Home News Punjab Municipal Elections 2021: Skirmishes Mar Voting as Polling for Over 100 Civic Bodies Held

Punjab Municipal Elections 2021: Skirmishes Mar Voting as Polling for Over 100 Civic Bodies Held

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Clashes between party workers, allegations of booth capturing and misuse of administrative machinery by the ruling Congress marred elections to eight municipal corporations and 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in Punjab on Sunday. The high octane civic body poll was the first ground level electoral battle after the farmers’ agitation began over the centre’s farm laws.

The political parties including ruling Congress and former ally of the BJP, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have pegged these civic polls as a `referendum’ on the farm laws.

A total of 9,222 candidates were in the fray for elections to 2,302 wards for the corporation and municipal councils and nagar panchayats. Incidents of violence were reported through the course of the polling in Muktsar, Ropar and Patiala. Nine people were wounded, a few serious, in a clash in Ropar. The clash followed a heated argument between supporters of Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal, who accused each other of trying to bribe voters in the ongoing civic body elections. Another clash was reported in Tarn Taran and in Guru Harsahai in Batala. Reports of a minor clash between Congress workers and the AAP workers in ward no. 7 at Tarn Taran also were brought to the notice of the State Election Commission. AAP workers staged a dharna in Samana against alleged high-handedness of Congress leaders. Reports of violence and booth capturing at various booths in Nabha, Rajpura and Patran

The opposition charged the ruling Congress party of indulging in large scale rigging and violence. “The ensuing poll violence show that the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is a killer of democracy. I demand his immediate resignation. Instead of protecting the people of Punjab he is promoting his goons and suppressing the people’s voices,” fumed Harpal Singh Cheema, Leader of Opposition in Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The ruling Congress, however, trashed these allegations and levelled allegations of poll irregularities on opposition parties.

All the main political parties had canvassed vigorously during the campaigning for the civic body elections in the state which will see assembly polls next year. Several Punjab ministers including Manpreet Singh Badal and Balbir Singh Sidhu had canvassed for the Congress nominees.

The SAD and the BJP are fighting these elections separately after the former walked out of the National Democratic Alliance over the farm laws issue last year. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and other party leaders campaigned for their party candidates. Senior Akal Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia, however, accused the State election commission of failing to conduct free and fair polls

The BJP leaders and candidates had faced farmers’ protest during campaigning with the saffron party accusing the Congress of unleashing hooliganism in the guise of farmers. The BJP, contesting o its own after three decades, is facing a huge political test. Also, the performance of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be keenly watched.

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