With the spectacular victory of the ruling Congress in the municipal polls of Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday said it had secured a win by resorting to state-sponsored repression.
But it lauded Akali workers for asserting themselves boldly and ensuring SAD emerged as the main opposition to the “corrupt and incompetent Congress party”.
In a statement here, party spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said even as SAD has emerged as the principal opposition party in Punjab post municipal elections despite going alone for the first time, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had been completely decimated in the state.
He said SAD candidates gave a tough fight to the Congress across the state with almost all seats witnessing a direct contest between the Congress and SAD.
“The vote share of SAD has also increased in urban areas,” he said.
“AAP has secured the number four position in elections to the municipal corporations,” he added.
The former minister said “it seems the civil machinery and Punjab Police has won the day for the Congress along with equal help from the state election commission”.
“More than 500 nomination papers of SAD candidates alone were rejected along with a couple of hundred of other parties in an attempt to make the entire election process a nomination process. This alone calls for sacking of the election commission.”
He said the Congress had seen the writing on the wall much before the polls and unleashed a systematic campaign of terror, intimidation, violence and murder.
The Congress won six of the seven municipal corporation elections with a clear majority and emerged the largest party in the seventh one.
In the Municipal Corporation of Bathinda, once the stronghold of SAD, the Congress created history by getting a party Mayor for the first time in 53 years.
The Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency is represented by SAD’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was the party’s only representative in the central government before quitting in the wake of the passage of the agricultural laws.
“History has been made today! Bathinda will get a Congress Mayor for the 1st time in 53 years! Thank you to all Bathinda residents. Congratulations to the people of Bathinda for a spectacular victory. Kudos to all Congress candidates and workers, who toiled for this day,” said Punjab minister and Congress leader Manpreet Singh Badal, who campaigned aggressively.
Elsewhere, the Congress won 1,199 of the 1,815 wards in municipal councils in the state.
The results for the urban local bodies’ elections have confirmed a loss of face for the BJP in Punjab amidst the protest of farmers against the three contentious farm laws as ruling Congress and the saffron party’s former ally SAD managed to win big in the polls.