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Punjab campaign ends, Cong vs SAD-BJP contest on Sunday

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

Campaigning ended Friday evening for the 13 seats in Punjab, which saw the and the SAD-BJP combine launching blistering attacks against each other over the in 1984 and the more recent desecration of religious scriptures.

In the fray for Sunday's elections are Sukhbir Singh Badal, and Aam Aadmi Party's

Two Union ministers, Badal's wife (Bathinda) and (Amritsar), are also in the field of 278 candidates, 24 of them women.

heavyweights in the single-phase polling in the state include former Union ministers (Anandpur Sahib) and (Patiala).

In Gurdaspur, BJP candidate has banked on his star appeal, reminding people of the patriotic characters he has played in films like

Apart from the 13 constituencies, polling will also take place in the adjacent union territory of Chandigarh.

is trying to retain the Chandigarh seat in a three-corner contest, which includes former Union ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress) and Harmohan Dhawan (AAP).

On most of the 13 seats, the contest appears to be a direct fight between the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal-alliance.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which surprised many in the 2014 elections by winning four seats, is now trying to keep its flock together.

A conglomeration of several political outfits, the led by rebel Sukhpal Singh Khaira, is also contesting on all 13 seats. It is projecting itself as a third front in the state.

In 2014, the and the had won four seats each, the Congress three and the BJP two.

In the last phase of campaigning, Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani held a series of meetings in Punjab.

For the Congress, its chief and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and cricketer-turned-politician came campaigning.

Congress queered the pitch for his party by seemingly trivialising the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, allowing the BJP to latch on to the issue.

and Priyanka Gandhi in turn harped on the incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 when the SAD-BJP combine was in power in the state.

One rally was in Bargari, the epicentre of the protests which followed the incidents.

and his deputy tried highlight the AAP's governance model while seeking votes.

The Punjab contestants include 10 sitting MPS and nine MLAs.

The Congress, the ruling party in the state, has fielded four sitting MPs from Amritsar, Ludhiana, and

The BJP replaced its sitting with MLA Som Parkash in Hoshiarpur.

The has again reposed its faith in and

The Akali Dal is trying to regain lost ground. In the 2017 assembly polls, the was relegated to the third spot with just 15 seats out of 117.

Under their seat-sharing arrangement between the two allies, the is contesting on 10 seats and the BJP on three.

There are 2,07,81,211 registered voters in Punjab, including 560 identified as transgender.

In adjoining Chandigarh, 36 candidates, including nine women, are contesting. There are 6,46,063 registered voters there, including 21 transgender people.

About 17,500 people in the UT are first-time voters.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 17 2019. 18:36 IST