Punjab civic polls: Congress celebrates sweeping victory, SAD-BJP allege poll rigging
The Amarinder Singh-led Congress in Punjab secured a sweeping majority in the three municipal corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar, and Patiala which went to polls on Sunday. There were as many as 925 candidates in the fray to the three municipal corporations, with the ruling Congress, the SAD-BJP and the AAP contesting in the elections.
Amid tight security, 29 municipal councils and nagar panchayats along with the local bodies of three cities went to polls, the results of which were announced today.
The Congress won the wards in the three corporations, prompting celebrations by the party workers in the ruling camp. Congress secured a resounding victory by bagging 66 out of 80 wards in Jalandhar, 56 out of 60 wards in Patiala and in Amritsar the party managed to win 69 of the 85 wards. While SAD-BJP combine won eight wards in Jalandhar and six wards in Amritsar. The AAP was routed in the poll race as it lost all the contested 11 wards.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh issued a statement this evening saying, “I congratulate people of Punjab for not succumbing to the pressure tactics of the opposition, which had tried hard to derail the free and democratic poll process with its cheap gimmickry and provocative acts.”
He cited reports of Akali workers allegedly threatening voters to stay at home and to not come out to cast their ballots. Singh Said, “The SAD-BJP combine, faced with imminent defeat, had stooped to historic lows in a desperate bid to wrest these polls. The Opposition had used all possible tactics – from open threats to misleading statements and rumour mongering – to intimidate the voters, but failed miserably.”
Punjab civic polls 2017 LIVE UPDATES: Clean sweep by Congress, CM Amarinder Singh hails victory
Hailing the high voter turnout as a moral victory, the Punjab CM said, “The people of Punjab had once again shown their political maturity and courage in fighting the nefarious designs of the SAD-BJP combine and AAP, both of which had been completely wiped into oblivion from the electoral landscape of the state.”
There were reports of sporadic incidents of violence in Patiala, which prompted Shiromani Akali Dal to demand a cancellation of the polls in Patiala. The party also alleged rigging at a few polling booths in the city. “We are going to High Court against this criminal conspiracy” Sukhbir Singh Badal was quoted as saying by ANI.
BJP demanded a re-poll in Patiala, Ghagga and some wards in Mullanpur Dakha and Jalandhar, alleging a violation of model code and misuse of machinery by the ruling Congress. Aam Aadmi Party workers marched towards Amarinder Singh’s private residence in protest over alleged rigging.
Earlier in the day, Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar issued a statement towards the end of polling thanking the people and party workers for ensuring smooth and impressive turnout in the Municipal Council and Municipal Committee elections.
Jakhar alleged that SAD tried to intimidate voters, he said, “Akalis tried their best to scare the voters away from the booths, especially in areas where the Congress has a strong hold, but failed to intimidate them.” He added: “The preparations made by Captain Amarinder Singh government ensured that the situation remained under control.”
Jakhar thanked Congress workers for maintaining peace in the face of provocative acts of violence by the opposition.