Chandigarh: The Congress party today made a clean sweep in seven municipal corporations of Punjab in the state's local body elections. The party won all of Moga, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Abohar, Pathankot, Batala, and Bathinda.
This is a really surprising result, as the Congress is returning to power to several of these seats after 53 years.
The Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Harsimrat Badal on behalf of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a long-time ally of the BJP and recently parted ways with the farmers' movement after protesting against three new agricultural laws.
Congress MLA and State Finance Minister, Manpreet Singh Badal represents Bathinda Urban Assembly seat. He is also the cousin of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, making the elections a prestige battle this time.
The election results can be considered a major setback for the BJP, as it is seen as an urban voter base party. Elections to 109 municipal councils, nagar panchayats and seven municipal corporations were held on 14 February, with 71.39 percent polling amid fierce protests by the state's farmers against the new central laws.
Re-polling was held at some booths yesterday, the results of which will also be announced today. The poll panel has ordered re-polling at booth number 32 and 33 of Mohali Municipal Corporation between 8 am and 4 pm today. Therefore, the counting of votes for that corporation will take place tomorrow.
In total, 9,222 candidates are in the fray. Of these, independents are the largest with 2,832 numbers. The official party has the largest number of Congress with 2,037 candidates. Its Muktsar candidates have already won unopposed. The BJP is facing opposition to agricultural laws, it has fielded only 1,003 candidates. The party is contesting this time without its Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance. SAD has 1,569 candidates.
Of the 2,215 wards, 1,480 belong to the general category, while 610 are to the Scheduled Castes and 125 to the Backward Castes. The Punjab State Election Commission yesterday ordered deputy commissioners to appoint micro-observers for counting of sensitive and hypersensitive wards.
As per the PTI report, the opposition parties have accused the ruling Congress of "occupying booths" and "indulging in violence". Elections were held among thousands of farmers in the state, along with many people from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, who have been camping around Delhi since November in protest against central laws. In which more than 150 protesters have been killed so far.