Heavy voting in Punjab: Who will pay a heavy price?
Each of the three main players in Punjab's political spectrum this time, the ruling Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine, the Congress and the newly floated People's Party of Punjab (PPP), are claiming that Monday's heavy voting will go in its favour. But the ground reality for all of them and their leaders is that the high voter turnout has increased the uncertainty.
The 76.63 percent voting this time by the state's 17,683,559 voters, 8,361,014 of whom were women, was higher than the previous voting record set in the state in the 2007 assembly polls. At that time, 75.47 percent of the electorate had cast their vote and the Akali Dal-BJP had come into power with 68 seats.
While the Akali Dal-BJP is now claiming that the high turnout was due to the "pro-incumbency" factor, the opposition Congress is sure that the high percentage would vote out the present government led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
"The Congress is certain to get more than 70 seats in the elections. The very fact that people voted in overwhelming numbers all across the state is a clear indication that people were upset with the Akali-BJP government and they came out to vote against the government's misrule and non-performance," Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who spearheaded the Congress campaign, said after voting ended.
"We are confident that people have reposed faith in us and the results are likely to go beyond our expectations. The feedback we are getting is that the Congress is forming the next government in Punjab."
Even the betting syndicate is putting its money on the Congress to come to power this time. Counting of votes takes place March 6.