congress president and former chief
minister Amarinder Singh told the gathering at Lambi and other
The Election Commission (EC) has declared Lambi and four other
assembly seats as hyper-sensitive while 33 other seats out of
Punjab's 117 seats have been declared as sensitive for the Jan 30
Special chief electoral officer Usha R. Sharma told reporters here
Saturday that all preparations have been made for Monday's
election and security has been tightened across Punjab.
EC officials will watch the voting from 200 polling stations
through live telecast, she said.
The EC has declared three dry days, starting Saturday, when liquor
vends will remain closed and liquor cannot be served at hotels,
restaurants and other drinking places also.
Over 1.76 crore electors are eligible to cast their votes in
19,841 polling stations Monday.
There are 1,078 candidates in the fray, including 93 women and 417
The main contest is between the ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance and
the Congress while the PPP is trying to put up a third front.