The Congress on Wednesday (February 17) swept the Punjab local body elections by clinching six of the seven municipal corporations.
The municipal corporations are Moga, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Abohar, Pathankot and Bathinda. It was after 53 years that the Bathinda corporation, a bastion of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), returned to the Congress. It is also the first time that the Congress will anoint a mayor in Abohar.
While SAD leader Harsimrat Badal, who stepped down from the Narendra Modi cabinet over the farm laws, represents the Bhathinda constituency in Lok Sabha, state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, a cousin of SAD’s chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, represents the Bathinda urban Assembly seat for the Congress.
“History has been made today! Bathinda will get a Congress mayor for the 1st time in 53 years! Thank you to ALL Bathinda residents. Congratulations to the people of Bathinda for a spectacular victory. Kudos to all Congress candidates and workers, who toiled for this day,” tweeted Manpreet Singh Badal.
Even though the final results are awaited, the Congress’ win could be attributed to the disgruntlement of voters towards the BJP over the farm laws. The saffron party was in alliance with SAD, until the latter recently called it quits.
The state recorded 71.39 per cent voter turnout on February 14 which saw 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats and seven municipal corporations going to polls.
Re-polling was held on Tuesday, while another is slated to be held in booth numbers 32 and 33 of the Mohali municipal corporation between 8 am and 4 pm on Wednesday. While results of the former will be announced on Wednesday, that of the latter will be declared on Thursday.
Of the 9,222 candidates who contested the elections, the Congress had the lion share at 2,037 while SAD had 1,569 candidates in the fray. BJP which contested the elections without SAD’s support had fielded only 1,003 candidates.
The results will come as a morale booster for the Congress which is facing trouble in Puducherry where its strength in the Assembly has slumped to a minority and the government led by it is teetering.