Chandigarh: In what is being touted as a referendum on Centre's farm laws, the ruling Congress dispensation led by Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday emerged as the largest party in the Punjab civic polls, winning six of the seven municipal corporations. All the three opposition parties – the Akalis, the AAP and the BJP – were not even a close second to the Congress and trailing even independent candidates in some wards.
In the final count, the Congress won 1,199 of the 1,815 wards in municipal councils and 281 of the 350 municipal corporation seats; SAD trailed at 289 and 33; and the BJP at 38 and 20, respectively.
The plight of the BJP can be gauged from the fact that in saffron-dominated Pathankot, the Congress won 37 out of the 50 seats. Likewise, in Bathinda, the party is set to elect a mayor for the first time in 53 years; the Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
The results have come as a shot in the arm for the Chief Minister with party in-charge Sunil Jakhar not losing the opportunity to launch the "Captain for 2022" campaign.
Amarinder Singh thanked and congratulated the people for defeating the "negative and vicious forces that are out to ruin Punjab and its future". The first major polls to be held in Punjab since the enactment of the 'draconian' farm laws had also underscored people's angst with the BJP, which was responsible for the anti-farmer legislation with the active support of its then ally, SAD, and the collusion of ruling AAP in Delhi, Amarinder Singh said.