Chandigarh: Polling to Punjab's six municipal corporations today passed off peacefully as an estimated 70 per cent of nearly 8 lakh electorate sealed the fate of 1,263 candidates in the hustings.
“The polling passed off peacefully...there was no report of major violence from anywhere...all EVMs functioned properly”, State Election Commissioner S S Brar said. He said that as per initial reports, an estimated 70 per cent polling has taken place.
However, reports of minor incidents, including scuffles had been reported from Pathankot, Bathinda and Patiala. The results will be announced on February 26. The polls are assumed as litmus test for SAD-BJP combine which have been ruling the state for more than seven years.
In most of corporations, the Independents projected them to be of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) followers even as the party is not contesting the elections.
The polling was held for municipal bodies of Phagwara, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Mohali, Bathinda, Moga and bye-elections to two wards of Patiala Municipal Corporation and one ward of Jalandhar Municipal Corporation.
70 per cent of the total of 7.90 lakh voters sealed the fate of candidates for 298 wards for these civic polls. Elections were held for 50 wards each of the corporations of Bathinda, Mohali and Moga, 49 wards each of Hoshiarpur and Pathankot and 47 wards of Phagwara. Four candidates have already been elected unopposed on three wards of Phagwara and one ward of Hoshiarpur, Brar said.
The key players in the field are ruling SAD-BJP alliance candidates, opposition Congress and contestants of Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP). Aam Aadmi Party which swept Delhi Assembly polls, has stayed away from the civic polls.
Congress, which is already facing infighting over leadership issue in the state, is aiming to strengthen its position at ground level.
Key issues in the run-up to the polls included shortage of drinking water, poor condition of roads, sewerage, waterlogging, parking problems, heaps of garbage, problem of stray animals and encroachments in market corridors.
Both Akali and BJP are contesting the civic body polls jointly, though both the parties are locked in tough fight from their own rebels.
Akalis are facing rebels from several wards of Mohali and Moga while BJP candidates are facing threat from their partymen in Phagwara, Hoshiarpur and Pathankot. Both BJP and Akalis had expelled over 100 candidates for not withdrawing their nominations in favour of party candidates.