One person dies in group clash in Ferozepur Rural constituency

Barring a few incidents, the single-phase polling for the 117-member Punjab Assembly on Monday remained peaceful as initial estimates indicated a record turnout, which is likely to surpass the 75.45 per cent registered in 2007. When reports last came in, one person was killed and nine cases of poll-related violence were registered.

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Talking to journalists, Chief Electoral Officer Kusumjit Sidhu said one person died of bullet injuries when rival groups clashed in the Ferozepur Rural constituency. An old woman suddenly collapsed and died inside a polling station of the Anandpur Sahib constituency.

Thanking the people and those involved in the process for the smooth conduct of the elections, Ms. Sidhu said the final turnout figures would be compiled after the returning officers sent the reports from the constituencies separately. The commission had not ordered repoll anywhere across the State.

Polling across the State began at a brisk pace and there was no let up throughout the day. She said long queues were reported at polling stations after 5 p.m.

Journalist manhandled

A woman journalist of a leading Punjabi daily was manhandled in Nabha, while a scribe was allegedly slapped by Akali Dal legislator Amarpal Singh Bony in Ajnala. The police registered cases in both incidents.

The authorities replaced 70 malfunctioning electronic voting machines, though early reports said an attempt was made to tamper with a machine in Mansa district.

There were interesting reports of people using the 49-O facility to reject all the candidates in their constituencies. At Garhshankar in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district, as many as 80 citizens of a locality opted for the facility to voice their resentment against apathy by the authorities in providing basic civic amenities since Independence.

Ms. Sidhu said six television channels — Aaj Tak, Star News, Zee News, PTC, Times Now and NDTV — along with three newspapers — Ajit, Dainik Jagran and Jagbani — were issued notice for violating code of conduct on poll day.

On a complaint, the media monitoring committee scanned the content of the PTC coverage and found that the channel had interviewed more Akali Dal-BJP leaders than Opposition leaders. However, a final decision would be taken by the Election Commission, she said.