Violence in Patiala, Akalis to move court
Patiala: Even as visuals of Akali Mayor Amrinder Singh Bazaz being thrashed and his turban tossed allegedly by Congress workers were flashing across news channels, District Electoral Officer Kumar Amit claimed that “the polling was peaceful as his team and police kept a close eye on the entire exercise”.Nevertheless, stray incidents of firing were also reported in Ward Nos. 20 and 60. At least 13 persons were reportedly injured in clashes at various places.Since morning when the polling began at 8 am, Congress candidates and their supporters were seen gathering outside polling booths. SAD workers alleged that the police were selective in their approach and allowed easy access to Congress supporters, while all others were thrown out.They alleged that at many booths, voters were told that their vote had been polled. In a majority of the wards, Congress supporters voted more than 12 times without any ink mark on their finger, they alleged, adding that in Ward No. 54, the son of the Congress candidate and his supporters were seen misbehaving with voters standing in the queue. Bazaz was attacked and his turban was tossed in the melee. “The Congress knows that they have failed to win the trust of the voters. They thus attacked us in a desperate bid to win the seat,” alleged Bazaz, whose wife was a candidate.Senior Akali leader and former minister Surjit Singh Rakhra said: “It is the murder of democracy. The district administration has failed even as Congress candidates and their supporters captured booths and misused power.”“Our repeated pleas of videography of the polling process were turned down and our candidates were threatened,” he alleged.Prem Singh Chandumajra, MP, alleged that he saw many Congress candidates ensured in connivance with the police that their supporters were allowed multiple entries inside polling stations. He said they would approach the court as the Patiala DC and the SSP acted as Congress agents.He said they had apprised the DC of the Congress “highhandedness”. “If suitable action is not initiated, we will announce our next step in Fatehgarh Sahib on December 26,” he said.In contrast, Kumar Amit claimed that the polling process was peaceful and barring a few incidents, there were no complaints with him. “You can send me a representation if there was anything wrong,” he said.Preneet Kaur, who spearheaded the Congress campaign in Patiala, said the Akalis tried their best to scare away voters, but they failed miserably. “Besides instigating violence here and there, the Akalis indulged in rumour mongering in a desperate effort to keep the voters away,” she alleged.While the CM did not turn up, Preneet Kaur along with her supporters cast her vote, so did Health Minister Brahm Mohindra and his family.
Akalis at receiving end
- Ward No. 53: Sitting Akali Mayor Amrinder Singh Bazaz thrashed allegedly by Congress workers. He was manhandled when he tried to “stop them from “casting bogus votes. His turban was tossed in the melee
- Ward No. 50: Former councillor Joginder Singh Changa, whose daughter-in-law was an Akali candidate, was thrashed and his clothes were torn
- Ward No. 14: Congress and Akali workers clashed over the alleged bogus voting. Police did not allow mediapersons to enter the booths. They allegedly thrashed mediapersons, including a woman journalist, and took away their cameras and mobile phones as they were trying to record images of booth capturing