M A I N   N E W S

Punjab civic poll results today
Jangveer Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, June 9
The corporation elections in the four major cities of Punjab will act as a barometer of popularity of the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress in urban areas.

The SAD is likely to make major inroads into urban areas through the civic poll under a carefully crafted plan of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The plan aimed at removing the party’s “rural-centric” tag. The party had met with much success in that regard in the last civic elections. Now, it hopes to improve upon its earlier tally.

The BJP is also hoping to do well, considering the fact that it was able to hold its own in Jalandhar and Amritsar in the Assembly elections. The party is banking upon having its mayors in both these cities as per the understanding with the SAD, the candidates of which are likely to be nominated as mayors from Ludhiana and Patiala.

Based upon the Assembly election results of March this year, the SAD-BJP combine is expected to do well in Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar and the Congress in Patiala.

However, the Congress is being increasingly seen as a divided house and may suffer a reversal in Patiala, too.

The party has been badly affected in Ludhiana with the creation of a rebel group, the Congress Workers Forum, which has put up 19 candidates.

In Patiala, the party has failed to check rebels. Party workers’ morale is low with three candidates, including one from PCC president Capt Amarinder Singh’s ward, already switching sides to the Akalis.

There is a difference in the manner in which the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress have approached the elections. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal chose to lead from the front, while Capt Amarinder Singh largely kept away from the elections and delegated the responsibility of candidate selection and campaigning to senior leaders.

Sukhbir Badal is confident about the results. The SAD-BJP combine would sweep all four corporation cities and also three municipal committees and 26 nagar panchayats that went to the polls on June 7. The results of all the civic bodies, including 24 byelections, would be declared tomorrow.

PCC president and legislature party leader Sunil Jakhar today said the Akalis had let lose “gooda raj” to ride rough shod over the will of the people. Amarinder asked party men not to take anything lying down and told them to hit back if they were targeted by the Akalis.

Reacting to this said, Sukhbir said Amarinder was failing to understand that his provocative statements would not work any longer and that the people wanted commitment and service from their leaders that he could not offer in absentia.

Meanwhile, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said 62 booths had been declared hyper-sensitive and 139 as sensitive in 75 wards going to the polls.

In Patiala, DC GK Singh said 40 out of the total 211 booths in 50 wards had been declared sensitive.

In Jalandhar, 155 out of 292 booths in 65 wards had been declared sensitive.

In Amritsar, 10 booths have been declared hyper-sensitive and 65 sensitive out of 760 booths in 64 wards going to the polls.

Around 12,000 security personnel have been deployed on polling duty in all four cities.





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