With as many as 27 Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidates declared elected unopposed in four out of 12 block samitis, the party seems to be getting an edge over Congress in the block samiti polls.
Even in Sidhwan Bet block samiti, SAD has crossed the majority mark with its 10 candidates being declared winners unopposed. The total number of zones in Sidhwan Bet block samiti is 15.
Interestingly, all these 15 zones fall in Dakha constituency, and making a clean sweep without competition has boosted the morale of Dakha MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali.
Ayali said bagging 15 block samiti zones in Dakha constituency - 10 in Sidhwan Bet, four in Sudhar and one in Pakhowal - reflects the loosening hold of Congress in the segment.
He claimed that more and more Congress workers were joining SAD with the polls drawing closer.
In Sudhar block samiti, four SAD candidates have been declared winners unopposed out of 21 zones. Consequently, polling will be held for 17 seats only, and the unopposed election of four SAD candidates would give the party an edge while electing the office-bearers of the block samiti.
In Jagraon block samiti, SAD has bagged five zones unopposed out of total 25. In Raikot block samiti as well, the party has won three of the 15 zones.
However, District Congress Committee (rural) president Malkit Singh Dakha said the high concentration of unopposed candidates in Sidhwan Bet block reflected that Akali leaders had resorted to pressure tactics to make other candidates withdraw their nomination papers.
Gurcharan Singh, Congress MLA from Raikot, termed the declaration of SAD candidates winners unopposed a result of pressure on candidates other than those from SAD.
In two zones, compromise was reached between local leaders but SAD exerting pressure declared them as party candidates while in third one candidates other than SAD were made to withdraw their nomination papers.
Women candidates in fray
As many as 12 women candidates have won unopposed during the nomination round for block samiti elections in the district. While the total number of women nominations for block samiti elections were 236, two were rejected and 86 withdrew their nominations.
Now, 136 women will contest the block samiti elections to be held on May 19.
For zila parishad elections, 17 women will contest elections on the same day. As many as 26 women had filed nominations, with 15 from general category. No candidate has been rejected.
However, nine women have withdrawn nominations - four from scheduled caste (SC) category and five from general category. Consequently, 17 women are now in fray for the elections. While eight are representing SAD, eight are from Congress, while one candidate is from Rashtiya Teesra Front Party.
Block wise candidates declared unopposed winners
Block Samiti Unopposed winner's Total zones
Sudhar: 4 21
Jagraon: 6 25
Sidhwan Bet: 10 15
Raikot: 3 15
Ludhiana I: 1 23
Samrala: 1 15
Machhiwara: 1 15
Pakhowal: 1 15