Punjab civic polls: Patiala mirrors assembly results
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Punjab civic polls: Patiala mirrors assembly results

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had deputed Brahm Mohindra to camp in Patiala to anchor the party’s strategy.

punjab Updated: Dec 17, 2017 23:12 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Sangrur,AAP,Bhagwant Mann
Health Minister Brahm Mohindra offering sweets to Sunaina Choudhary for her victory in ward no 9 during the MC election in Patiala on Sunday.(Bharat Bhushan Sharma/HT )

Amid rigging allegations, as the Congress swept the municipal corporation polls on Sunday, winning 59 of 60 wards, it was much a repeat of its success in the assembly polls held in February.

The results booted out the SAD-BJP that had ruled the House for the past ten years when it ruled the state too. In three wards, the Congress won unopposed as nomination papers of SAD-BJP candidates were rejected and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had not filed papers anyway.

In the assembly polls, the Congress had won in all 60 wards (it was 50 wards then as delimitation was done afresh for civic polls). The party had even won at the booth level in Patiala Urban (32 wards and 154 polling booths) and Patiala Rural (26 wards and 110 booths). Sanaur has two wards and 10 booths, but here Congress candidate Harinder Singh Harry Mann had lost to the SAD candidate. He, however, had led from two wards of the MC area. Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had won from Patiala Urban; health minister Brahm Mohindra had won Patiala Rural.

Mohindra anchored strategy

The CM did not participate in campaigning for these polls. He had deputed Brahm Mohindra to camp in Patiala and anchor the party’s strategy. Mohindra and former Union minister Preneet Kaur had campaigned in MC areas for party candidates.

The top leadership of the SAD also stayed away from campaigning. State president of the BJP Vijay Sampla and the party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Parbhat Jha campaigned, but failed to evoke a positive response from voters. The SAD-BJP combine also suffered a setback with the former mayor and senior deputy mayor not contesting the elections.

For the AAP, state president Bhagwant Mann and leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira campaigned, but could not make any headway. Some of its candidates could not even get 100 votes in certain wards.

“The polls were a farce as the Congress won by booth-capturing. I will take up the issue in the Lok Sabha,” said SAD MP Prem Singh Chandumajra. The Congress, however, has rejected the charges of rigging.

“The SAD-BJP must elaborate if they had any booth that they led on in assembly elections that the Election Commission of India had conducted. The SAD-BJP had won the last two polls by capturing booths,” Mohindra said. “People have punished the SAD-BJP for its stepmotherly treatment to the royal city. People have voted for the Congress with a desire for development and it is a vote for Captain Amarinder Singh’s leadership,” the minister added.

Later in the day, winning Congress candidates reached the New Moti Bagh Palace to meet Preneet Kaur, who thanked voters.

The party also won the nagar panchayat elections in Ghagga and Ghanaur in Patiala district and Amloh in Fatehgarh Sahib. The elections remained largely peaceful, except a minor clash in Ghagga.

Also, Mohinder Singh, 70, died due to a heart attack, while he was standing in queue to cast his vote.

In Sangrur, ‘independents’ the flavour

Among the nagar panchayats in Sangrur district, Moonak elected all 13 independents to the House. The Congress, on its party symbol, sweeped Dirba, winning 11 of 13 wards. The decision of the AAP not to field candidates on party ticket and the SAD also fielding “several” candidates with its “backing” exacerbated this trend. In all, 33 Independents were elected members of the nagar panchayats of the 50-odd wards in total. In Khanauri, Congress candidates were declared winner from six wards with independents winning six. The SAD got one ward in Khanauri.

AAP loses in Mann’s area

The results have been a defeat for the AAP, in the area of Sangrur MP and party’s state president Bhagwant Mann. Here, 12 independents and a Congress candidate were declared elected.

“We got a mixed response in the district but we will manage the Cheema Nagar panchayat committee. We have a number of independent candidates in Cheema,” Sunam MLA and AAP state co-chief Aman Arora said.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 22:41 IST