Four people were injured in a group clash on Tuesday here as the assembly-constituency-level elections of the Youth Congress were rigged with Akali help.
Three Youth Congress workers — advocate Dushyant Kapur, bank employee Anuj Khosla, and Johny — besides Harish Malhotra, an uncle of candidate Sandeep Malhotra, received blows from sharp-edged weapons in this fight. Serious injuries required Dushyant and Anuj to be referred to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh. Most of the votes polled on the opening day of the contest for the Patiala rural and urban seats were found to be bogus.
Party insiders say that a Congress councillor took the help of a prominent Youth Akali Dal (YAD) leader to rig the polls and fighting broke out when the rival factions found out about bogus votes. The Akalis sent in their men to help a side bash up some Congressmen. Police intervened only when the fighting got fierce and swords and knives were drawn.
Sandeep Malhotra, who is contesting against four people, accused Vinod Sharma Kalu, a former Akali activist who is now in the Youth Congress, of rigging the election for his rival, Nikhil Khosla. Kholsa, meanwhile, said it was Malhotra who had called in the Akali goons through a Congress councillor close to a YAD leader of the region. Police moved the injured to a local hospital first, from where two people were moved to the PGI, as polling was suspended for three hours.
Civil Lines station house officer (SHO) Hardeep Singh said that a case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been registered against Kalu and 12 other Youth Congress activists and a hunt for them was on.