Chandigarh: The young voters of the lone Lok Sabha seat of Chandigarh are set to play a crucial role when LS polls will be held here on April 10.
According to official statistics, Union Territory Chandigarh, which is also the common capital of Punjab and Haryana, has a population of nearly 11.9 lakh, with a voter strength of 5.87 lakh that includes 2.65 lakh women electorates.
Nearly half of the voters in Chandigarh, which has a literacy rate of 76 percent, are below the 45 years age group and are set to play crucial role in electing their MP.
At present, Chandigarh is represented by Congress` four-time Lok Sabha MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, who had to step down as Railway Minister last year in the wake of the railgate scandal, in which his nephew Vijay Singla was a prime accused.
Majority of the Chandigarh`s populace is urban. While the voter strength has gone up from 5.24 lakh in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, of these over 18,000 will be casting their votes for the first time, officials said.
"I am excited to cast vote for the first time. It`s great to know that youth power will play a crucial role in electing MP from Chandigarh," said 19-year-old Vishal, a student of a local college here.
Traditionally, Chandigarh has never witnessed a high voter turnout in previous elections, with a poor percentage of 42.36 percent in 1998. In 2004, it was 52.06 percent, which, however, jumped to an all-time high in 65.51 percent in 2009 polls.
With 65-year-old Pawan Kumar Bansal likely to get the party ticket from here, this time he will find himself locked in a multi-cornered contest.
The Aam Aadmi Party has declared Savita Bhatti, widow of famous satirist Jaspal Bhatti, as its candidate from here while the BSP has named Jannat Jahan as the party candidate.
The BJP is yet to announce its candidate.
Chandigarh BJP president Sanjay Tandon, former MP Satya Pal Jain and former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan are among the front runners for the party ticket from here, party sources said.