Chandigarh: Nearly twenty five percent turnout was recorded till afternoon as polling for the high-stakes Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll began on Wednesday.
According to the election officials, between 23-25 percent voting was reported in the constituency. At some polling booths, long queues of voters were also seen.
Meanwhile, minor clashes were reported between Congress and BJP-Akali Dal workers in some villages hours after the voting began. Five to six people were injured in clashes between Congress and BJP-Akali activists, the police said.
Stakes for high for both BJP and Congress as the two parties are locked in an intense electoral battle here.
While the Congress is hoping to consolidate its position in the state, BJP is looking to regain some of the ground it lost to the former in state assembly polls held earlier this year.
The by-election to the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat was necessitated following the death of the BJP leader and actor Vinod Khanna.
Under the watchful eyes of the poll panel, polling began here at 8 am and will conclude at 5 pm. The results of the bypoll will be announced on October 15.
BJP candidate Swaran Singh Salaria and Congress' Sunil Jakhar have cast their votes, according to ANI.
— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2017
A total of 11 candidates are contesting the election.
The BJP has fielded Salaria, who has been accused of raping a woman on the pretext of marriage.
On the other hand, the Congress has fielded senior party leader Sunil Jakhar and the Aam Aadmi Party, which came second in the assembly elections, has fielded retired major general Suresh Khajuria.
For the Congress, which grabbed 77 out of 117 seats in the Punjab Assembly elections 2017, the results of Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll will be a reflection of its six months in power.
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, which won 20 seats in the Assembly elections, would also like to consolidate its presence in the area.
The bypoll will also be a litmus test for the SAD-BJP alliance.