Chandigarh: The three week-long campaigning
for 117-seat Punjab Assembly ended this evening with ruling
SAD-BJP alliance and opposition Congress putting their best
foot forward to wrest power in the January 30 polls.
The campaigning by and large remained peaceful in the
state which saw national leaders including Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, General
Secretary Rahul Gandhi, BJP leaders LK Advani, Nitin Gadkari,
Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti and BSP Chief Mayawati
criss-cross the state.
Besides Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the other
campaigners included Team Anna members who, however, did not
advocate in favour or any political party confining their
campaign to corruption and setting up of a strong Lokpal.
Film and TV actors Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Rajesh
Khanna, Kirron Kher and Samriti Irani and a host of local
singers and actors, including Gurdas Mann, Harbhajan Mann and
Gurpreet Ghuggi besides cricketer-turned-politicians Navjot
Sidhu and Mohd Azharudin added to the colour.
The other leaders who visited the state included Union
Ministers Ambika Soni and Ghulam Nabi Azad, Himachal Pradesh
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Chief Ministers of
Rajasthan and Haryana Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Om Parkash
Leaders of Left and other parties, including Brinda Karat
and Sitaram Yechury, also toured the state which will see a
total of 1,078 candidates, including 93 women, in fray.
About 1.76 crore voters, including 83.61 lakh women, will
seal the fate of the candidates at 19,841 polling stations,
including five identified as "hyper sensitive" and 32 as
Besides Punjab Police personnel, about 200 companies of
central paramilitary forces will be deployed in the state to
ensure free and fair polling.