In the history of the Patiala electoral battlefield, the defeat of Deepinder Singh Dhillon is the worst-ever rout of the Shiromani Akali Dal here, as the panthic party failed to lead even from a single booth in the Patiala municipal corporation limits.
The perfor mance of SAD has gone from bad to worse. The party has failed to lead from 281 booths of the MC limits which comprise area of the Patiala urban and Patiala rural assembly seats.
Out of a strength of 50 councillors, the SAD-BJP combine has 46 councillors in the Patiala municipal corporation. However, these councillors failed to muster even 50,000 votes from the entire Patiala MC limits.
This has not only lowered the stature of cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, who is the de-facto in-charge of the district, it has also put a question mark over the leadership of mayor Amarinder Bajaj as voters punished the party for poor civic amenities.
From the day one of the SAD 2012 regime, Rakhra is calling the shots in the district. He not only allotted ticket to his protégés in the Patiala MC elections, but also oversaw all important proposals. In rural areas, his men call the shots.
The Rakhra group has nearly 20 councillors out of total 34 SAD councillors, but no one managed to garner more than 700 votes each from their respective areas.
“The failure of the Rakhra group councillors has lowered his stature,” said a SAD councillor.
Similarly, the leaders hip abilities of the mayor Amarinder Bajaj are also being questioned.
The mayor failed to kickstart developmental works in the city on time, thus the Akali Dal lost the faith of voters, though the tenders of some works were allotted. No wonder, the party received only 47 votes from the booth of the area where he resides.
“Bajaj is not a natural choice but he is an ‘accidental’ mayor, as a murder case led to the removal of former mayor Jaspal Singh. He lack leadership qualities,” said a BJP leader, requesting anonymity.