Punjab civic bodies polls: 163 candidates elected unopposed

  • PTI, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 18, 2015 20:15 IST

A total of 163 candidates, mostly of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, have been elected unopposed in the elections to the urban local bodies in the state.

Elections to the six municipal corporations and 122 municipal council and nagar panchayats in Punjab are to be held on February 22 and 25.

Three out of total of 1,269 candidates for the municipal corporations and 160 of the total of 7,006 for the municipal councils and nagar panchayats, were elected unopposed, state election commissioner SS Brar on Wednesday said.

Though Aam Aadmi Party had won four Lok Sabha seats from Punjab in its maiden foray in parliamentary polls, the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit is not contesting the civic body polls.

The six municipal corporations are Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Moga, Mohali, Pathankot and Phagwara. 300 wards.

At present Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Moga and Phagwara are held by SAD-BJP alliance candidates while Mohali and Pathankot are held by Congress.

Brar said that preparations have been completed for conducting a "fair and impartial" polls.

He said that the state election office had so far received 100 complaints by different candidates. "The complaints are of not serious nature...these include official interference in the election process, name deletion from voters list and police interference," he said.

He said that the election expenditure per candidate is fixed between the range of Rs 2.7 lakh to Rs 1.85 lakh.

On the occasion ADGP (Elections) C S R Reddy said that some 12,000 police personnel will be deployed to ensure smooth conduct of polling.

While total polling stations for corporations are 309, the number of polling stations for councils and nagar panchayats is 1,486.

There are 43 hyper-sensitive polling stations for the six corporations as against 163 such stations for the councils and nagar panchayats, he said.

Brar said that polling hours would be from 8 am to 4 pm and the results will be declared on February 26.

He said a total 3,600 EVMs will be used for the polling process and 66 observers have been deployed in the state.

On 15 candidates being elected unopposed in Guru Harshai Nagar Council amid Congress' claim that their candidates were not allowed to file nomination papers, Brar said that "it is under investigation whether the election should be held or not."

He said a total of 10,400 arms had been deployed ahead of the polls.

The key players in the field are ruling SAD-BJP alliance candidates, opposition Congress and contestants of Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP).

Brar said out of the total candidates, some 2500 are women while there is one transgender contesting from Fatehgarh Sahib.

Both the ruling SAD-BJP alliance and Congress is plagued by severe infighting.

SAD and BJP had expelled over 100 candidates for not withdrawing their nominations in favour of party candidates.

These include SAD's Lok Sabha candidate Kulwant Singh, a businessmen-turned politician. He had lost the last Lok Sabha polls from Fatehgarh Sahib Lk Sabha seat.

The civic polls are fought on party symbols and will be a litmus test for SAD-BJP alliance and Congress, which is out of power in the state for over seven years, ahead of 2017 assembly polls in the state.

The total number of voters is 7.91 lakh. Each municipal corporation in the state had 50 wards.

Key issues include shortage of drinking water, sewerage lines, waterlogging, inadequate water supply, parking problems, garbage disposal, stray animals and encroachments in market corridors.

Meanwhile, in the field, popular patriotic songs are being played daily through loudspeakers by the campaigners.

Songs such as 'Mere desh ki dharti sona ugley, Ugley heerey moti' and Rafi's song 'Apni azadi ko ham hargiz mita sakte nahi' can be heard in the streets during the canvassing.

Key leaders, including chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Congress chief minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa have refrained from electoral campaigning.

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