23 pc voter turnout in first four hours in Jalandhar (West) bypoll

by IANS |

Chandigarh, July 10 (IANS) A voter turnout of 23.04 per cent was recorded in the first four hours in the Jalandhar (West) Assembly bypoll in Punjab on Wednesday.

Polling for the state’s lone Assembly constituency began with 15 candidates in the fray for a multi-cornered contest. A total of 1.72 lakh people will cast their vote in the by-election till 6 p.m.

The seat fell vacant after the resignation of Sheetal Angural as an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator. He's again in the fray, now as a BJP nominee.

In a battle between AAP, BJP and Congress in the Jalandhar West (reserved) Assembly constituency, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann's prestige is at stake.

The ballots will be counted on July 13.

The Jalandhar West (reserved) Assembly constituency is a hub of Dalits in the Doaba region.

While the ruling AAP has fielded BJP rebel Mohinder Bhagat as its candidate, BJP pitted former AAP MLA Angural as its nominee.

Bhagat, who left BJP and joined AAP in April 2023, is the son of a three-time MLA from this Assembly constituency of BJP and served as Cabinet Minister from 2007-2017.

The Congress' nominee is Surinder Kaur, the former senior Deputy Mayor and five-time councillor of Jalandhar. The party believes that her social work will ensure her resounding victory. She is known for her proximity to the Dera Sachakhand Ballan, a key Ravidassia community sect in the region.

The Shiromani Akali Dal has extended support to Bahujan Samaj Party nominee Binder Kumar.

The caste factor has played a key role in this seat, which is known worldwide for manufacturing sports goods.

Congress' candidate is a prominent Dalit leader of Ravidassia community, while AAP candidate Bhagat belongs to the Kabir Bhagat community, which has 30,000 voters. The latter had unsuccessfully contested this seat in the 2017 and 2022 Assembly elections on BJP tickets.

By fielding Bhagat, AAP is looking to woo 30,000 Bhagat community voters.

BJP's Angural, a young firebrand leader, is banking upon the Sialkotia Ravidassia community, which also has a considerable vote share.

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