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Panchayat poll violence: Akalis blame Congress

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

With stray incidents of violence reported during the Punjab panchayat polls on Sunday, the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) blamed the Congress, alleging a "complete hijacking" of the election by the ruling party.

"Congress party is now afraid to face people. They know they have done nothing. That's why party indulged in large scale violence and rigging in Panchayat elections today. Black day for democracy. Elections hijacked," SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a tweet.

Senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema alleged that Congress workers incited violence during the polling and indulged in booth-capturing at some places, but the administration remained a mute spectator.

He alleged a "complete hijacking" of the polls by the Congress and said "this amounted to murder of democracy".

The main opposition party in the state, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), also alleged that booth capturing did happen at some places.

Reacting to the alleged incidents of violence and booth-capturing, Leader of Opposition and senior AAP leader Harpal Cheema said it was a "black day" for democracy.

As the counting of votes began in the evening, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh congratulated the winning candidates.

"Congratulations to the winners of #PunjabPanchayatPolls. A strong assertion of democracy at the grassroots. I call upon the newly elected Sarpanches and Panchayat members to work out a long-term vision to usher in positive change in their villages," he said in a tweet.

The polls were held to elect as many as 13,276 "sarpanch" (village headman) and 83,831 "panch" (village council members) for 13,276 villages, officials said.

They added that before the polls, 4,363 "sarpanch" and 46,754 "panch" were already declared elected unopposed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 31 2018. 00:35 IST