The tussle between two Shiromani Akali Dal senior leaders -- former agriculture minister Jathedar Tota Singh and Nihal Singh Wala MLA Rajwinder Kaur Bhagike -- reached its pinnacle in Nihal Singh Wala area of Moga during the counting of votes in Patto Didar Singh Wala (Khothe), the native village of Tota Singh.
In this village, panchayat was elected unanimously for last 40 years and it is first time when opposite candidate has been fielded. MLA Bhagike's supporter Jaspal Singh Gori had been contesting for the post of sarpanch against Tota Singh's supporter Rupinder Singh Roopi at the village.
During the counting of the votes, some youths thrashed the presiding officer and tore 49 ballot papers. The incident took place around 7pm on Wednesday when counting for panch's election was completed and the presiding officer declared five winners, all belonging to Tota Singh's group, and also distributed certificates to them.
A police team led by SP Dilbagh Singh Pannu reached the village for after residents of some adjoining villages laid a siege to the polling station.
Police personnel led by SP Pannu, DSP Nihal Singh Wala, Jaswinder Singh Gharu rushed to the spot while villagers allowed only SP and DSP to enter the polling station. Tota Singh also reached the spot at around 8.30pm but he refused to enter the polling station.
The SP managed to sit Bhagike in his car and brought her out of school at around 8.35 pm.
The protesting residents alleged the supporters of MLA Rajwinder Kaur thrashed the presiding officer and tore the ballot papers in her presence after the candidates of Tota Singh group were declared elected on all five seats of panchayat members and sarpanch.