Punjab Panchayat Polls: Two Killed, Turnout 67 Per Cent

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Old 13-May-2008
Punjab Panchayat Polls: Two Killed, Turnout 67 Per Cent

May 13:
Two persons were killed and 20 injured, mainly in clashes between SAD and Congress activists, as sporadic violence today marred Panchayat polls in Punjab which witnessed a 67 per cent turnout.
A Congress worker and a 65-year-old man were killed in Amritsar and Ropar districts respectively as clashes erupted between supporters of ruling SAD and main Opposition Congress in several districts.
At a few places, skirmishes took places between activists of SAD and BJP which are sharing power in the state but are locked in a bitter contest for a number of Panchayat seats. Polling was countermanded in some villages in Faridkot, Patiala and Sangrur districts due to electoral malpractices, a State Election Commission spokesman said.
He said an estimated 67 per cent voters exercised their franchise for elections to 20 Zilla Parishad and 120 Panchayat Samitis in 12,705 villages. The Panchayat polls are seen as a litmus test for Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who took over reins of the ruling SAD early this year.
The exercise is also seen as a referendum on policies and programmes of the SAD-BJP government in the state. BJP has put up candidates in 54 Zilla Parishad and 380 Panchayat Samiti seats, mostly falling in state's Malwa region.

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