Nearly 45 per cent polling was reported on Monday in the bye-election to the Shahkot assembly seat in Punjab, a poll official said. With the prevailing heat wave in Punjab, voters started queuing up early in the day to caste their votes. Voting began at 7 a.m.
Long queues of voters, including women, were seen at some polling stations, especially in rural areas in the constituency located in Jalandhar district. Chief Electoral Officer S. Karuna Raju said earlier that 1,72,676 voters will decide the fate of 12 candidates in this constituency.
The main contest is between the ruling Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), making it a three-cornered one. Over 1,000 security personnel, including Punjab Police and Border Security Force (BSF), have been stationed in the constituency for a smooth process.
The seat fell vacant following the death of sitting Akali Dal legislator Ajit Singh Kohar in February. Kohar, a former minister, was elected five times from this seat. His son Naib Singh Kohar has been fielded by the Akali Dal.
The Congress candidate is Hardev Singh Ladi, who had lost to Kohar by nearly 5,000 votes in the assembly elections in February 2017. The AAP has fielded Rattan Singh as its candidate. Counting of votes will take place on May 31 (Thursday).