It's more emphatic mandate than Feb 07: Badal

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Chandigarh, May 25 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today thanked the people of the Amritsar South constituency for giving the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance an "even more emphatic mandate than the one given in February 2007." The Chief Minister said that there had been a significant improvement in the percentage of votes polled in favour of the SAD candidate over the February 2007 result. While the SAD had polled 62.5 per cent of the total votes polled then (87392), this time the ruling party's chunk increased to 65.5 per cent of the total votes polled (66281).

This he said was despite the drop in the overall polling percentage because of inclement weather on the election day in the constituency. "The margin would have been even bigger had the overall poll percentage not suffered due to rain that day." Mr Badal said that it was even more significant that the present poll result actually widened the margin of SAD-BJP's victory over the Congress. Last year, the SAD stood ahead of the Congress by 27 per cent whereas this time, the ruling party leaped even further, increasing the gap to 33.3 per cent. This marks a thumping 6.3 per cent gain for the ruling alliance.

The Chief Minister said that this by itself showed that the graph of the SAD-BJP alliance had gone even further up since the formation of the government in Punjab.

Mr Badal also thanked the Election Commission of India for ensuring a free and fair poll. "The EC's role thoroughly exposed the vicious and misleading propaganda of our rivals about the fairness of the poll. I am grateful for all the fool proof arrangements made by the Commission to prevent any electoral malpractice from taking place during the entire poll process." Mr Badal asked the Congress party to accept the basic tenet of democracy in which the voice of the people is the voice of God. "We hope that, at least this time, the Congress party and its leadership will show democratic grace and dignity to accept the verdict of the people in true democratic spirit. And this should also convince them of the hollowness of politics of dharnas and empty slogans, bereft of ideology and commitment to the service of the people." UNI PS DB 1307

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