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All eyes on Lambi as Punjab heads for assembly polls

Saturday January 28, 2012 09:52:28 PM, IANS

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Chandigarh: The 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 decades.

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 places.

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 elections.

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 independent candidates.

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.




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(Photo: IANS/Amlan Paliwal)



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