Amid factionalism within parties and the issues of development, the Moga municipal corporation that went to polls for the first time on Sunday recorded a voter turnout of 72.33% to elect 50 councillors.
Deploying of heavy police force averted any untoward incident at the polling booths. At least 1,100 police personnel were stationed at 102 booths where polling was held. It is for the first time that no violence was reported from anywhere in the area.
Interestingly, a heavy voter turnout was witnessed in the afternoon. The percentage of voters till noon was 37.33% that increased to 67.33% by 4pm and to 72.33% by 5pm. Large queues were witnessed in front of the booths even after the polling was over.
Locals said the turnout was less in the morning in wake of the World Cup cricket match between India and South Africa. Returning officers said the heavy turnout could be attributed to the fact that the election to the corporation was held for the first time.
However, the locals claimed that it was the issue of development for which they had come out in large numbers.
First-time voters and even the elderly who came out to vote said the issues of poor road infrastructure, sewerage problems and stray animal menace had brought them to the polling stations. However, some allegations of bogus voting and disruptions were reported in some wards.
Returning officer of ward numbers 11-20, Arvind Kumar, said the polling was peaceful and a large number of people came out for voting in the afternoon. “People showed faith in democracy and exercised their franchise in large numbers,” said Kumar.
Vikas Gupta, 27, a local resident, said, “It seems the MC doesn’t want to do anything to address the problem of stray animals. We have voted for the candidates who promised that they would do something for the menace.”