Chandigarh: Polling to Punjab's six municipal corporations on Sunday passed off peacefully as an estimated 70 per cent of nearly 800,000 electorate sealed the fate of 1,263 candidates in the hustings. “The polling passed off peacefully...There was no report of major violence from anywhere...All EVMs functioned properly", State Election Commissioner S S Brar said. He said that as per initial reports, an estimated 70 per cent polling has taken place.
However, reports of minor incidents, including scuffles had been reported from Pathankot, Bathinda and Patiala. The results will be announced on February 26.
The polls are assumed as litmus test for SAD-BJP combine which have been ruling the state for more than seven years. In most of corporations, the Independents projected them to be of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) followers even as the party is not contesting the elections.
The polling was held for municipal bodies of Phagwara, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Mohali, Bathinda, Moga and by-elections to two wards of Patiala Municipal Corporation and one ward of Jalandhar Municipal Corporation.
Elections were held for 50 wards each of the corporations of Bathinda, Mohali and Moga, 49 wards each of Hoshiarpur and Pathankot and 47 wards of Phagwara. Four candidates have alady been elected unopposed on three wards of Phagwara and one ward of Hoshiarpur, Brar said.
The key players in the field are ruling SAD-BJP alliance candidates, opposition Congress and contestants of Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP). Aam Aadmi Party which swept Delhi Assembly polls, has stayed away from the civic polls. Congress, which is already facing infighting over leadership issue in the state, is aiming to strengthen its position at ground level.
Key issues in the run-up to the polls included shortage of drinking water, poor condition of roads, sewerage, waterlogging, parking problems, heaps of garbage, problem of stray animals and encroachments in market corridors.