Congress Sweeps Civic Elections In Punjab, Opposition Alleges Rigging

Punjab Civic Polls: The Congress party won 66 of 80 wards in Jalandhar, 59 of 60 in Patiala, and 64 of 85 in in Amritsar.

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Congress Sweeps Civic Elections In Punjab, Opposition Alleges Rigging

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the results were a "clear vindication of Congress policies".

Chandigarh:  The Congress, which came to power in Punjab earlier this year, continued its winning streak, sweeping the civic elections in Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar that were conducted today.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hailed the results as a "clear vindication of the Congress policies and a resounding defeat of the opposition's deceitful propaganda". The opposition BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal alleged that the ruling party had misused the state machinery and resorted to large-scale rigging in Patiala, where they had failed to open account.

The party won 66 of 80 wards in Jalandhar Municipal Corporation, the BJP 8 and its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal 4. Two wards went to Independents. In Patiala, the party bagged 59 of the 60 seats. In Amritsar, the Congress clinched 64 of 85 wards, the BJP 6, the Shiromani Akali Dal 7 and Independents 8.

Polling was also held in 29 municipal councils and nagar panchayats amid tight security arrangements.

Late in the evening, as the trends became clear, the Chief Minister issued a statement that congratulated the people "for not succumbing to the pressure tactics of the Opposition, which had tried hard to derail the free and democratic poll process with its cheap gimmickry and provocative acts".

"The people had not forgotten what the Akalis had done for 10 years and had responded by voting them out of power in the Assembly elections and now handing them a crushing defeat in the local bodies' elections," the chief minister said.

The SAD-BJP demanded that the elections in Patiala be scrapped. Meeting the state Election Commission, a delegation from the two parties said they had vidoegraphic evidence of alleged blatant rigging and violence in Patiala.

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