Monday, May 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India





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Cong sweeps Punjab MC poll
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 19
The Congress swept to a comfortable victory in the Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala Municipal Corporation elections held today.

Though the reintroduction of octroi on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was expected to be a major issue in the municipal elections, it failed to reverse the trend in favour of the Congress which started with the Assembly elections in February this year.

The ruling SAD-BJP alliance suffered reverses everywhere.

While the Congress won two-thirds majority in Patiala, the hometown of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, it raced to comfortable majorities in the remaining three cities of the state.

In Patiala, the BJP could not open its account and six of its candidates lost their security deposits also.

The Bharatiya Janata Party won six seats in Jalandhar and five in Amritsar. The best performance of the SAD-BJP alliance was in Ludhiana where it collectively won 22 seats. Six Independents and five candidates from other parties, including the Bahujan Samaj Party, were successful.

The toughest competition was in Ludhiana where the Congress just crossed the majority mark with 37 seats in a House of 70. The outgoing ruling SAD-BJP alliance had 38 seats in the previous house.

Nearly 25 lakh voters in these four towns went to the polls this morning to elect 60 councillors in Amritsar, 55 in Jalandhar, 70 in Ludhiana and 50 in Patiala. For Patiala, this was the first ever municipal corporation election.

The polling was mostly peaceful, though incidents of coercion, bogus polling and even forcible removal of voters belonging to opposition parties were reported from all the four towns.

While in Patiala the Congress scored a two-third majority by winning 37 of 50 seats , it raced to a comfortable majority win in Ludhiana with 37 seats in its bag against 22 by SAD-BJP alliance.

In Amritsar also, the Congress was heading for a comfortable majority as 33 of its candidates were declared winners. Both the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janta Party were able to win one seat each even as the remaining nine were wrested by Independents.

In Jalandhar, the Congress won 32 of the 55 seats while the Akali Dal won three and the BJP six. Jalandhar held the distinction of returning maximum number of Independents 14 against six in Ludhiana and eight in Patiala.

In Ludhiana, the outgoing Mayor, senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor did not contest the election this time.

While the Mayor belonged to SAD, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor were from the BJP.
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