Clean sweep by Cong in Punjab civic polls

Monday 18th December 2017 07:55 EST

Chandigarh: The ruling Congress has won the municipal elections to Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar and for 29 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in Punjab held on Sunday. Voting was mostly peaceful, but was marred by several incidents of violence that led to police lathicharge in many places of Patiala.

Patiala, the assembly constituency of chief minister Capt Amrinder Singh, registered the highest percentage of over 62.22% voting. The percentage in Jalandhar was 58% and in Amritsar it was 52%. The Congress won in 20 out of 29 municipal councils and nagar panchayats. No elections were held for three municipal councils or nagar panchayats which elected their councillors unopposed. An official spokesperson said out of 414 wards, the Congress won in 267, Shiromani Akali Dal in 37, BJP in 15, AAP in 1 and independents in 94 wards.

The ruling party performed well in Jalandhar as it won 65 of 80 wards in the municipal corporation and SAD-BJP combine was reduced to 13 wards. The Aam Aadmi Party fails to win a single seat, but Independents won in 2 wards. In Amritsar, Congress won 64 of 85-wards. The SAD-BJP combine trailed far behind with 13 wards and others managed to win in eight wards. In the Patiala municipal corporation, the Congress routed the opposition parties and won 59 of the 60 wards. The state election commission ordered re-poll in Patiala ward No. 37 after receiving a complaint that the electronic voting machine has been damaged.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said his party would approach the Punjab and Haryana high court and demand a CBI probe into violence and booth capturing. The party also demanded immediate dismissal of state election commissioner Jagpal Singh Sandhu for lowering the dignity of high office. In Patiala, there were reports that some voters had been turned back from the polling booths without getting a chance to cast their votes. The SAD and AAP leaders held protests against the Amarinder government. There were reports of violence and booth capturing in some wards of Patiala. In ward 14, three shops and three vehicles were damaged and there were reports that SAD candidate Jaspal Singh Bittu Chatha had opened fire in the air during the election process. The police had to resort to lathicharge in this ward in which two journalists were injured.

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