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Congress sweeps Punjab civic polls

Chandigarh: The ruling Congress on Sunday swept the three municipal corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar and Patiala while the opposition SAD-BJP alleged misuse of official machinery. The Congress virtually swept the wards in the three important corporations as results were out by late evening,, prompting celebrations in the ruling camp.
The results come as a boost for the Amarinder Singh-led government in the state. The Opposition alliance, however, alleged gross poll code violations and demanded countermanding of the Patiala corporation elections.
Polling was also held in 29 municipal councils and nagar panchayats Sunday, amid tight security arrangements. Among the three municipal corporations, Patiala registered the highest poll percentage of over 62.22 per cent followed by Jalandhar at 57.2 and Amritsar at 51 per cent while the voting percentage in the municipal councils and nagar panchayats ranged between 60-86 per cent.
In Patiala, the Congress won 58 wards while the opposition failed to open account. In Jalandhar, 66 wards fell into the Congress's kitty followed by 8 which went to BJP and four to their ally SAD. In Amritsar, Congress won 69 while 12 went to the SAD-BJP alliance.
The voting started at 8 AM and continued till 4 PM, a spokesman of the state election commission said here. Tight security arrangements were made to ensure fair and free polling, which by and large remained peaceful barring a stray incident, officials said.
The main political outfits in the state: ruling Congress, SAD-BJP and AAP, were contesting the polls on their party symbols. A total of 8,000 election staff and 15,500 police personnel were deployed at the polling stations. The Election Commission had ordered videography of 103 hyper-sensitive wards. Polling was held for 222 wards out of the 225 wards of the three municipal corporations and 327 wards of the 29 municipal councils and nagar panchayats. In 90 wards, the candidates had earlier won unopposed, Of these, three were in the Patiala Municipal Corporation and 87 in municipal councils and the nagar panchayats.
Nearly 900 candidates were in fray for the polls to the three municipal corporations – Amritsar, Patiala and Jalandhar. The civic polls were held nine months after the state assembly elections after which the Congress stormed to power in the state.
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