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Campaigning ends in Punjab, Amritsar remains in focus

Posted on Apr 29 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, April 28 : All eyes were on the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat as campaigning ended on all 13 seats in Punjab Monday evening. Polling in the state will be held Wednesday.

Nearly 1.96 crore eligible voters will decide the fate of 253 candidates who are in the fray this time. The main contest is between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance and the Congress. The presence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to make the contest three-cornered on some seats.

The big contest is in Amritsar where senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who is fighting a popular election for the first time, is locked in a bitter contest with former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress.

Amarinder Singh took out a big road show in Amritsar and adjoining areas.

On the last day of campaigning Monday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Bathinda for the Congress-Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP) joint candidate Manpreet Singh Badal, the estranged nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Manpreet is challenging the chief minister's daughter-in-law Harsimrat Badal.

The entry of AAP will change the equation on at least 7-8 seats in the state. Some of the AAP candidates like comedian-actor turned politician Bhagwant Mann, lawyer-activist H.S.Phoolka and cardiologist-social activist Dharamveer Gandhi have campaigned hard on their respective seats.

Big leaders in the fray include Punjab Congress president and sitting MP Pratap Singh Bajwa against three-time BJP MP and actor Vinod Khanna from Gurdaspur seat, union minister and Amarinder's wife Preneet Kaur (Congress) from Patiala, former union minister Ambika Soni (Congress) from Anandpur Sahib, Mann (AAP) from Sangrur and Phoolka (AAP) from Ludhiana.

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