Congress Sweeps Punjab Urban Body Polls, BJP Routed Amid Farmers' Protest
Punjab Local Body Poll Results: Only 1,003 BJP candidates contested this time.
The Congress party today made a clean sweep of Punjab's seven municipal corporations in the state local body polls. The party bagged all of them - Moga, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Abohar, Pathankot, Batala, and Bathinda - the last one also being the most stunning result of the day as it was after 53 years that it was returning to the Congress fold.
The Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Harsimrat Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which only recently parted ways with long-time ally BJP following the unrest kicked up among the state's farmers by the Centre's three new farm laws.
Congress MLA and state finance minister, Manpreet Singh Badal, represents the Bathinda urban assembly seat. He is also a cousin of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, making the polls a prestige battle this time.
History has been made today!— Manpreet Singh Badal (@MSBADAL) February 17, 2021
Bathinda will get a Congress Mayor for the 1st time in 53 years!
Thank you to ALL Bathinda residents.Congratulations to the people of Bathinda for a spectacular victory.
Kudos to all Congress candidates and workers, who toiled for this day. pic.twitter.com/Xvczq5MjfU
The emerging scenario may be perceived as a huge setback for the BJP since it was seen as an urban voter base party and had been in alliance with the SAD until outraged farmers of the states changed the dynamics over the past few months.
Up to 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats and seven municipal corporations went to the polls on February 14, witnessing 71.39 per cent turnout amid a raging protest spearheaded by farmers of the state against three new central laws.
Yesterday, re-polling was held in a few booths, the results of which will also be announced today. The poll panel has also ordered re-polling today in booth numbers 32 and 33 of the Mohali municipal corporation between 8 am to 4 pm. Therefore, counting for that corporation will be held only tomorrow.
Up to 9,222 candidates are in the fray overall. Of these, independents form the biggest chunk with 2,832; the Congress has the largest number of contestants among the official parties at 2,037 - its Muktsar candidate has already won unopposed. The BJP, which is facing fire on the farm laws front, has fielded only 1,003. The party is contesting without its Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance this time. The SAD itself has 1,569 candidates.Of the 2,215 wards in the reckoning, up to 1,480 are of general category, while 610 are in the Scheduled Caste and 125 in Backward Caste segments. The Punjab State Election Commission yesterday ordered deputy commissioners to appoint micro-observers for vote counting of sensitive and hypersensitive wards.
Opposition parties have accused the ruling Congress of "capturing booths" and "indulging in violence", according to a PTI report.
The elections were held amid thousands of farmers from the state, along with many of those from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, camping around Delhi since November in protest against the central laws. Over 150 protesters have died till now due to various reasons, including harsh weather and by suicide.
The protest burst into violence on January 26 and has, since, gained international attention.