As the results of the gram panchayat elections were announced on Tuesday,both the Congress and BJP staked claim on the winners. While the Congress claimed that among the 12 sarpanches,six were from the party,the BJP leaders staked claim to five of them. Sadhu Singh,elected sarpanch of Sarangpur,was the only Independent candidate who won.
Significantly,the panchayat elections are not contested on party symbols. During the elections in 2008,the tally of the Congress was nine and that of the BJP was three. The elections were held on December 15 and the counting was held at four centres on Tuesday. The centres were Government College,Sector 11; Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology,Sector 26; Government Home Science College,Sector 10; and Government College of Education,Sector 20.
A total of 12 sarpanches and 132 panches were to be elected for 13 villages. Of these,one sarpanch and 28 panches were elected unopposed. At Kishangarh,Kaimbwala and Behlana,the post was reserved for women candidates. For Raipur Kalan and Makhanmajra that are represented by one panchayat,the post of sarpanch was reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate. At Khuda Jassu,the post was reserved for a Scheduled Caste woman.
The Congress claimed that six of the sarpanches elected were supported by it. They are Harinder Thakur who was elected sarpanch of Mauli Jagran,Mohinder Kaur at Behlana,Rakesh Sharma at Khuda Lahora,Gurpreet Happy at Daria,Gurvinder Kaur at Kishangarh and Laxman Singh at Raipur Khurd. Gurvinder Kaur is the wife of DevinderLobana,the spokesperson of the Congress on rural issues. Mohinder Kaur is the mother of a Congress leader. People of villages have shown faith in the Congress as has been reflected in the results. This shows that in the Lok Sabha elections as well,people will support the Congress, said president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee B B Bahl. Asked about more than one candidate from the party contesting from the same seat,Bahl said that during the Lok Sabha all these votes would be consolidated behind one person.
The BJP claimed that five of the sarpanches elected were backed by it. They are Kuljit Singh at Dhanas,Paramjit Kaur at Khuda Jassu,Ram Singh at Raipur Kalan,Meeta Rani at Kaimbwala and Dr Hukum Singh at Khuda Alisher.
Of these,though Paramjit Kaur does not belong to any party,she was backed by the BJP during the campaign.Our tally has improved from the previous elections.These elections are not fought on a party platform and parties do not have a direct role to play. It is interpersonal relations that have a role to play, said president of the city unit of BJP Sanjay Tandon. Ram Singh was the only sarpanch to have been elected unopposed after the nomination papers filed by the other candidates were rejected. His wife and son have also been elected panches. It was a close contest for Meeta Rani who won just by a margin of five votes. Among the highest margins,Laxman Singh at Raipur Khurd won by 787 votes.