M A I N   N E W S

Violence mars Punjab civic polls
Booth capturing, rigging and bogus voting also reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 7
The first phase of civic polls ended in Punjab today amid reports of violence, booth capturing, rigging and bogus voting.

At Mullannpur Dakha, where polling for electing the nagar panchayat was held, the SAD supporters allegedly damaged vehicles of Raikot MLA Gurcharan Singh Boparai and Ranjit Singh Mangat, a personal assistant of former Congress MLA Jassi Khangura. SAD MLA from Mullanpur Manpreet Singh Ayali has denied the allegations regarding any such incident.

Reports of large-scale rigging and violence came from Malaudh. Congress leaders blamed the SAD supporters for violence and rigging. Scuffles among Congress and Akali leaders were witnessed in Ghanur. Former Congress MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur was arrested at Ghanur. He has been booked under various sections of the IPC for tearing the uniform of a police constable and hurting a woman cop, Gagandeep Kaur.

A spokesman of the State Election Commission said polling at ward number 11 of Ghanur had been postponed. A report has been sought from Patiala Deputy Commissioner regarding Ghanur incidents. However, SAD district president Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur said the Congress leaders indulged in rigging and manhandling of Akali workers. Congress leader and Union Minister Preneet Kaur said the police indulged in booth capturing and beating up Congress leaders.

ML Sharma, Secretary, Election Commission, said 78 to 80 per cent polling had been reported in about 26 nagar panchayats, 3 municipal committees and in a number of wards where byelections were held today. Except one ward of Ghanur, the EC did not get any report of violence from any other place in the state.

PPCC president Amarinder Singh today said it was doubtful that whether the State Election Commission existed. He said the Congress workers were assaulted at several places where nagar panchayat elections were held.

“The violence was sponsored by the state government. The Congress activists were targeted in order to rig the polls by the SAD supporters,” said Amarinder Singh. “The SAD had sensed its defeat and thus, it resorted to violence,” he added.

Congress Legislative Party leader Sunil Jakhar said what more proof of vendetta did Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal needed after the attack on the vehicles of a Congress MLA and a former MLA. “The attack was pre-planed to terrorise the Congress workers and supporters,” he said. “A delegation of Congress leaders would meet the Governor to bring to his notice incidents of the state-sponsored terror,” he added.

At Muktsar, Akali workers allegedly pushed Congress MLA Karan Kaur Brar and used foul language against her. Akali leaders, however, have alleged that Brar’s son Tegbir Brar slapped two Akali workers.





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