More than 1.25 lakh voters will queue up at 118 booths from 8am to 5pm across SAS Nagar municipal limits to elect 50 members of its first-ever corporation.
With around 50% (88 of 190) of the candidates in the fray being Independents, a three-pronged contest among them, SAD-BJP alliance and Congress is on the cards. The corporation area has been sealed and more than 800 cops will supervise the poll process. The results will be out on Thursday, February 26.
The Congress has declared its candidates on all 50 wards, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has fielded candidates in 17 wards and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded its candidates in the remaining 33 wards.
The SAD has been plagued by dissent and has spent considerable time resolving internal differences and taking care of the rebels. The issue came to a head when the SAD refused to provide tickets to the members recommended by realty baron Kulwant Singh.
He then went ahead to form his own party, known as the bucket party, which is also being referred as Aazad party. This group now has 36 candidates contesting as Independents and have bucket as the symbol. Kulwant had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections on a SAD ticket from Fatehgarh Sahib.
The SAD-BJP alliance, for now, fears these Independents more than the Congress.
In a reaction, senior SAD leadership criticised the rebels and also gave out a list of eight, who were expelled from the party.
Kulwant’s two sons, interestingly, had returned the SAD ticket. Now, Kulwant and one of his sons are also in the fray as Independents.
Internal bickering in SAD-BJP alliance
Internal bickering has been witnessed at ward number 20 where both the SAD and the BJP are contesting. Here, BJP candidate Sahibee Anand even complained to the election commission against SAD candidate Narinder Singh Lamba, alleging that he had been projecting himself as the lone candidate from the alliance contesting from the ward.
For the Congress, local MLA Balbir Sidhu took the onus and campaigned for each candidate. The party even alleged that Kulwant Singh had given Rs 5 lakh to one of the Congress candidate, pushing for the withdrawal of the candidature. However, the party did not say much against the rival SAD-BJP alliance and focused on the Independents.