Chandigarh: A total of 1,263 candidates are in the fray for the elections to six municipal corporations in Punjab to be held on Sunday in which about 7.90 lakh voters are eligible to vote.
The electioneering for the civic polls, which are being seen as a litmus test for ruling SAD-BJP combine which is at the helm of affairs in the state since last seven years, had came to an end yesterday.
The six municipal corporations going to polls are: Phagwara, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Mohali, Bathinda, Moga. Byelections will be held for two wards of Patiala Municipal Corporation and one ward of Jalandhar Municipal Corporation.
A total of 7.90 lakh voters will decide the fate of candidates for 298 wards, Punjab Election Commissioner S S Brar said in a statement today.
Elections will be held on 50 wards each of MCs of Bathinda, Mohali and Moga, 49 wards each of MCs of Hoshiarpur and Pathankot and 47 wards of Phagwara MC, he said.
Four candidates have already been elected unopposed on three wards of Phagwara MC and one ward of Hoshiarpur MC, he said.
The State Election Commission has announced to postpone the election of ward no. 30 of Pathankot Municipal Corporation due to the death of BJP candidate Shashi Kala on February 19, he further said.
The SEC has also increased the polling hours by one hour from 8 am to 5 pm following demand of various parties. Earlier, polling was to end at 4pm.
EVMs will be used in the polls and the counting of votes will take place on February 26, he said.
Brar said all arrangements have been made for free, fair and peaceful polling. 3,987 police personnels have been deployed for the peaceful conduct of civic elections, he said.
Ten elections observers comprising IAS officers have been deployed oversee the polling process, he further said.
The key players in the fray are ruling SAD-BJP, Congress and Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP).
The Aam Aadmi Party, which recently swept Delhi Assembly elections, however, has stayed away from Punjab's civic polls.
Congress, which is already facing infighting over leadership issue in the state, is aiming to strengthen its position at ground level.
Key issues include shortage of drinking water, bad roads, sewerage water logging, parking problems, heaps of garbage, problem of stray animals and encroachments in market corridors remained in these polls.
SAD and BJP, which are contesting the civic body polls jointly, are witnessing tough fight from party rebels.
Both BJP and SAD had expelled over 100 party members for not withdrawing their nominations in favour of party candidates.