Punjab

JAKHAR THANKS PEOPLE, CONGRESS WORKERS FOR ENSURING SMOOTH MC POLLS, BJP ALLEGES RIGGING, BOOTH-CAPTURING

December 17, 2017 05:40 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News)

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Sunday thanked the people and party workers for ensuring smooth and impressive turnout in the Municipal Council and Municipal Committee elections, despite the efforts by the Akalis to scuttle the poll process through threats, violence and rumour mongering in some areas. Meanwhile BJP alleges rigging and booth capturing in civic polls. 

Jakhar said, Akalis tried their best to scare the voters away from the booths, especially in areas where the Congress has a strong hold, but failed to intimidate them, said Jakhar, in a statement issued here towards the end of polling. Besides instigating violence here and there, the Akalis indulged in rumour mongering in a desperate effort to keep the voters away, he added. 

Punjab BJP vice-president, Anil Sarin, and secretary, Vineet Joshi handed a written complaint to State Election Commissioner, Jagpal Singh Sandhu, also alleging that the police was in cahoots with the Congress. The BJP in its complaint said that Punjab Police which was deployed to ensure free and fair poling in Patiala, instead acted as workers of the ruling Congress party and indulged in booth-capturing in many wards.Jakhar said the Akalis, during their 10-year-rule, had brazenly used muscle power to rig the elections. Misuse of the police force to intimidate the voters and the political opponents was common under the Akali regime, said the Punjab Congress president, adding that the SAD was evidently unable to reconcile itself to the fact that it was no longer in power. 

The preparations made by the Captain Amarinder Singh government ensured that the situation remained under control, said Jakhar, thanking Congress workers for maintaining peace in the face of provocative acts of violence by the opposition. 

Pointing out that this was for the first time in a decade that the polls were held in a free and democratic manner, Jakhar said the Akalis, during their 10-year-rule, had brazenly used muscle power to rig the elections. Misuse of the police force to intimidate the voters and the political opponents was common under the Akali regime, said the Punjab Congress president, adding that the SAD was evidently unable to reconcile itself to the fact that it was no longer in power. 

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief also thanked the people of Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar, for coming out in large numbers to cast their vote and refusing to succumb to threats by the opposition. 

With imminent defeat writ large in front of them, the Akalis left no stone unturned to grab votes, by hook or by crook, said Jakhar, adding, however, that the people gave them a befitting reply with their impressive turnout. 

With local issues dominating the poll scenario, and the voters having full faith in the governance of Captain Amarinder, the mood was clearly in favour of the Congress throughout the campaign, said Jakhar. The Congress workers too were buoyed by the palpable swing in favour of the party in the run-up to the elections, he further said, and expressed the confidence that with Rahul Gandhi taking over the reins of the party high command, the euphoria in the party would translate into majority votes for it. 

While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had lost its ground completely in Punjab, as in the rest of the country, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had also failed to recover from the shameful rout it had witnessed in the Assembly elections, said Jakhar.

In the meantime BJP enraged over the widespread incidents of violence, rigging, booth-capturing and intimidation of Akali-BJP candidates, workers and polling agents, during the local bodies elections, the Punjab BJP today demanded a repoll in Patiala, Ghagga and some wards in Mullanpur Dakha and Jalandhar.  

Punjab BJP vice-president, Anil Sarin, and secretary, Vineet Joshi handed a written complaint to State Election Commissioner, Jagpal Singh Sandhu, also alleging that the police was in cahoots with the Congress. The BJP in its complaint said that Punjab Police which was deployed to ensure free and fair poling in Patiala, instead acted as workers of the ruling Congress party and indulged in booth-capturing in many wards.

Sarin and Joshi complained that the police in Patiala intimidated Akali-BJP candidates, slapped and threatened polling agents and workers, and also shooed away the voters. In some place the police lathi-charged voters who were peacefully standing in a queue without even sparing women and the elderly. 

The BJP also expressed its anger over the absence of election observers, reminding the SEC of its earlier complaint wherein it had requested deployment of para-military forces and independent poll observers from neighbouring states. Video cameras of State election Commission were also turned off, they said.

In Ghagga, the BJP said, Congress workers with the help of police captured all the polling booths. Similarly, in Mullanpur all the polling booths of ward no. 5 were captured. In Jalandhar, the polling officers slowed down the polling process after the visit of local MLA, Sushil Kumar Rinku, the BJP stated.

Also, in Amritsar, the Congress workers were seen violating the election code of conduct by openly campaigning for their candidates in ward no. 9 and 22.

Demanding a repoll, the BJP leaders said that central armed forces and election observers from other states be deployed for the same. The BJP also sought immediate action against the erring police and administrative officials.  

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