BJP-Congress trade charges as Himachal gears up for local poll

As withdrawals of nominations for the local bodies elections closed, battle lines for the crucial polls are drawn even as the congress has upped the ante, leveling charges of misuse of official machinery and congress supported candidates being disqualified unfairly while BJP says a weak opposition was already behaving like a bad loser.

BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said that majority of those who had been elected unopposed in the panchayat and local urban bodies election were BJP supported candidates.

On the other hand congress spokesman Kuldeep Rathore held out that the official machinery was being used to browbeat election functionaries.

The urban local body election for the first time is being contested on party symbols whereas the rural poll is not being held along party lines but both BJP and Congress are backing candidates there too.

Rathore says the court directive of debarring those candidates from election who had under affidavit acknowledged to have encroached upon government or common lands was being used against congress supported candidates and the poll functionaries were being lenient if he happened to be a BJP backed candidate.

“Ministers were blatantly misusing their official position and even the ruling party MLA’s were using all fair or foul means to keep opposition backed candidate out of the poll fray,” he said.

A bad loser can only blame the referee, counters Dutt. He said that their party was going to the poll with an positive agenda and the opposition was only crying foul as they had no issues.

Though final figures were still be tabulated but election officials said that for the27,440 posts under contest in the panchayat polls as many as 90,471 candidates had entered the fray. This is the largest number ever to contest the panachayat polls, he said.

The three phase voting is to be held on 28 & 30 December and 1 January. Besides there being a direct contest for gram pradhan and up pradhan, the 46.11 lakh voters would be casing votes for a ward member, a block samithi member and a zila parishad delegate.

As many 16,714 candidates are said to be contesting for the 3195 pardhan posts, 20,903 for the up pradhan post, 44,344 for the 19,159 ward member posts, 7050 for the 1651 block samithi position and 1470 for the 240 zila parishad delegate election.

Due to winter having set in high altitude zone of Kinnaur, Lahaul & Spiti and Pangi, elections to 48 panchayats, 2 block samithis and one zile parishad would be held later, said an election spokesman.

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