Even as nearly 80% voters exercised their right to franchise to elect their representatives in 753 village panchayats in the district on Wednesday, the election process in ward no 6 of the Padhiana village of Adampur block was, however, countermanded after death of an independent candidate.
Villagers elected their sarpanches and panches in 137 villages through unanimity while elections in 11 villages could not be conducted for different reasons. There are 899 villages in 11 blocks of Jalandhar district. The polling remained peaceful throughout the district.
Earlier, poll authorities stopped polling at Pholriwal village near here soon after the start of the election process, as candidate for the sarpanch's post Sukhjinder Kaur objected to wrong printing of her name on the ballot paper. Sukhjinder, wife of Congress leader Sukha Pholriwal, complained that her name was wrongly mentioned as Satwinder Kaur in the ballots. There are nearly 2,200 voters in the village. The poll officials immediately swung into action and stopped the polling. Besides, fresh printing of the ballot papers was started. The polling remained halted for over two hours before new ballot papers were supplied to start the poll process.
Meanwhile, election process for panch's post in ward no 6 of Padhiana village in Adampur block was countermanded after independent candidate Varinder Singh (50) died on Tuesday evening.
In a shocking incident, Joginder Singh, lecturer, Government Senior Secondary School, Wadala village, posted as election supervisor in Jalandhar-East block, failed to supply ballot papers at polling stations and did not attend to repeated telephone calls of the returning officer (RO) Palwinder Singh as well as sub divisional magistrate Iqbal Singh Sandhu.
"Due to negligence of the printing firm, the supply of ballot papers got delayed. Then, it was ordered that election supervisors will coordinate with their ROs to receive ballot papers and to ensure distribution at polling stations concerned. Though ballot papers of Jalandhar-East block got printed at 2 am on Wednesday, but Joginder Singh failed to even attend 31 telephone calls made on his phone what to talk about delivery of ballots at polling stations. I recommended the erring official should be immediately suspended and disciplinary proceedings be initiated as per the rules for dereliction in election duty," Sandhu said in a communiqué to the state election commission and the district election officer.
Polling not held in 11 villages
The poll authorities did not conduct elections in 11 village panchayats for different reasons. While term of the Jandiali, Talhan, Chachowali, Miowal, Fakhruwal and Rasoolpur village panchayats were not completed, the elections in Bilga village was not conducted since the same was converted into nagar panchayat.
The elections in Bath Kalan village was not held since a new village panchayat namely Bath Khurd was created out of the former just before the poll notification for holding panchayat elections were issued by the Punjab Election Commission.
Since, the work pertaining to preparation of ward wise voter lists and delimitation of wards was required to be completed after following due procedure of inviting objections from general public within a stipulated time framework, the poll authorities decided to defer the elections.
In Khiala village in Adampur block, none has filed the nomination papers for the post of sarpanch as well as panches. Sources said that the village elders had almost managed to bring unanimity on all the candidates for panches and sarpanch, when a local villager openly revolted against the "unanimity" decision and announced to contest panch's election as independent candidate. As their efforts to persuade him failed to yield the desired result, the aggrieved villagers retaliated by announcing that they would not contest the elections for any post if he would not accept village elders' decision on unanimity. They did not file nomination papers. Interestingly, the man, who revolted against elders, too preferred not to file the nomination papers. This led to postponement of the elections in the village.
In Barra Jagir village of Lohian block, the villagers selected the sarpanch and three panches unanimously, while selection of remaining panches would be carried out later.
No election in 60 years
In Shahkot block's Kohar Khurd village, elections for the sarpanch and panches had always been a unanimous affair in the past 60 years. Transport minister Ajit Singh Kohar, who hails from Kohar Khurd village, revealed that he was unanimous choice for sarpanch's post at the age of 17 years. "I remained sarpanch of my native village for nearly 40 years as villagers were unanimous on my name. After I got elected as MLA, my son Naib Singh got unanimously elected as sarpanch for 10 years. In these elections too, Pappu, a scheduled caste, was unanimously elected for the post. I never witnessed elections in the village in past 60 years," the minister said.
In Killi sarpanch emerged out of chits' draw
In village Killi of Shahkot block, ruling SAD supported candidates Jagir Singh and Balbir Singh bagged 232 votes each. The poll officials conducted a draw of chits bearing names of both the candidates and asked a local kid to pick up one of the chits. Eventually, Jagir Singh emerged winner in the draw even as Balbir Singh did not participate in the process alleging it was not the right procedure.
Blockwise polling percentage
Shahkot - 85%
Mehatpur - 80%
Phillaur - 75%
Jalandhar (East) - 75%
Rurkan Kalan - 74%
Nakodar - 71%