Punjab MC polls: 69% voting, peaceful
Polling was largely peaceful as 69% voters turned out to exercise their franchise for the six Punjab municipal corporations on Sunday. The elections were reduced to a contest between the official candidates of the SAD-BJP alliance and the rebels who contested as independents almost on all wards.chandigarh Updated: Feb 23, 2015 10:29 IST
Polling was largely peaceful as 69% voters turned out to exercise their franchise for the six Punjab municipal corporations on Sunday.
The elections were reduced to a contest between the official candidates of the SAD-BJP alliance and the rebels who contested as independents almost on all wards.
The overall turnout recorded for the Bathinda, Moga, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot and Mohali corporations was 68.9%, with Pathankot witnessing the highest voting at 74%.
ALSO READ:Pathankot on top, Mohali turnout dismal
In light of the recent strained relations between the SAD and the BJP, the civic polls were being seen as a contest between the candidates of the alliance partners, but things changed with rebels taking centrestage almost everywhere. They broke away from their parent parties days before the polls and ended up opposing their official candidates.
There were reports of stray incidents of violence and bogus voting from Mohali and Bathinda. The police had declared 90% of the polling stations sensitive and hypersensitive. The bypoll in a ward of Jalandhar municipal corporation and two of Patiala civic body was peaceful.
Also Read: 68.90% voting recorded in six Punjab MCs
There was a limited role of the main opposition party, the Congress, as the grassroots cadre failed to show enthusiasm because of factionalism in its top leadership.
Despite a majority of its population being literate, Mohali had the lowest poll percentage at 60.48%. Five corporations except Bathinda went to the polls for the first time after being elevated from a council to a corporation. Bathinda reported 67% polling, Hoshiarpur 67.26%, Moga 72.33% and Phagwara 73%. The increase in polling time by an hour is seen as the reason for the heavy turnout.
In Mohali, incidents of violence were attributed to the Akali workers who were opposed by a strong group led by former municipal council president Kulwant Singh. He had fielded 36 independent candidates on the common symbol, bucket. Two persons were arrested at Kumbra village for their alleged role in bogus voting.
In Hoshiarpur, the SAD contested on 17 wards and the BJP on the remaining 33. Rakesh Sud, wife of former BJP minister Tikshan Sud, who was elected unopposed, has emerged as a mayoral candidate.
Also Read: Phagwara records 73%; Hoshiarpur at 67%
Enthusiastic BJP cadres
The main reason behind the overwhelming response in Pathankot and Phagwara is the enthusiastic BJP cadres in both the civic bodies. The polls remained peaceful in Pathankot despite the fact that the SAD had fielded its candidates on 17 wards against the BJP offering them only four seats.
Phagwara had the lowest number of rebels as compared to other corporations, and the seat-sharing between the SAD (17) and the BJP (33) also went on smoothly here.
Also Read: Bathinda sees skirmishes, but polls largely peaceful
Unlike on previous occasions, the polls in Moga civic body remained peaceful despite the rebels contesting on almost all wards. Here, the contest was virtually between Moga MLA Joginder Pal Jain and state agriculture minister Tota Singh.
The polls in Bathinda, the citadel of Punjab’s ruling family -- the Badals -- were seen as an experiment as there was no violence unlike in the previous civic polls.
Also Read: Punjab MC elections: Heavy turnout in Moga too
No one from the Badal family had campaigned here and it seemed they had left it to the local leadership to decide for themselves.