The May 19 zila parishad and block samiti polls in Punjab will be the first ever election in the state where almost all Opposition parties have come together locally against the SAD-BJP alliance. Considered to be signs of times to come,the rural electorate has been presented with new political combinations in the run up to these elections.
Congress has joined hands with PPP and the Left parties at several places. In a sight never seen before in Bathinda,for instance,posters of Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Pratap Singh Bajwa also have pictures of PPP president Manpreet Badal. Party leaders are also sharing stages in rallies in villages.
In several districts of Doaba region,Congress has joined hands at the local level with the BSP. In Doaba,where the population of Dalits is the highest in the state,BSP has some hold in certain rural pockets of Jalandhar and Dasuya.
According to political analysts,the political bonding in these elections is unique. The build up is interesting but it cannot be called a dry run to the Lok Sabha polls when ticket sharing becomes a big issue. But for now,history is being made. All eyes are now on the fate of these new alliances, said a political observer.
Analysts added that the coming together of these parties also has much to do with the larger than life image that Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has built in the last six months. His image of being unbeatable or invincible in elections and micromanaging everything seems to have made many in the Opposition more agreeable to put up a joint front and meet the challenge he and his party poses, said an analyst.
Sukhbir,however,is confident of a win. It has never happened before that all these parties have come together. This has made the whole thing more interesting. Now,we will get to defeat them together instead of individually, he told The Indian Express.
Confident that the SAD- BJP will sweep the polls,Sukhbir said he was not joining the campaign for a reason. My men are motivated enough and this is their litmus test. Every minister,the MLAs and each worker is working with a feeling that his hold over the area is on test. I am most satisfied with the way campaigning is going on. Overall,I am controlling the campaigning but not getting down to micro managing. This is something every worker needs to learn on his own. It is like a preliminary examination of SAD workers before Lok Sabha polls, he added.
50,000 Punjab Police men to man polls
Punjab Police has deployed 50,000 personnel,including homeguards for the May 19 elections. These include deployment at polling stations,patrolling parties,DSP and SSP back-up teams. Multiple layers of security arrangements have been made. Out of the total 19,000 polling booths where voting will take place,almost 15 to 20 per cent have been declared sensitive,said M L Sharma,Secretary of State Election Commission.
Lalli writes to SEC
Alleging that every election in Punjab since the 2007 Assembly polls have been rigged,state Congress Intellectual Cell Chairman S RS Lalli Majithia has told the State Election Commission (SEC) and Amritsar returning officer that armed Akalis were roaming scot free and there was serious a threat to his life. In his letters,Lalli has alleged that Congress nominees were being lured and coerced by Akalis to withdraw nominations. He also demanded that Majitha be treated as special case and paramilitary forces be deployed at sensitive booths.
Rotation of sarpanchs: info by Monday
Chandigarh: The High Court Thursday directed Punjab to put up all circulars,instructions,rosters,rules and regulations,pertaining to reservation and rotation of seats of sarpanchs,on the official website of Punjab State Election Commission,before Monday. Directions in this regard were sought,in a PIL,by a Nawanshahr-based NGO (HELP). The petitioner had sought directions to Punjab to introduce transparency in the reservation and rotation of seats for the post of sarpanchs in various Gram panchayats.