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Punjab poll results 2017 | Live updates: Counting begins, 14,000 staff on the job

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Punjab poll results 2017 | Live updates: Counting begins, 14,000 staff on the job








An unprecedented three-way election in Punjab ends on Saturday as more than 20 million votes are counted to elect a new assembly.
Exit polls have predicted a drubbing for incumbent CM Parkash Singh Badal and his ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance. But the forecast is split between the Congress -- led by former royal Amarinder Singh – and rookie Aam Aadmi Party, powered by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, on who will form the next government.
Catch live updates on the Punjab assembly election results — latest on top:
8.30 am Leads: Congress on 6 seats; SAD-BJP on 2; AAP+ on 1
8 am Counting begins; first trends to be out soon, according to EC; postal ballots to be counted first. The fate of 1,145 candidates, including 81 women, will be known by afternoon. A total of 77.4% of the 1.98 crore electors in Punjab voted on February 4. “Over 14,000 officials will be involved in counting,” Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh said. The counting started amid uncertainty and possibility of a hung house. The main contenders for powers are the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). A party needs 59 seats to gain a simple majority in the assembly. The by-election to the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, vacated by Congress leader Capt Amarinder Singh who is hoping to become CM now, was also held with the assembly polls.
7.45 am Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh turns 75 today. In the final hours before counting on Saturday, there was no talk of celebrations. Amarinder will be tracking the poll results from his private residence in Sector 10, Chandigarh, and address the media around noon. He would head home to Patiala only if he wins. 

March 11, Saturday, 7:21 am: Counting of votes for the three-way race to power in Punjab is set to begin at 8 am.
March 11, Saturday, 1:00 am: Punjabis overseas track poll results back home, book halls for public viewing. Read full story here.
March 11, Saturday, 12.15 am: ‘SAD America’ happy to bet $100,000 on win for Sukhbir from Jalalabad!
March 10, Friday, 11.30pm The EC have made arrangements for public viewing of the poll results. On all important places in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala, EC is putting up big screen for the general public to watch the results. “We want to involve people in final process of the polling also,” said CEO Punjab VK Singh.
11.00pm Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal says the politicians know how to manipulate the exit polls. “We cannot trust these exit polls. We are politicians; we know how these exit polls are manipulated. We cannot completely trust these polls. All these exit polls will prove to be false,” Harsimrat told ANI. She further said it was always best to talk less about the exit polls assuring that the SAD-BJP alliance will win the Punjab elections with majority of votes.
10.30pm Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi says the counting process will be done according to the rules and will be free from any kind of malpractices, so, that the correct choice of voters is reflected. He says before the counting process starts, the counting supervisors will ask counting agents to be satisfied if the machine, which is being subjected to counting, is the same that was used at the polling stations. After the counting agent is satisfied that the EVM is preserved and has not been subjected to any malpractice, then the results come out.
10.00pm More than 800 officials and security personnel have been deployed at different locations that house electronic voting machines (EVMs) of all 8 assembly constituencies of the Patiala district. Deputy commissioner-cum-district election officer Ramvir Singh inspects all these locations to take stock of the last-minute arrangement before Saturday’s counting.
9.30pm Over 150 cops, led by an additional deputy commissioner of police, are set to man each centre in Ludhiana. A three-tier security arrangement will be in place at every counting centre, with paramilitary forces stationed at the outer circle, district police and force from Punjab armed police (PAP) at the two inner circles of security. Deputy commissioner of police Mandeep Singh Sidhu says cops have already been deputed at all the counting centres and police chief Jatinder Singh Aulakh reviewed all the security arrangements on Friday.

Vehicles of election officials outside Indoor Gymnasium at Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana where EVM machines are kept under tight security. (Gurminder Singh/HT Photo)
9.00pm Congress candidate from Amritsar East and party’s star campaigner Navjot Singh Sidhu says, “It’s time for the Badals to fade away as new sunrise awaits the state”. When questioned on exit polls, the cricketer-turned-politician said: “Janta ka faisla hai, aap jaan jaoge kal (you will know the people’s mandate tomorrow).” Read here

Navjot Sidhu outside Amritsar airport on Friday. (Gurpreet Singh/HT Photo)
8.30pm Non-resident Punjab diaspora have taken offs from the duties and have made special arrangements in their respective cities to be part of the mega-event. The AAP supporters have booked a banquet hall and have invited people to join. In other Canadian city Toronta, local residents have booked a marriage hall in Brampton. Similar arrangements have been made in California, USA to track the poll results.
8.00pm Prominent politicians in the Malwa region say they will continue working in public life, irrespective of the assembly poll verdict. All are also hopeful of their respective parties at the helm of affairs for the next five years.
7.00pm The election commission (EC) announces complete prohibition on the sale and supply of liquor all over Punjab on Saturday. The Punjab chief electoral office has been directed to ensure absolute compliance with the directions. Read here
6.30pm In Jalandhar, more than 2,000 cops including a company of paramilitary force have been deployed around the centres. Entry of commuters will not be allowed near the Kapurthala road from Basti Bawa Khel Canal Bridge to Kapurthala Chowk in the city from Saturday from 5.30 am till the time counting ends. CCTV cameras have been installed outside the counting centres and regular police patrolling will also take place outside the venue. Read here

Police officials deployed out side a counting hall in Jalandhar on Friday. (Pardeep Pandit/HT Photo)

4.00pm Hoping to do well in the Punjab elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be installing a giant screen at the office of its Lok Sabha candidate Upkaar Sandhu. In a message on social media, AAP has invited all its party volunteers there to catch the live updates of the results.

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