About 12% of the sarpanches across Punjab have been elected unopposed amid allegations by the Congress and the People's Party of Punjab (PPP) of misuse of official machinery by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The panchayat polls are scheduled to be held on July 3.
Of the 13,080 posts of sarpanch, 1,841 have been filled unopposed, while 30,044 nominations have been filed for the remaining 11,239 posts. Around 1.15 lakh nominations have been filed for 81,412 posts of panch, with 23,655 panches being elected unopposed.
The opposition parties have been alleging that nomination papers of several of their candidates for the posts of sarpanch and panch were rejected unjustifiably.
The highest number (263) of sarpanches were elected unopposed in Ferozepur district, which includes Jalalabad assembly segment represented by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal. The lowest figure (22) is in Bathinda district.
The Punjab State Election Commission on Wednesday finished the process of scrutinising 25,773 nomination papers for 13,080 posts of sarpanch and 1.02 lakh nominations for 81,412 posts of panch.
In a few villages, people have elected panchayats unopposed, cutting across party lines. Two such villages are Lubana and Dhanetha in Patiala district, where panchayats were elected unanimously with members of the SAD as well as the Congress, besides Independents.
Unlike the zila parishad elections that witnessed four deaths last month, there has been no major incident of violence in the run-up to the panchayat elections so far.