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Monday, March 08, 2021

Punjab local polls: 2,832 Independents in fray, Cong has maximum fighting on party symbol

After rejection and withdrawals now, BJP’s only 1,003 candidates have been left in fray to fight on party symbol. However, the majority of these candidates are not even being allowed to campaign.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: February 7, 2021 8:26:05 am
Elections are happening in 8 Municipal Corporations, 20 Municipal Councils of Category A followed by 39 and 23 in Category B and C, respectively while 27 Nagar Panchayats will also be going to polls on February 14. (File Photo)

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES have emerged as the biggest group in fray (2,832 candidates) in the upcoming Urban Local Body polls in Punjab scheduled on February 14. Candidates fighting on political party symbols come after this group, with Congress being the top among them with 2,037 of its candidates fighting on party symbol. The BJP, which is fighting without SAD and amid farm protests, has only 1,003 candidates fighting on party symbol..

Data shared by the State Election Commission (SEC) revealed that a total 9,222 candidates have filed their nomination papers for 2,215 wards of 117 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), out of which 2,832 have been filed by Independent candidates followed by Congress (2037 candidates).

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the third in the list with 1,606 of its candidates fighting on party symbol, while SAD is the next with 1,569 candidates in fray on party symbol. BSP has fielded 160 candidates from various districts of Punjab on party symbol . Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has fielded four candidates on party symbol from Pathankot, while CPI has fielded two candidates. SAD (Amritsar) has fielded only 2 candidates from Ferozepur.

The above figures were revealed by the SEC after scrutiny of papers and withdrawal of nominations by candidates. CPI has fielded one each candidate from Moga and Mansa while CPM did not field even a single candidate this time.

“In many ULBs, candidates of various political parties are contesting without party symbols. This trend is more popular in Nagar Panchayats and Municipal Council (C) where the ward area is very small and hence people vote on the basis of personal connections rather than looking for a party symbol. Still, we are the second largest party after Congress which has fielded the maximum candidates on party symbol. This despite the fact that Congress tried to intimidate our candidates and did not allow a number of them to even file nomination papers,” said Leader of Opposition and AAP MLA Harpal Singh Cheema.

BJP and SAD are contesting all alone after a gap of 27 years as SAD had snapped ties with BJP on September 27 after President gave his nod to the three farm laws.

After rejection and withdrawals now, BJP’s only 1,003 candidates have been left in fray to fight on party symbol. However, the majority of these candidates are not even being allowed to campaign.

In Barnala’s ward number 20 and 22, candidates Ashwani Kumar and Jagjit Singh alias Jagga Tailor faced protests in their wards when they went there to campaign. Their houses were also gheraoed and they were asked not to come to the wards to seek votes. Farmer unions also supported area residents in this protest.

Jeewan Gupta, general secretary of Punjab BJP, said,”We are contesting alone for the first time. We had fielded more than 1,150 candidates on party symbol, but we were aware that rejection of papers will happen because of threats by ruling party candidates. A number of candidates in category C and Nagar Panchayat are contesting as Independent candidates.”

Meanwhile, maximum candidates have been fielded from Mohali (901) in various categories of ULBs followed by Bathinda (769).

From Sangrur, 654 candidates have been fielded from Municipal Councils category A, B & C and different Nagar Panchayats. Elections are happening in 8 Municipal Corporations, 20 Municipal Councils of Category A followed by 39 and 23 in Category B and C, respectively while 27 Nagar Panchayats will also be going to polls on February 14.

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