Polling for the newly created Phagwara Municipal Corporation ended peacefully on Sunday with an overwhelming 73% voting for 50 seats.
Long queues were seen since morning at all 96 booths, and the turnout till noon was almost 30%, which increased to 52% by 2pm and 68% by 4pm. The voting was carried out under heavy security, since 18 booths had been marked hyper-sensitive and 62 declared sensitive.
Even as the voting percentage was high, the opposition Congress alleged that the ruling Akali-BJP combine had used the police to stop its workers from voting. The administration denied receiving any complaint.
“The voting process concluded peacefully,” said additional deputy commissioner (development) Sarabjit Singh Walia, who was also additional district electoral officer. “The EVMs in booths 85 and 83 were replaced within minutes after some technical snag,” he added.
In wards 21, 15, 16 and 9, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were accused of creating ruckus. The fate of 169 candidates is sealed and will be revealed on February 26.
In Hoshiarpur, the first-ever municipal corporation election ended peacefully with almost 67% voting in 49 wards. The results to be announced on February 26 will decide the fate of 200 candidates.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken the lone-decided seat, Ward 7, where Rakesh Sud, wife of former minister Tikshan Sud, won unopposed. Voting was steady all Sunday, 13% in the first two hours and around 48% by 2pm. At all 122 booths, the candidates and their supporters were busy escorting voters. Because of the shuffling of wards, many voters reported at wrong booths.
The voters of Ward 7 were disappointed that the contest was decided before they could vote. Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna, former Union minister Santosh Chowdhary, and local Congress legislator Sunder Sham Arora were among the earliest visitors to the polling booths.
There were reports that different parties had bribed the voters with cash and liquor, and provided the voters with transport, if they had to come from far.