Campaigning for the Shahkot Assembly bypoll ended today and all necessary arrangements have been made for the polling which will be held on Monday, Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju said. Asserting that the Election Commission is committed to holding fair and peaceful election in Shahkot Assembly constituency, he said 25 teams have been formed to ensure no person, including political functionaries and party workers, who are not the elector in the constituency stays in Shahkot after campaigning ends. “These teams will check hotels, community halls, guesthouses and other places to find out the outsiders,” Raju said, adding check-posts have been set up in the constituency borders to track vehicle movements from outside Shahkot.
He said 1,72,676 voters will decide the fate of 12 candidates in fray. Voting will start at 7 am on May 28 and will go on till 6 pm. Counting of votes will be held on May 31. There are 2,201 licensed arms in this constituency, out of which 2,005 have been deposited and the remaining weapons will be deposited soon. During checking, cash amounting to Rs 17.50 lakh and 45,750 ml liquor were seized from different people, the chief electoral officer said. Of the 236 polling stations in the constituency, webcasting will be done at 103 stations. As many as 1,416 polling staff, 1,022 Punjab police and BSF personnel, and 80 micro observers have been deputed in Shahkot, he said.
Raju said EVMs and VVPATs will be deployed at all polling stations and 15 per cent additional EVMs have been kept in reserve in case some machines malfunction during polling. Holiday has been declared for the electors of Shahkot assembly constituency on Monday. Prohibition has been declared from 6 PM of May 26 to 6 pm of May 28 in Shahkot assembly constituency and its adjoining areas, he said.
The chief electoral officer said of the 31 complaints received so far 30 were of general nature and one was about movement of illicit liquor. Shahkot bypoll was necessitated following the demise of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Ajit Singh Kohar. Congress has fielded Hardev Singh Laddi while SAD has given ticket to Kohar’s son Naib Singh Kohar for the bypoll. The Aam Aadmi Party has nominated Rattan Singh Kakkar Kalan for the Shahkot bypoll.