The Congress on Wednesday, 17 February, won six of the eight municipal corporations in the Punjab civic body polls, officials were quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Among the places where the Congress has scored victories are Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Abohar, Batala and Pathankot. The party, however, could not win a majority in Moga municipality.
Meanwhile, the counting of votes for the Mohali municipal corporation is scheduled for Thursday after the State Election Commission ordered re-polling at two booths, the PTI report said.
Besides the municipal corporations, polling for 109 municipal councils and municipal panchayats was held on 14 February, with the counting of ballots being held simultaneously, IANS reported. A turnout of 71.39 percent was recorded.
The Congress won a majority in 87 of the 109 municipal councils, reports said.
According to The Indian Express, the Congress also won 1,399 of the 2,165 municipal wards.
The other parties in the fray for the polls included the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP.
The elections come amid massive protests by farmers, especially of Punjab, against the Centre's three contentious agriculture laws. The agitation has been centred around the three protest sites of Delhi-NCR – Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri – for almost three months now. The legislations also cost the BJP one of its oldest allies in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal.
‘Rejection of Negative Politics’
Reacting to the win, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that it was the “victory of each Punjabi” and thanked all Congress workers.
Reacting to the Congress' performance, state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal tweeted saying, "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."
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar called it a rejection of "negative politics" of Opposition parties. "We contested on the development agenda. This victory will embolden our workers to work hard,” he was quoted by PTI as saying.
A total of 9,222 candidates were in the fray for 2,302 wards in the elections, with 2,847 of them being Independents.
The Congress fielded 2,037 candidates, while there were 1,569 from SAD. The BJP, AAP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had fielded 1,003, 1,606 and 160 candidates, respectively, the IANS report said.
(With inputs from IANS, NDTV and PTI.)