BJP wins Bhopal district panchayat president election amid protest by Congress

A scuffle broke out between Congress MP Digvijaya Singh and police outside the district panchayat office in Bhopal after the Congress alleged that the cops and the administration were working under the pressure of the state government during the elections for the post of president of the Bhopal district panchayat.

Ram Kunwar Gurjar, who had quit the Congress to join the BJP, won the president’s election.

Digvijaya Singh, however, alleged that nine votes were cast with fake medical certificates and accused the BJP of kidnapping Congress district panchayat members. “Anyone who is uneducated or not fit to cast their vote can get another family member to do it. But here. nine votes were cast with fake medical certificates. They are bringing government cars full of people, who cast votes. It’s a violation of election rules.” the Congress MP alleged.

Digvijaya Singh allegedly gheraoed minister Bhupendra Singh’s car when arrived with new panchayat members. Seeing the district panchayat members, the Congress started protesting, after which there was a ruckus outside the district panchayat office.

Bhupendra Singh, however, rejected the allegation, saying it was his personal car. “I am a minister and have the security that is given to a minister.”

Gurjar got the support of six out of 10 members, while Congress candidate Rashmi Bhargava got four votes.

On Thursday, the ruling BJP claimed that candidates affiliated to it have been elected to the posts of president and vice president in 226 out of 312 janpad panchayats in the state. Main opposition Congress, on the other hand, claimed that its candidates won in 167 janpad panchayats.

The elections, held on Wednesday and Thursday, were not contested on party tickets, making it difficult to verify the claims.

The result of Garoth Janpad Panchayat in Mandsaur district was not announced because of a court stay, an official said. The elections for the two posts took place in 143 Janpad Panchayats on Thursday and 170 Janpad Panchayats on Wednesday, he added.

Out of 143 Janpad Panchayats, the BJP claimed to have won in 102. The saffron party also claimed that Congress-backed candidates won in 29 Janpad Panchayats, Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) candidates won in five places and Independents won in six Janpad Panchayats.

On Wednesday, out of 170 janpad panchayats, the BJP claimed to have won president’s and vice president’s posts in 124 places.

The Congress won in 43 janpad panchayats, GGP in two and Independents in four, claimed the BJP.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the BJP has got historic success by winning in 226 janpad panchayats. But the Congress claimed it won 89 posts of janpad panchayat president and vice president on Wednesday and 78 on Thursday, thus taking the total to 167.

Elections to the post of deputy sarpanchs were held on July 24 for those village panchayats which went to polls in the first phase. Village panchayats where polls were held in the second and third phases elected deputy sarpanch on July 25 and 26 respectively.

The polls to the post of president and vice-president of Janpad panchayats by the recently elected members were held on July 27 for the first phase and on July 28 for the second phase. District panchayat members elected their respective presidents and vice-presidents on July 29.

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