Campaigning for civic polls

ends, all eyes on voters

Chandigarh, December 16- Campaigning for the high-stakes civic polls ended this evening, even as about 15,000 police personnel will be on duty, manning 914 polling stations across the state during voting on Sunday. The ruling Congress is making a bid to wrest control of three municipal corporations and 32 municipal councils and nagar panchayats from the SAD-BJP alliance.
Canvassing for the civil polls is generally handled by local MLAs and district presidents of various political parties. However, this time, a section of the leadership of the Congress, SAD and the BJP has been in the thick of things. These parties are contesting the polls on their own symbol in most places. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also in the fray, though it has not been able to field candidates in some of the 639 wards going to the polls.
Usually, the results of these elections go in favour of the ruling party. During its 10-year rule, the Akali-BJP alliance had called the shots in the civic polls amid allegations of manipulation, levelled by the Congress. Now, the latter is facing similar charges. Of the 639 wards, candidates have been unanimously elected in 90 — all won by the Congress.
For the first time, the State Election Commission has ordered videography of 103 hypersensitive wards in local bodies. In Patiala, videography will be done in all 60 wards of the Municipal Corporation.
Of the 15,000 cops deployed, 4,000 have been kept as the reserve force and 2,000 are on patrolling duty, to be rushed to any location in case of an untoward incident, said State Election Commissioner Jagpal Singh Sandhu. As many as 3,200 EVMs, manned by 6,000 people, will be used.



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