Minor clashes apart, polling in Thursday's local-body elections in Bathinda, Talwandi Sabo, Bikhi, Bari Wala, and Muktsar was peaceful, by and large.
Ward 6, Bathinda
Towards the end of the day, Congressmen Ashok Kumar and Basant Rai Nath alleged thrashing at the hands of workers of the states' ruling combine of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which charged them with trying to buy votes and blamed the assault on voters' reaction to it. The Congress leaders named Akali workers in a police complaint.
Outside a polling booth, two political turncoats had a heated argument. Former Akali leader and now a Congressman, Chirangi Lal Garg; and former Congressman Manohar Lal Bansal, who has switched to the SAD, were on the opposite sides on this exchange. The voting percentage was 70. Both parties claimed victory.
Former congress legislator Harmander Jassi was outsides the polling booth the entire day, while Saroop Chand Singla, new legislator of Bathinda, also spent the last few hours of voting there. He supports BJP candidate Madhu Gargi, widow of the previous councillor, who is up against Iqbal Singh Dhillon of the Congress.
Some tension, but no violence was reported at Muktsar and Bari Wala towns. The contests were in ward 5 of Muktsar and six of the 11 wards at Bari Wala (in five wards, candidates of the SAD were elected unopposed). The voting percentage was 78 in Muktsar and 89 at Bari Wala.
In 13 wards of Talwandi Sabo and one of Rama town, the overall voting percentage was 83. Tension broke out in Ward 2 of Talwandi Sabo in the afternoon after the Congress pointed out fake voters. The administration intervened. In 12 wards of Bhikhi in Mansa district, 88% votes were cast, all peacefully.