Panchayat elections in Punjab, after seeing overwhelming participation of people, brought forth varied shades of electoral politics reflecting strength of democracy
It was a case of perfect communal harmony when people of a little known village in Gurdaspur elected a Muslim sarpanch for the first time. Voters of Veela Bajju village, rose above religious and political affiliations to elect Raj Ali as sarpanch. It is for the first time that the residents will have a Muslim as the head of the village.In fact according to old timers, no Muslim has ever been elected as sarpanch even in the surrounding villages. Ali, who has no political affiliations with any party, won by an impressive margin of 195 votes. Whether they were traditional Congress supporters or the Akalis or belonging to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), they all came forward to support Ali and ensure his victory. Of the 2,400 odd voters, around 130 are Muslims, most of whom are inter related. Besides the solid support of his community, the Jat Sikhs, the Mazhbi Sikhs, the Hindus and others voted for Ali to ensure his victory.Winning from inside the jail
An accused in infamous ‘Jamalpur fake encounter case’ Gurjeet Singh ‘Sam’ of Khokran won the Sarpanch elections after contesting from inside the Roopnagar Jail. Gurmeet Singh ‘Peter’, younger brother of Sam, informed that Sam won the polls with the margin of 97 votes. It is learnt that out of a total of 1,015 polled votes, he secured 545. Parminder Tiwari, the nearest rival of Sam, was contesting as a Congress party’s candidate, whereas Sam was independent. Notably, earlier Sam’s wife was Sarpanch of the panchayat of two villages, Takhran and Khokhran.
“People reposed faith in us as they find the case in which my brother is undertrial a fake one. We fielded Sam in the polls honouring the wish of village residents and finally, they ensured his victory, even when he was sitting in the jail,” said Peter. It is pertinent to mention that Sam has been facing the murder charges in a case of September 27, 2014, in which he along with some policemen was booked for gunning down two brothers Jatinder Singh and Harinder Singh in Jamalpur.
Sarpanch for 25 years
In Dalit-dominated Doaba the BSP might have bitten the dust in the past elections, but its consolidating victory for the fifth time in a row in a small village of Jalandhar has given them reasons to cheer. Though the elections were not contested on party symbols, but it proved Kotli Than Singh (reserve) village, as a bastion of BSP for 25 years consecutively. Doaba has around 40 per cent Dalit population. A renowned face of Dalit politics in Jalandhar, BSP leader Sukhwinder Singh Kotli won as Sarpanch for fifth time from his ancestral village Kotli Than Singh. The village has 1510 Dalit and 500 Backward Class (BC) and general votes.
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