The ruling alliance, despite its internal differences, is registering early victories in the upcoming civic polls with SAD-BJP candidates getting a walkover at many places.
In Bathinda, the alliance has won majority seats in the 13-seat nagar panchayats each at Maluka (8) and Bhai Rupa (7) and is only four seats away from victory at Rampura Phul municipal council.
On the 17-member council in Jaitu in Faridkot, seven SAD candidates have been elected unopposed. The party only needs two more members to be in majority.
In Mohali, the SAD is only five seats away from majority at Zirakpur municipal council with 11 SAD candidates declared unopposed in the 31-member council.
While at most places where SAD-BJP candidates have won unopposed, the Congress is crying hoarse that the nomination papers of their candidates have been rejected en masse on frivolous grounds, at some places the independents in the fray have been convinced or coerced to withdraw their nominations.
As many as 56 candidates, majority from the SAD-BJP and independents, have been elected unopposed to the 18 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in Bathinda district.
The Congress has boycotted polls in the 21-seat Rampura Phul municipal council and four nagar panchayats alleging bullying by SAD workers. Seven SAD-BJP candidates have won unopposed at Rampura Phul with reports suggesting that candidates who filed nominations as independents were “convinced” by the alliance candidates to withdraw their candidature. The alliance needs another four candidates to have a majority in the council.
Among the four nagar panchayats, the SAD is in the saddle at Maluka and Bhai Rupa and has also won five seats unopposed in the 13-seat Mehraj, only a seat away from majority. It has won one out of the 13 seats in the Kothaguru nagar panchayat.
Congress leaders had alleged that their candidates were dragged and slapped in front of the tehsildar when they went to his office at Phul to file nomination papers last week.
Faridkot saw a deluge of withdrawals on the last day on Monday, leaving nine SAD candidates unopposed in three councils in the district. One SAD candidate each was declared winner in the 29-member Kotkapura council and 25-member Faridkot council.
At Ajnala, five SAD candidates were elected unopposed to the 15-seat municipal council amid strong protests from the Congress. Congressmen staged a dharna outside the office of the local sub-divisional magistrate to protest against the rejection of nomination papers of five of their candidates. The SAD is only two members away from a majority here.
At Dasuya in Hoshiarpur, Harsimrat Singh Sahi, son of BJP MLA from Dasuya, Sukhjit Kaur Sahi, has been elected unopposed to the 15-member municipal council. Sahi is the second BJP candidate elected unopposed here.
At the 15-member council in Kartarpur in Jalandhar, two SAD candidates have been declared elected unopposed.
4 elected unopposed in corporations
On the 300 seats in the six municipal corporations in the state, four people have been declared unopposed. These are Rakesh Sud, wife of former BJP minister Tikshan Sud, and three candidates in Phagwara. One of these is of the SAD while two others are independent candidates. firstname.lastname@example.org