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Posted at: May 19, 2019, 6:49 AM; last updated: May 19, 2019, 7:43 AM (IST)

Candidates take time off before D-Day

In Amritsar, Puri mingles with locals, Aujla visits MLAs | Jalandhar candidates relax at home

Neeraj Bagga & Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Amritsar/Jalandhar, May 18

A day after campaigning came to an end, candidates of all political parties today took some time off, even as some of them went door-to-door to meet voters and interacted with people at public places.

Even as 30 candidates are in fray from the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency, the main contest is between Congress’ Gurjeet Singh Aujla and SAD-BJP’s Hardeep Singh Puri.

In the morning, Puri along with his wife Lakshmi Puri and supporters had tea and “kachori” at a tea stall on the Cooper road. Later, they had breakfast at an eatery in the Ranjit Avenue locality.

Congress nominee Aujla went to the residences of party MLAs OP Soni, Raj Kumar Verka, Sunil Dutti, Inderbir Singh Bolaria and other senior leaders. He discussed with them the arrangements made for polling booths and deployment of polling agents.

Meanwhile, sources said ward and Mohalla leaders of various political parties were seen distributing liquor in their respective areas. A resident said got two bottles of whisky from leaders of two parties. The sources claimed that this was not an isolated case as such activities were going on in various parts of the district.

The nine Assembly segments in the constituency will have 1,601 booths for 15,00,940 voters, comprising 7,94,847 male, 7,06,035 women and 58 third gender.

Two assembly segments of the border district, namely Jandiala Guru and Baba Bakala, have been clubbed with the adjoining Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.

In Jalandhar, the aged candidates preferred to take some rest, while their sons took the charge of dispatching the teams of polling agents and booth managers to various locations in the constituency.

Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Charanjit Atwal (82) said he came to his office in the evening after taking a nap at home. “I have not gone out anywhere. I have not made any calls today. People are themselves coming to meet me and I am attending them all. I have not sent out any teams of workers for setting up booths. My two sons are managing all such affairs. I have just given them one instruction that we will not offer booze to voters, even if our rivals engage in such tactics,” he said.

As the candidate said this, his younger son Rocky Atwal showed him some appeals being made in his favour on the social media but he did not seem much interested. “I am not cyber literate,” he laughs. His elder son and former MLA Inder Iqbal Atwal shared plan for the D-Day, “We all are voters from Ludhiana as we did not shift them here. So we will be moving homewards tonight, will cast vote in the morning and start for Jalandhar early covering Phillaur, Goraya and Nakodar first.”

Being a Chandigarh resident and voter, AAP candidate Justice Zora Singh (retd) (69), too, says that he will try visiting most polling booths tomorrow till afternoon and head homewards to cast his vote with his family. He said he took some rest in the day today before joining his son to dispatch teams of polling agents and booth managers.

Congress candidate Chaudhary Santokh Singh (72) took out some time to make an appeal to voters on social media. His pre-recorded voice messages were also being sent across on mobile phones to voters of the area to make an appeal. He tells, “Despite a hectic schedule, I have gained 2 kg weight as I have not been able to go to gym. I am waiting to resume my schedule”.

Being a young BSP candidate, Balwinder Kumar (39) says, “It is no relaxation day for me. After a hectic campaign, today I remained busy strategising booth management and passing on instructions to the teams. I specifically told them to attend to first-time voters well and ensure a positive atmosphere for them. Meanwhile, I am giving calls to some influential people who can help sway more votes in my favour.”

All candidates being wary of any last-minute polarisation of votes in the reserved constituency did not even once take the name of the gurdwara or temple they would want to visit before starting their day tomorrow. While Congress, BSP and AAP candidates are Ravidassias, the SAD candidate is a Valmik.

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