Stray incidents of violence mark civic polls in Punjab

Stray incidents of violence today marked the first phase of election to civic bodies in Punjab where polling was held for 26 Nagar Panchayats and three Municipal Councils.

Officials said the turnout was high at most places, with 83 per cent voters exercising their franchise at some Nagar Panchayats. Some panchayats witnessed stray incidents of violence, they said.

Repoll was ordered in a ward of Gannaur Nagar Panchayat in Patiala district after a woman constable was allegedly assaulted during an altercation, police said. A case has been registered against former Congress MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur in this regard, they said.

In another incident, two unidentified persons assaulted former President of Mandi Gobindgarh Municipal Council Bal Mukand Aggarwal near a polling booth.

Condemning the incidents, PCC chief Amarinder Singh blamed members of ruling Akali Dal for the violence.

"This is nothing short of state-sponsored violence. Many Congress workers were assaulted and injured at several places and false cases slapped against them," he told reporters.

Singh claimed that Congress MLA G S Boparai was assaulted by unidentified persons and the cavalcade of another leader, Jassi Khangura, targetted in Dakha area of Ludhiana.
Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar slammed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for the violence, which he dubbed as "political vendetta".

He said he would lead a delegation of Congress leaders to the Governor to apprise him of the "state-sponsored terror".

Ruling SAD, on the other hand, strongly condemned the "undemocratic actions" of the Congress leaders and said their statements showed the party has conceded defeat.

The second round of the two-phase civic polls will be held for Municipal Corporations of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala on June 10.

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