2006 passes as election year, witnessing heat and dust

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Chandigarh, Jan 1 (UNI) With Punjab Assembly polls round the corner, 2006 was an election year in the state, providing rough weather for the ruling Congress amidst agitations and political rallies.

BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Sidhu's resignation, following his conviction in a murder case in December, caught the national media's attention amidst significant judgements in other high profile cases like that of Shibu Soren.

Mr Sidhu's resignation led to the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat lying vacant for which the polling would take place along with the state assembly elections on February 13.

In a sensational case, Akali MLA Gaganjit Singh Barnala, son of Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, was accused of rape by his maid servant on August 12. However, she turned hostile in a Chandigarh court.

Heat and dust flared from issues like farmers' land acquisition as the peasants severely clashed with the police, opposing the same for the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Amritsar and earlier in Barnala, where the Trident Group of Industries acquired the farmers' land. The Amarinder Singh government, however, succumbed to the resistance as they withdrew the notification for acquiring the land for the SEZ on behalf of the private players like Reliance.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh began his series of 'vikas yatras' from Nangal on November eight in the form of an aggressive campaign along with the other Congress leadership. He got tremendous response as his motor cavlcade criss-crossed villages across all the three regions- Majha, Doaba and Malwa- in the state.

The CM's major planks to get the people's mandate has been a significant hike of Rs 100 in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat, smooth procurement of all the crops in both Rabi and Kharif seasons all through these five years and the infrastructural development in the form of mega projects which, he stated, would bring in 20lakh jobs for the state's unemployed youth.

Congress MLA Raj Khurana from Rajpura joined the BJP on December 26.

Both, the ruling Congress and the main opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) helding massive political rallies in each others' strongholds. The Congress held a rally on December eight at Badal village of Lambi segment, the constituency of three-time former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The SAD also held its massive rally on the same day in Moga which coincided with Mr Badal's birthday.


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