Even as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday captured the post of chairperson after winning from six zones in the Khamano block samiti elections held in May this year, controversy shrouded the election process.
SAD candidates Kulwinder Kaur, from zone number four Nanowal, and Darshan Singh were elected chairperson and vice-chairperson, respectively. The four-hour process, supervised by presiding officer-cum-Khamano sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Sukhdev Singh, saw participation from all 15 samiti members.
Kulwinder Kaur defeated Congress-candidate Jaswinder Kaur from Khant zone by one vote, while Darshan Singh too defeated Gurcharan Singh of People's Party of Punjab (PPP) by one vote. Darshan Singh had joined SAD after winning the elections as a Congress representative.
However, controversy arose when Congress leaders accused Bassi Pathana MLA Justice Nirmal Singh (retd) of interfering in the process, after the Congress and PPP lost the post in spite of having won nine zones of the total 15.
Chamkaur Sahib MLA and Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee vice-president Charanjit Singh Channi, Samrala MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon and Fatehgarh Sahib District Congress Committee (DCC) president Harinder Singh Bhambri, in the presence of PPP leaders, alleged that Justice Nirmal Singh's presence in the election meeting was against the Constitution.
They said their eight samiti members had voted in favour of their own candidate, so they should have won the election and accused the MLA of influencing the Congress members.
Denying the allegations, the SDM said the entire process had been recorded, and all members had signed the minutes of the proceedings.
Justice Nirmal Singh claimed that the election was held in a transparent and democratic way, and the Congress leaders were leveling false allegations as they “could not tolerate their defeat”.