Polling passed off peacefully in Patiala, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib districts, except some skirmishes and an instance of stone pelting in which nine persons were injured. In Samana Nagar council, Congress workers were accused of manhandling the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate and former MC President Kapoor Chand Bansal, after which former SAD minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, along with supporters, blocked the Samana-Patiala highway.
Congress and SAD also clashed in Rupnagar with six persons sustaining injuries. The clash happened in ward number 1, after both accused each other of distributing cash for votes. Nine persons sustained injuries during the stone pelting.
SAD alleged booth capturing in Patran, Samana, Nabha and other MC areas. The BJP kept a low-profile, and did not set up a booth outside the polling station.
“Congress has murdered democracy and has let loose its goons. Booths were captured with the help of police. The election was rigged,” alleged Rakhra.
Local MLA Rajinder Singh claimed that it was Rakhra and his supporters, who were trying to enter the polling station, leading to heated arguments. “No one has manhandled anyone. Rakhra has lost his constituency. Rakha’s allegations are baseless,” he said. At Nabha, SAD alleged police high-handedness. Rajpura recorded 64.1% polling; Nabha recorded 70.5%, Samana 67 % and Patran recorded highest 78.7%, said DC Kumar Amit.
In Fatehgarh Sahib district, Khamano recorded 79%; in Rupnagar district, Kiratpur Sahib recorded 84%.
Glitches in EVMs at Bathinda, Moga
Queues of electors were witnessed at polling booths across the region, with altercations reported from some places. The high-stake civic bodies of Bathinda, Jalalabad and Abohar witnessed over 60% voting.
Mansa district has five local bodies, with maximum of 87.1% polling reported for Joga Nagar panchayat. In Mansa municipal council, around 74% registered exercised their franchise. The Bathinda MC saw 64.3% polling from 50 wards. In 13 other municipalities of the district polling remained between 74% and 88.3%. In Fazilka district, 72.4% of voters exercised their franchise.
After a clash between the SAD and Congress workers on February 2 at Jalalabad, all eyes were at the local body that was once a political bastion of the Akalis. Polling was peaceful in Moga that recorded an average of 68% voting in four local bodies in the district. There was 66.9% voting for the Moga corporation. Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Hans said charges of tendered votes in ward number 1, from where Congress MLA from Moga Harjot Kamal’s wife Rajinder Kaur was contesting, were false. In Muktsar 68% polling was reported, with the average for Ferozepur ar 74% in four municipalities. Faridkot district saw 71% polling.