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Punjab's Chief Electoral Officer tests positive for COVID

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Google Oneindia News

Chandigarh, Jan 10: Punjab's Chief Electoral Officer Dr S Karuna Raju has tested positive for COVID-19. The news came just a day after the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Assembly Election in Punjab and four other states.

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Punjab is likely to see a five-cornered contest this election, a marked shift from a traditional duel between the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal.

It is going to be a keenly-watched contest with the Congress, the AAP, the SAD-BSP alliance, and the BJP-PLC-SAD (Sanyukt) battling to form the government in the state, with a probable entry of farmers' front in the form of Sanyukt Samaj Morcha.

Nineteen farmer bodies, which participated in a protest against the Centre's three farm laws, have also declared to test electoral waters.

Whether they contest all assembly seats, it is yet to be seen.

Punjab's political landscape witnessed major changes in the last more than one year with the Shiromani Akali Dal breaking its ties with the BJP over the farm laws issue and stitching a new alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party.

After facing heat over the farm laws, the SAD in September 2020 quit the National Democratic Alliance and Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the union cabinet.

The SAD in June 2021 formed an alliance with the Mayawati-led BSP under which, the Akalis will fight on 97 seats and BSP on 20 seats.

After the Akali Dal parted ways, the BJP, which used to contest on 23 seats, forged an alliance with former chief minister Amarinder Singh's Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).

Amarinder Singh was made to resign as the Chief Minister by the Congress last year over his bitter power tussle with Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Later he decided to form his own party.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which is the main opposition party in Punjab, has announced to go alone.

The SAD and the AAP have announced their candidates for the polls. The former has named candidates for over 90 assembly seats while the latter has declared names of 104 contestants.

The Congress is yet to declare any candidate, though deliberations within the party's screening committee are underway.

Punjab has a total of 117 assembly seats.

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