Akali Dal confident of sweeping Punjab bypolls


Chandigarh : The ruling Akali Dal party in Punjab is confident of winning the by-elections for three assembly seats where polling will be held Monday.

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The bypolls, in which Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal is also contesting, will be held in Khanuwan, Jalalabad and Banur constituencies.

Badal is contesting from Jalalabad in the border district of Ferozepur, some 300 km from here.

He had to resign as deputy chief minister July 1, as he could not fulfil the constitutional requirement of getting elected to the assembly within six months of being sworn in as a minister in the Punjab government.

“I am confident of my win and besides, we are also sure of our party’s clean sweep in all the three seats. We have observed that Congress leaders have lost their loyalty among the masses of Punjab,” said Badal junior, while addressing a rally in Zirakpur, around 10 km from here.

Akalis are also trying to retain the Banur assembly seat held by former cooperatives minister Kanwaljit Singh, who was killed in a road accident in March 2009.

His son Jasjit Singh Banni is contesting the seat, and is expected to give a tough fight to Congress candidate Deepinder Singh Dhillon.

The Jalalabad and Khanuwan seats were rendered vacant as the sitting legislators Sher Singh Gubaya and Partap Singh Bajwa were elected to the Lok Sabha in the recent general elections.

The Badal government has two years and seven months to go before the next assembly poll in Punjab in February-March 2012.

State’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kusumjit Sidhu said: “Out of the 479 polling stations in the three constituencies, 75 have been declared sensitive, 36 very sensitive and 253 hyper sensitive by the state election commission.”

“Besides the local police officials, fifteen companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed to maintain law and order,” she added.