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Amritsar also in Congress’s kitty, Sidhu claims a hat-trick

From the Congress, Ranjan Aggarwal, who was in race for the post of mayor, was defeated by his BJP rival. The Congress’ Punjab women wing chief Mamta Dutta won from her ward. 

punjab Updated: Dec 18, 2017 10:07 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Clean sweep,Amritsar,municipal corporation
Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife, former MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu, meet voters in Amritsar on Sunday(Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo )

The ruling Congress on Sunday won 64 of a total of 85 seats in the Amritsar municipal corporation, with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP bagging only seven and six seats.

While the independent candidates managed to bag eight seats, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), debutant in the civic body polls, failed to open account. The BJP cried foul over the electoral process.

The voter turnout was only 51%, which is 12% than the last MC polls held in 2012.

The polling day passed off peacefully as no major untoward incident was reported. Only minor scuffles took place at some places. The voter turnout was only 51%, which is 12% than the last MC polls held in 2012.

Big faces of BJP including former mayor Bakhshi Ram Arora, former chairman of Amritsar Improvement Trust Suresh Mahajan faced debacle. From the Congress, Ranjan Aggarwal, who was in race for the post of mayor, was also defeated by his BJP rival. The Congress’ Punjab women wing chief Mamta Dutta won from her ward.

How parties fared last time

As many as 24 candidates each of the SAD and the BJP had won while independents had bagged 11 seats in the last MC election.

The Congress had won only four seats. Later, nine independent winners supported the SAD-BJP combine, while the rest went with the Congress. This made a weak opposition during previous house.This time, number SAD-BJP councillors is 13, while eight are independents.

What worked for Cong

In Punjab, it’s the ruling party that usually wins the local bodies polls. As these are the elections of local governments which are supposed to ensure basic civic amenities and resolve local issues, the voters prefer to elect those who can take care of these things.

Also, Amritsar is the home turf of Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu who carried out a campaign for the party candidates to woo the voters on development issue.Besides, there are five assembly segments in Amritsar and all of them have Congress MLAs.

BJP stages dharna against worker’s arrest

After the polling concluded, BJP workers led by former minister Anil Joshi staged a dharna outside the Majithi road police station in protest against the arrest of a party worker Prabhjit Singh Rataul.

The police on Sunday arrested Rataul for allegedly carrying objectionable material and arms in a car. His vehicle was also impounded. The saffron party lifted the protest late evening after the police released the worker.

Cong makes hat-trick in Punjab: Sidhu

Celebrating the Congress’ victory with party workers at his residence, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said the party under the leadership of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has created history in Punjab by making a hat-trick.

“After winning 78 seats in the assembly elections, the Congress defeated BJP by a margin of around 2 lakh votes in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll. Now, the Congress has secured third consecutive victory in the state,” said Sidhu.“An era of development starts from today. The CM, ministers, MLAs and councillors are the part of the development chain.”

“The Congress will shower development grants as the people have got their honest representatives on local level. Rs 15 crore will be allotted for sewerage in Amritsar,” he said.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 10:06 IST