Samana assembly constituency, represented by Punjab rural development and panchayat minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, witnessed a glaring poll anomaly as residents of Panj Maruadi village elected a panch by the toss of a coin on Wednesday. The 'extreme step' was taken after errors were detected in ballot papers.
About 15 votes had been polled when a candidate pointed out that his poll symbol was wrongly printed. With the election process stalled, candidates for the sarpanch's seat persuaded contenders for the panch's post from Ward No 6 to go for a toss, which went in favour of one Jang Singh.
In a bid to cover up the printing blunder, the subdivisional magistrate (SDM) and the tehsildar allowed the presiding officer to declare the result on the basis of the toss.
When the media started asking Patiala deputy commissioner GK Singh about the matter, he sought a report from the SDM. The latter claimed that both candidates had given a written undertaking for the toss, but the DC rejected the argument and ordered a repoll in ward No 6.
"Tossing a coin for an election is totally illegal. We have countermanded the election and it would be held soon. Action would be initiated against the returning officer who allowed the toss," GK Singh said.
Meanwhile, Bijalpur village in the Samana constituency saw no polling as the residents had boycotted the poll process over the reservation policy and unanimously 'elected' a general-category sarpanch against the reserved (SC) seat.
* At Shekhupura village in Patiala district, Kuldeep Singh, a Congress-backed candidate for the post of sarpanch, gobbled up 14 ballot papers with his rival's votes during counting. However, he still fell short of votes and ended up as the loser.
* At Killi village in Shahkot block of Jalandhar district, SAD-supported candidates Jagir Singh and Balbir Singh secured 232 votes each. Poll officials conducted a draw of lots and asked a local kid to pick the winner. Jagir emerged the winner, even as Balbir refused to follow the 'wrong' procedure.