Chandigarh, Jan 30 (PTI) Over 21,000 people, deployed on election duty in Punjab forFebruary 4 polls, have already sealed the fate of candidates from their constituencies by casting their votes through postal ballots in all the districts.
“Several people deployed on election duty have cast their votes through postal ballots in 18 districts,” said a senior official posted in the state election office here today.
The total number of voters, who have cast their ballots so far are around 21,000, official said, adding the number of votes could be higher as detail from some districts were being collected.
In Punjab, there are around 1.88 lakh votes of polling staff which includes sector officers, zonal officers, returning officers, assistant returning officers, police personnel, staff of flying squads, static surveillance teams, staff at polling stations, drivers, clerks etc.
Persons deputed on election duty, who will not be able to cast their votes on the polling day, are facilitated by the Election Commission to exercise their franchise through postal ballots, the official said.
He said many staff people deputed on poll duty in 18 districts including Ludhiana, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Patiala, Mohali, Moga, Bathinda have so far casted their votes at the facilitation centres set up where they get training for poll duty.
The official said these votes shall be counted on March 11, the day when the vote counting will take place.
Postal ballots are issued to the poll staff after getting the form 12 duly filled in at the time of their training to enable them to cast their votes.
Punjab is set to witness three-cornered contest during Assembly polls with Congress, SAD-BJP and new entrant AAP vying to wrest power.
Notably, the defence personnel in Punjab will be able to cast their votes by using electronic postal ballot facility at four assembly constituencies for the first time in the upcoming state assembly elections.
To facilitate service voters, the Election Commission has introduced Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to help the service voters cast their votes in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections.
Significantly, the Election Commission has set a target to ensure 85 per cent voters turnout during Punjab Assembly polls.