Voting for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat by-poll is underway in Punjab. By 3 pm 41 per cent voting has been recorded. BJP's Swaran Salaria and Congress' Sunil Jakhar contesting. The poll is being seen as a barometer for the popularity of the six-month-old Congress government in Punjab.
Also polling for byelection to Vengara assembly constituency in Malappuram district is taking place today.Vengara recorded 31.9 percentage polling by 11am.
The seat fell vacant following the demise of actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna of the BJP in April, is expected to witness a three-horse race between the Congress, the BJP and the AAP.
While the Congress has fielded its Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar, the BJP has put up businessman Swaran Salaria. The AAP has placed a bet on Major General (retd) Suresh Khajuria.
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 7,000 Punjab police personnel have been deployed in the constituency.
The main fight in Vengara this time is between IUML's K N A Khader, who earlier represented nearby Vallikkunnu segment in the Assembly between 2011 and 2016, and CPI(M)'s P P Basheer.
For IUML, an ally of the Congress in Kerala, KNA Khader will contest the Vengara bypoll whereas, the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has fielded PP Basheer as its candidate. The BJP has pitched K Janachandran Master for the election. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) announced KC Naseer as its candidate.
Vengara, a bottle-shaped Assembly constituency in Malappuram district of Kerala, is considered a stronghold of the IUML. It has a Muslim-majority population of over 48,000 people.
(With agency inputs)