Stray incidents of violence in Punjab urban local bodies’ polls (Ld)

Chandigarh, Feb 14 (IANS) Stray incidents of violence marked the 117 Punjab urban local bodies, including eight high-stake municipal corporations, where polling will continue till 4 p.m. on Sunday, officials said.

Officials said the turnout was high at many places. Some municipal councils witnessed stray incidents of violence, they said.

The main contest is among the ruling Congress, the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

The BJP, which is facing anger over the contentious Central farm laws, is also in the fray. It is contesting the polls for the first time in two decades without the Akalis, the oldest NDA ally that has parted ways from it over farm laws.

AAP activist Manveer got injuries in poll violence in Patti town in Tarn Taran district.

“AAP Punjab volunteer Manveer badly injured and fired upon by the Congress worker in both legs and head, in presence of Punjab Police during booth capturing effort by Congress goons. Manveer bravely resisted. Dismiss SSP Tarn Taran,” the AAP Punjab tweeted.

Elsewhere, SAD candidate Parveen Kumar Pinna, who is contesting the Moga Municipal Corporation election as a councillor, was assaulted outside the polling booth.

Angered over the three contentious farm laws, activists of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee stopped BJP booth managers from setting up a help desk at polling booths in Amritsar.

SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia accused the state election commission of failing to conduct free and fair polls.

However, local issues of towns and cities and the respective wards dominated the campaigning.

The voting is being held for eight municipal corporations — Abohar, Bathinda, Batala, Kapurthala, Mohali, Hoshiarpur, Pathankot and Moga — and 109 municipal councils and municipal panchayats.

The results will be declared on February 17.

According to the state election commission, there are 20,49,777 men, 18,65,354 women and 149 transgender voters, totalling 39,15,280 for the civic elections.

A total of 9,222 candidates are in fray for 2,302 wards.

Political observers say these polls just a year ahead of the assembly elections is a ‘semi-final’ for the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government that is eyeing to repeat its government against the backdrop of the farm laws that has generated a wave of anger against the BJP.

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