‘Badals’ on Moga sky dampen Cong spirits... then came long queues
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Just when the opposition Congress was sure the Badals were away, clouds appeared on the Moga sky on the much-awaited polling day dampening party's hopes of a high voter turnout.
Within the course of the day, when the polling percentage failed to reach even the halfway mark, senior party leader Jagmeet Brar shot a request to Election Commission to extend the polling time by one hour.
"We requested the EC to extend the time as people were not able to come out in the early hours of the day due to heavy rains," he said at 3 pm when the polling percentage in urban Moga, seen as a Congress stronghold, had barely touched 30 per cent.
Though the EC had forwarded the request to Delhi, Chief Electoral Officer Kusumjit Sidhu said it was not feasible to extend the time as voters too had to be informed. The raining "Badals" worried the Congress more than the Akalis, as the party made no such request to the EC.
"We did not request the EC to extend the polling hours. The polling had picked up after rains subsided and there were long queues outside polling stations. By 4 pm, the polling had crossed 78 per cent in villages and 63 per cent in towns. It is a good turnout," SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said.
The Congress' worries subsided as people queued up outside polling stations after 3 pm. "The inclement weather, rains and slush kept affluent voters and women away. The polling percentage was also low among economically weaker sections. The ruling party tried to capture booths and went around the bastis distributing cash and telling voters not to come out and vote," state Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh said.
However, he was satisfied with the overall voting percentage. "In central wards of Moga and even in Jain's area we have done well. In rural areas too, our reports are fairly good," he added.
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