15-20% Voting till Noon in Punjab By-polls; Cong Expels 3 for Anti-party Activities

In by-elections to three Assembly constituencies in Punjab, nearly 15 to 20 % electorates of total about 4.76 lakh cast their votes till noon on Monday. In the meanwhile, state unit of Congress party expelled three leaders for anti-party activities.

No untoward incident was reported in the polling to the three Assembly constituencies of Jalalabad, Kahnuwan and Banur, said an election office spokesman.

Needless to add, due to candidature of its president Sukhbir Singh Badal from Jalalabad seat in Ferozepur district, stakes are high for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

It may be mentioned that he had to relinquish the post of Deputy Chief Minister last month as he failed to neter the State Assembly within the stipulated six months after his nomination to the post.

In the by-polls necessitated by election of Kahnuwan MLA Partap Singh Bajwa (Cong) and Jalalabad MLA Sher Singh Ghubaiya (SAD) to Lolsabha and killing of Banur representative and Cooperation Minister Kanwaljit Singh, a total of 21 candidates are in the fray with the main contest between ruling SAD and opposition Congress on all the three seats.

The SAD has fielded its candidates on all the seats but it is litmus test for the SAD-BJP alliance with the Akalis hoping that sulking BJP leaders will bring around their workers to back its candidates.

In the meantime, on the day voting was on, the Punjab unit of Congress expelled three leaders for their alleged anti-party activities.

Punjab Congress Chief Mohinder Singh Kay Pee expelled Ferozepur District Congress Vice President Sher Baj Singh, former District President Gurdeep Singh Sandhu and former Chairman of Jalalabad Block Samiti Baldev Raj for anti-party activities, a party spokesman said.

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