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Akali Dal-BJP sweep Punjab civic polls

Chandigarh: The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance made a clean sweep in the municipal election in Punjab on Sunday winning four municipal corporations, three municipal councils and 26 nagar panchayats, an official said.

Stray incidents of violence, including a firing incident in Ludhiana city, and clashes between Akali Dal and Congress workers were reported at some places. Tension prevailed in Patiala city, 80 km from Chandigarh, as Congress and Akali Dal workers clashed.

One person was critically injured in a firing incident on the outskirts of Ludhiana city.

Results of the election, polling for which was held Sunday 8 am-4 pm, were declared late in the evening.

Akali Dal secretary Daljit Singh Cheema said that the Akali DAl-BJP combine had swept the municipal elections in the state.

He said that the alliance was the winner in the four municipal corporations, three municipal councils and 26 nagar panchayats’ elections. He said that the alliance had a comfortable majority in all civic bodies.

The results again showed the domination of the alliance, which had won the January assembly polls, and the decimation of the Congress in Punjab’s electoral politics.

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh said that the elections were “a murder of democracy”.

He said that the Akalis wanted to win at any cost and resorted to foul means like booth capturing, intimidation and brutal abuse of state power during the elections.

Amarinder Singh and some other Congress leaders were manhandled Sunday in Patiala.

The Congress faced embarrassment in Amarinder’s home town Patiala as the ruling alliance won 39 out of the 49 seats for which results were declared. The Congress won only eight seats.

In Jalandhar, the alliance bagged the majority winning 30 seats out of the 59 results declared, Cheema said.

In Amritsar, the combine won 48 out of the 65 seats.

In Ludhiana, they won 42 seats out of the 70 results declared in the 75-member house.

Cheema said that the results had shown that the voters had accepted the development agenda of the Akali Dal-BJP alliance and rejected the negative agenda of the Congress.

Amarinder Singh criticised the role of police and the local administration in the municipal elections.

“It is the saddest day in the history of Punjab when the Akali-BJP alliance let loose a reign of terror in a city like Patiala and did not allow people to cast their votes,” Amarinder Singh said.

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