Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday hailed the sweeping Congress victory in just concluded Panchayat polls in the state as a victory of democracy and a clear vindication of his government’s policies. The Chief Minister also congratulated the people of Punjab for ensuring a largely peaceful poll, in which a whopping 80.38% of the total 12,787,395 eligible voters exercised their franchise – a record for the state. Of the 13,276 booths in which polling was held, repoll has been declared in a mere 14, the Chief Minister pointed out, lauding the security forces for maintaining law and order during the elections despite attempts by the opposition to trigger trouble. Undeterred by the false propaganda unleashed by the Opposition parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), against the Congress government, the voters came out in large numbers without fear to cast their votes in favour of his party’s candidates, said Captain Amarinder. This shows that the disillusionment of the electorate with the SAD and other opposition parties, including the BJP and AAP, was complete, said the Chief Minister, adding that the people of Punjab were no longer willing to be misled by the canards being spread by these parties. The wave in favour of the Congress, which started in Punjab with the Assembly polls held last year and was manifest in the recent elections in various states across the country, was evidently going strong, till the lowest rung of the democratic ladder, CM said.The Panchayat polls indicated the palpable pro-Congress mood in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, said Chief Minister, expressing confidence that his party would win parliamentary polls too hands down. The people of Punjab had seen the development and progress of the past 21 months, since the Congress government took over, as against the utter ruination into which the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime had plunged the state during 10 years of their misrule, said Captain Amarinder.The negative campaigning of the opposition, which was clearly bereft of any positive agenda, had also contributed to the Congress victory in the Panchayat elections, and would continue to stand the party in good stead in the LS polls, he added. Of the 13,175 Sarpanches announced elected so far, 11241 belong to the Congress, with SAD and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accounting for only 981 and 100 respectively. Other smaller parties and independents accounted for 813 of the elected Sarpanches. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has suffered another ignominious electoral defeat, indicating that it had become completely irrelevant and was a non-entity in Punjab, Captain Amarinder pointed out.
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