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'Substantial Increase' In First-time Voters in Punjab: Chief Electoral Officer

Chandigarh: There has been a “substantial increase” in the number of first-time voters in Punjab, which is about 1.24 percent of the total 1.97 crore electorates in the state, a senior election commission official said on Thursday.

Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vijoy Kumar Singh said the electoral roll has 3,67,077 voters in the age group of 18-19 years. The state goes to poll on February 4.

He said it was a “substantial increase” in the number of first-time voters.

The number of voters in Punjab is 1,97,49,964, including 1,04,40,310 males and 93,09,274 females. There are 380 third-gender voters, he added. He said the total number of Non-Resident Indian voters are 281.

He said 22,600 polling stations will be set up in Punjab for the 117 assembly constituencies.

Briefing about the pre-emptive measures taken by the Punjab Police in the run up to the elections, ADGP (Elections) H S Bhawra said 1,330 FIRs were registered under the NDPS Act in the past four months.

“1,565 people were arrested under the NDPS Act,” he said adding that around 2,000 proclaimed offenders, including absconders, have been rounded up from across the state. A total of 13,387 non-bailable warrants were executed and 5,276 potential trouble-makers were identified out of which 3,425 were taken into preventive custody, he said.

He said 22 sniffer dogs have been deployed in various districts and checking was being carried out for narcotic substance with the help of these dogs.

He said that 43 officers of Narcotic Control bureau have been deputed in Punjab and strict checking is being carried out to stop inflow of drugs to Punjab. In its drive against illicit arms, 123 weapons have been seized, he said.

He said there are 3,85,000 licenced arm holders in the state out of which around 92,000 weapons had been deposited.

Bhawra said flag marches were today conducted in all the 22 districts of the state and 50 companies, comprising 100 personnel each, have been deployed in the state. He said that over 250 companies more have been demanded from the election commission for deployment in the state. He said that four Flying Squads and Static Surveillance teams have been deployed in the assembly constituencies.