Cong routed in Zila Parishad and Samiti polls in Punjab

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Chandigarh, May 14 (UNI) The opposition Congress is facing a rout in the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP alliance was heading for a landslide victory in all 20 districts of Punjab.

Results coming in from all the district headquarters indicated that the ruling alliance was set to capture power in all 20 Zila Parishads and in a majority of the 141 Block Samitis. The Congress claimed victory in a few isolated pockets in the state while the Left Parties and the BSP managed a couple of seats.

The counting of votes for two Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) began at the Block headquarters all over the state this morning. The complete results are expected to be declared till late in the night.

However, counting was not taken up where re-polling has been ordered by the state Election Commission or where polling has been postponed to May 26 by the Punjab and Haryana High court. Votes for the PRIs were cast on May 12.

Reports reaching here from Kapurthala said the ruling alliance swept the Zila Parishad elections in the district winning all the ten zones. SAD candidates won nine zones, while in one zone a BJP candidate was declared elected. The Congress which had won majority of the zones in the last polls drew a blank.

The alliance was also set to capture all five blocks in Kapurthala district where 87 Panchayat Samiti seats are at stake.

A report from Patiala stated that the SAD won 10 of the 12 zones in the Zila Parishad, results for which were declared. The Congress won the remaining two . The alliance had also captured a majority of the Samiti seats.

Reports from Amritsar said the SAD had captured all the six Zila Parishad zones, results for which were declared. Trends indicated that the SAD-BJP alliance was set to capture a majority in the Amritsar Zila Parishad.

Of the 164 results declared in the Panchayat Samitis in Amritsar, the Akalis had captured 136 seats, while the Congress could manage just 20 and the CPI got one and the rest went to independents.

In Tarn Taran, SAD had captured 94 Samiti seats out of the 111 results declared. Six seats were bagged by the Congress while the rest went to independents. Counting for the Zila Parishad seats has been halted by the Election Commission.

In Gurdaspur district, the ruling SAD-BJP has bagged 20 Zila Parishad zones, including six which were won unopposed. The Congress won three zones while the results for two more zones are yet to come in. Of the 87 Samiti results declared, the BJP had bagged 35 while SAD had got 25, the Congress was victorious on 24 and the remaining three went to independents.

In Bathinda district, the SAD-BJP alliance won 14 of the 17 zones to put its stamp of authority in the Zila Parishad. Of the 117 Samiti results declared in the district, SAD-BJP alliance had bagged 112 while three went to the Congress and the remaining two to indeoendents.

The alliance is all set to capture the Zila Parishads of Mansa, Muktsar, Ferozpur, Mansa and Ludhiana. In other districts too the alliance was heading for comfortable victories.

SAD president Sukhbir Badal has hailed the victory of the alliance and said that it was vote for the policies and programmes of the government.

Meanwhile, SAD secretary Daljit Singh Cheema claimed that of the 173 Zila Parishad seats for which results had been declared so far the alliance had won 151 seats in the state while the Congress could manage just eleven. Seven seats went to independents. He claimed that the alliance was set to capture power in all 20 Zila Parishads.

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