Congress captures Urban Bodies in Punjab leaving others far behind – by KS Chawla

The Congress Government led by Amarinder Singh has captured the Local Bodies in the elections to the eight Municipal Corporations and 109 Municipal Councils and the Nagar Panchayats. The opposition parties namely Shiromini Akali Dal, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have been decimated.

The Congress has won all the seven Municipal Corporation namely Bathinda, Mohali, Kapurthala, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Batala, Abohar. The Congress emerged as single largest party at Moga with 20 seats but has secured the support of nine independent members thus it has got Moga as well.

KS ChawlaBathinda has given mandate to the Congress after 53 years giving a big setback to Harsimrat Badal wife of Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal. Harsimrat was elected to the lok sabha thrice and Bathinda was a big citadel of the Akali Dal.

The credit for the victory of the Congress in the Bathinda Municipal Corporation goes to Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister who represents Bathinda urban in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Besides, winning eight Municipal Corporations, the Congress was ahead of all other political parties in the 109 Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats. Congress won 1373 wards of the Municipal Councils and 2252 wards of the Nagar Panchayats respectively.

The victory of Congress in the Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats is being attributed to the Congress support to the agitation by the farmers against the three farm laws passed by the NDA Government.

The farmers of Punjab, Haryana, UP and other states have been agitating for the past five months – two months dharnas at the railway tickets and three months dharnas at Singhu border, Tikri Border and Gazipur border respectively.

The Shiromini Akali Dal has obtained second position in the election to the Municipal Councils and Nagara Panchayats. The BJP which has remained in alliance with the Akali Dal has received the biggest setback. The AAP which has been hoping to emerge stronger has also failed miserably.

AAP had emerged a second opposition party in the 2017 vidhan sabha election when Akali Dal was reduced to third position. Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife Harsimrat had been making aggressive attacks against the Modi Government after the resignation of Harsimrat from the union cabinet over the three farm laws and withdrawal from the NDA.

Both the Akali Dal and the AAP have been alleging the blatant misuse of the government machinery by the Congress at the time of filing of nomination papers and scrutiny of the nominations.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has denied the allegations and has maintained that the elections were free and fair. Similarly Sunil Jakhar, President of the Punjab Congress also claimed that there was no misuse of the official machinery.

Amarinder Singh said that it was clear message to these parties to keep out of Punjab which were not ready to either forgive or forget the deceit and treachery to which the people of Punjab had been subjected to by them.

The Chief Minister said that they would continue to support the farmers agitation and ‘we are with the farmers’, he said.

Why Sukhbir Badal has forgotten the practices which he had adopted in the two elections of the Municipal Corporations and Municipal Councils and Nagara Panchayats when they got rejected the nomination papers of the Congress nominees at many Municipal Councils and Nagara Panchayats. This is a tit for tat – Mr. Sukhbir Singh Ji.

Bikram Singh Majithia has retained his hold on Majitha nagar councils. He has not lost his hold on his constituency.

KS Chawla is a senior journalist based at Ludhiana.
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