Voting for assembly elections for the three constituencies in Mohali district completed peacefully on Saturday with the district recording 71.8 per cent voting. The voting percentage was less than the 2012 elections when it stood at 75.54 per cent. Dera Bassi constituency in the district witnessed 76.06 per cent voting followed by Kharar with 72.93 per cent while Mohali recorded 66.39 per cent. All the three constituencies this time are witnessing a triangular contest between AAP, Congress and SAD. As many as 19 model polling booths were also set up in all the three constituencies. In a unique initiative, voters were welcomed by laying red carpets and flowers. A delegation from Bangalore also visited the polling booth in Gian Jyoti Public School in Phase 2.
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Leaving aside a few reports of minor altercations at some places in the district, the voting process overall went off peacefully and no untoward incident was reported.
At booth number 87 in Dera Bassi there was panic after reports of a firing incident. SAD supporters alleged that Congress workers had fired the gun shots but later no complaint was lodged. Later, an investigation carried out by the police revealed of no such incident. Officials claimed that crackers were bursted which caused panic among the voters.
During the first hour, voting was recorded at 6 per cent but later the pace picked up as the day progressed with maximum polling taking place between 11am and 4 pm. The polling at booth number 126 in Government Senior Secondary School in Phase 3B2 was delayed by 45 minutes as the EVM failed to work. Similar problem was faced by the voters at polling booth number 96 where voting process was delayed by about 50 minutes as the voting machine developed a technical snag.
The constituency also had the pleasure to witness Olympic gold medalist shooter Abhinav Bindra cast his vote along with his family members at Chhat village. AAP leader Bhagwant Mann also casted his vote at a polling booth in Government Senior Secondary School in Phase 3B2. Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu came to cast his vote along with his family at Saint Soldier School in Phase 7 while the SAD candidate Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu and AAP candidate Narinder Singh Shergill did not cast their votes in the constituency. Tejinder casted his vote in Chandigarh while Shergill exercised his franchise in his native village Kharar.
In a bid to review the election process, District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner D S Mangat visited various polling stations and interacted with the public. Mangat said that for elections to be conducted peacefully, requisite arrangements were put in place by the district administration and a 726 polling booths were set up in the district. He said that the overall percentage recorded in the district was 71.8 per cent and added that total 3,129 officials have performed their duty during the elections on Saturday.
There were some complaints of technical snags in EVM machines at some polling booths but their staff immediately resolved the problem by replacing them. For the first time, the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) machines were used. “We faced some problems regarding the VVPATs but the machines were replaced and the process was exercised peacefully,” Mangat said.