THE MOHALI district recorded 84 per cent voting during the panchayat elections on Sunday. Derabassi block recorded maximum 86 per cent voting while Kharar block recorded the lowest voting — 83 per cent. Majri block recorded 83.5 per cent voting. Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC)-cum-election officer Amardeep Singh Bains said that the elections process was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from the district.
The ADC said that the district administration reacted swiftly wherever any trouble was reported. However, minor clashes were reported at some polling booths. Two groups had heated arguments at Daun village near Kharar when one group alleged presence of an election agent of the rival group at the pooling booth. One person was mishandled but the police force controlled the situation.
Going by the early trends, Congress-backed candidates seemed to be winning, although the elections were not contested on party symbols. Congress-backed Ajmer Singh defeated SAD-backed Gurdas Singh by a margin of 336 votes. Earlier, Gurdas Singh objected that Ajmer Singh’s polling agent was sitting inside the polling booth. Both the groups had heated arguments.
The situation remained tense at Balongi village throughout the day. The counting of votes was underway till filing the report. The village has around 15,000 votes. At Shatabgarh village in Zirakpur, Congress-backed candidates Usha Rani and Manpreet Kaur were pitted against each other. In the morning when voting started, the supporters of both the groups had heated exchanges but the police teams reached in time and no untoward incident happened.
After the counting which was completed around 7 pm, Usha Rani was declared winner with a margin of seven votes. Manpreet Kaur demanded re-election. SAD’s Kharar in-charge Ranjeet Singh said that the candidates supported by the SAD were threatened by the Congress-backed candidates. He alleged that at many polling stations, the results were delayed without any reason. SAD MLA from Derabassi N K Sharma also alleged highhandedness by Congress workers in his constituency. He said that many SAD supporters who were contesting elections were threatened by the Congress supporters during the election campaign.
Punjab Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu expressed satisfaction over the election process and said that the elections were held in a fair manner and remained peaceful. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal said that tight security arrangements were in place for the elections. Stray incidents of clashes were reported but the police controlled them.
SAD MP Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra alleged that the counting could not start at Shampur village in Mohali block till 9 pm which raised questions on the fairness of elections.
Chandumajra, who also reached the village at night, told Chandigarh Newsline that the Congress-backed candidates were losing the elections, so they fled while the counting was in progress and the polling staff refused to resume the counting. “It is starange that the polling staff did not start the counting. I shall approach senior officials,” Chandumajra added. During the counting of votes at Derabassi, the counting process was delayed at Naraingarh Jhuggian village and Tardek village where the SAD alleged rigging. The situation was tense at the village till filing the report.
Derabassi MLA Sharma told Chandigarh Newline that he lodged a complaint with the Derabassi Sub-Divisional Magistrate. He alleged that at Terdek village, the candidate they were supporting won with a margin of over 300 votes but the results were not declared until late in the evening. At Naraingarh Jhuggian village, Sharma alleged that the Congress supporters had polled fake votes.