In a nail-biting contest in village Datewal in Dharamkot division of Moga district, son of a local Akali Dal leader, who was contesting for sarpanch post while in jail in an attempt to murder case, lost to Congress backed candidate by a thin margin of 15 votes. The counting went on till late night Sunday as local SAD leader Sukhwinder Singh (58) alleged the process was rigged and as many as 57 votes were ‘rejected’ without specifying any reason.
Sukhwinder Singh, ex-chairman of market committee Kot Ise Khan, SAD circle incharge and four time sarpanch of Datewal village, had campaigned for his son, Kulwinder Singh (26), who is lodged in Moga sub-jail. He was booked for attempt to murder on September 8 this year after he had allegedly opened fire and injured a Congress worker outside SDM office Dharamkot during Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls when Akalis claimed that they were not being allowed to file nomination papers.
In the counting that went on till late Sunday, 440 votes were polled in favor of Kulwinder while Congress-backed candidate Gurcharan Singh got 455 votes. He was declared the winner for sarpanch post by 15 votes. Of total 1,100 registered votes in the village, 952 were polled. SAD leader Sukhwinder Singh claimed counting was rigged and residents were supporting his son as they knew that criminal case against him was ‘political vendetta’. “Of 952 votes polled in total, 57 votes were rejected without giving us any explanation,” he alleged.
Asked about his son contesting polls even as he is in jail, Sukhwinder said, “I campaigned for my son and he contested after we got permission from court. Everyone in village knows that case against my son was political vendetta. Rejecting 57 votes without any basis is not a small issue. We are considering to apply for recounting. My son’s bail plea is pending and since September he is in Moga sub-jail,” he said.
Even as Kulwinder lost by 15 votes, SAD backed candidates managed winning 4 out of 7 seats in village panchayat. High drama was witnessed in the village Sunday late after police was called as polling staff demanded protection. After declaration of results, polling staff was escorted out by the police. Gurcharan Singh, who won the sarpanch post, said that counting was completely fair.