The ruling Congress in Punjab today swept the civic elections, winning 267 of the 414 wards of municipal committees and nagar panchayats as well as the three municipal corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala. In Patiala, it won all wards. Repolling will be held in Patiala’s booth 3 of Ward 37 on December 19.
While AAP suffered a near rout, winning just one ward in Bholath, the SAD-BJP was victorious in 52 wards of municipal committees and nagar panchayats. Also, the alliance won 13 wards each in Amritsar and Jalandhar municipal corporations. Independents won 94 wards of municipal committees and nagar panchayats and 10 of municipal corporations.
Both the Aam Aadmi Party and SAD-BJP alleged booth-capturing and manhandling of candidates in Patiala and Ghanaur (Patiala), Mullanpur-Dakha and Sahnewal (Ludhiana) and Rajasansi (Amritsar).
A voter in Ghagga, Mahinder Singh (60), reportedly suffered a heart attack inside a polling booth after Congress and Akali workers locked horns over alleged bogus voting. He died later in the evening.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab co-convener Aman Arora too claimed high-handedness by the ruling party. “Isn’t it a shame that democracy was murdered in Patiala, which is represented by the CM and his senior-most minister Brahm Mohindra,” he remarked.
The SAD-BJP, that boycotted the election process in the afternoon citing “administrative failure to stop booth-capturing”, staged a dharna outside the office of State Election Commission (SEC) in Chandigarh after it refused to act on complaints. Calling the SEC a “dummy body”, Akali and BJP leaders sought the dismissal of the State Election Commissioner.
Pleased with the results, PPCC president and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar said it was a mandate in favour of the “positive policies” of the Amarinder Singh government. However, SAD president Sukhbir Badal termed it as a murder of democracy. “Despite court orders to videograph the polls at Patiala and Amritsar, this was not done. This is contempt of court and we will approach the High Court,” he said.
Win completes chain of power, says Sidhu
“Congress’ victory in the civic elections completes the chain of power. We have created history by hitting a hat-trick — 78 seats in Assembly, convincing win in Gurdaspur bypoll and now the local bodies. It’s a gift to new AICC president Rahul Gandhi.” Navjot Singh Sidhu, Local bodies minister