A record 328 candidates in poll fray in Punjab

  • | Monday | 20th May, 2024

Punjab, this time, has witnessed a remarkable surge in candidate numbers for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. With a staggering 328 contenders throwing their hats into the electoral ring across the states 13 parliamentary constituencies, this election cycle has shattered records, surpassing the previous tallies of 253 in 2014 and 278 in 2019.   The states Chief Electoral Officer Sibin C, sharing the details on Friday, said that a total of 328 candidates will contest the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, after a total of 25 candidates withdrew their names by the last date for withdrawal of nominations.   Earlier, 466 candidates had filed 598 nominations in the State between May 7 and 14. After the scrutiny and withdrawal of papers on May 15-16, and May 17, respectively, the total number of candidates has come down to 328, including 302 male and 26 female candidates.   As the last date for withdrawals passed, it became evident that the election field had swelled. The CEO revealed that Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency boasted the highest number of candidates, with a staggering 43 contenders vying for victory, including 41 males and two females. Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, sitting MP and BJP leader Ravneet Singh Bittu, AAP MLA Ashok Prashar Pappi, and SADs Ranjit Singh Dhillon are battling it out from Ludhiana.   In contrast, Fatehgarh Sahib Constituency has the lowest number of 14 candidates, with 13 being male and one female contestant.   Following the completion of the nomination process, Sibin C emphasized the importance of adhering to the Election Commission of Indias (ECI) Model Code of Conduct (MCC). He urged all political parties and candidates to maintain decorum and refrain from making unverified allegations or engaging in distortions during the campaign.   Providing a breakdown of the candidates contesting from each constituency, Sibin C highlighted the gender distribution, noting that out of the total 328 candidates, 302 were male, and 26 were female. Highest 41 male candidates are contesting from Ludhiana; while highest number of female contestants, four, are trying their luck from Amritsar.   Various constituencies across Punjab witnessed a diverse range of candidates stepping into the electoral arena, with Ludhiana, Amritsar, and Khadoor Sahib among those displaying a significant number of contenders. Even as 26 female candidates are in fray, no women candidate has entered the poll arena from Ferozepur and Khadoor Sahib segments.   In addition to outlining the candidate statistics, Sibin C reiterated the guidelines and regulations set forth by the ECI to ensure a free and fair electoral process. He emphasized the prohibition of loudspeaker usage during specific hours, compliance with traffic regulations, and the necessity of displaying identification badges during campaigns. Political workers must display badges or identity cards and vehicle restrictions during the campaign and on polling day must be obeyed. Complaints should be reported to election officials, he said.   The CEO added that unofficial voter identity slips should be on plain white paper without symbols or candidate names. Non-voters and non-candidates must leave the constituency after the campaign. Corrupt practices, such as bribery and undue influence, and electoral offenses, such as canvassing within 100 meters of polling stations, are prohibited, he added.   Additionally, he reminded candidates of the penalties outlined in the Representation of People Act, 1951, for disorderly conduct during public meetings. Demonstrations or picketing outside private residences are prohibited. Police assistance should be sought to manage disruptions at political meetings. Section 127 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, penalizes disorderly conduct at public meetings with imprisonment up to six months, a fine up to Rs 2000, or both, he added.   Sharing information about the candidates, the CEO said that 30 candidates are in fray from Amritsar; 29 from Ferozepur; 28 each from Anandpur Sahib and Faridkot; 27 from Khadoor Sahib; 26 each from Patiala and Gurdaspur; 23 from Sangrur; 20 from Jalandhar; 18 from Bathinda; 16 from Hoshiarpur; and 14 from Fatehgarh Sahib.   BOX Constituency-wise Candidates Constituency Total Candidates Male Female Ludhiana 43 41 2 Amritsar 30 26 4 Ferozepur 29 29 - Anandpur Sahib 28 26 2 Faridkot 28 26 2 Khadoor Sahib 27 27 - Patiala 26 23 3 Gurdaspur 26 23 3 Sangrur 23 22 1 Jalandhar 20 17 3 Bathinda 18 15 3 Hoshiarpur 16 14 2 Fatehgarh Sahib 14 13 1 TOTAL 328 302 26  

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