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Polling for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll underway

Polling for the high-stakes Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll was underway here today in which the Congress is hoping to consolidate its position and the BJP trying to regain its lost ground. The seat, which fell vacant following the death of actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna of the BJP in April, is witnessing a three-cornered race among Congress, BJP and AAP contestants.

While the Congress has fielded its Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar, the BJP has fielded businessman Swaran Salaria. The AAP has placed bet on Major General (retd) Suresh Khajuria.

Voters could be seen standing in queues at various polling booths in the morning for voting. As many as 15.22 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the by-election being fought by 11 candidates. Of the total electorate of 15,22,922 in the constituency, 7,12,077 are women and 14 belong to a third gender, official said.

Around 30 companies of paramilitary forces and more than 7,000 Punjab Police personnel have been deployed in the constituency. The voting on the parliamentary seat started at 8 am and will go on till 5 pm. A total of 1,781 polling stations have been set up at 1,257 locations, of which 457 have been declared vulnerable and 83 critical.

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