Chandigarh: The ruling Congress has swept the zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls in Punjab, according to the results declared Sunday.
The Congress won 331 of the 354 zila (district) parishad seats, while the Shiromani Akali Dal got 18, Bharatiya Janata Party secured two and the Aam Aadmi Party none, the State Election Commission said.
Out of 2,899 zones of 150 panchayat samitis, 2,351 candidates of the Congress have won, 353 of SAD, 63 of BJP, 20 of AAP, one of CPI, two of SAD (Amritsar), two of CPI (M) and 107 of others, it said in a statement in Chandigarh.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hailed the Congress' victory in the polls, saying "this shows people have reposed their confidence in the Congress and extended their full support".
He rejected the opposition charge of misuse of official machinery in these polls, saying, "when anyone loses, what else will they say. They will not say they have become unpopular".
Singh described the landslide victory of the Congress in the zila parishad and panchayat samiti polls as an "acknowledgement of people's trust and confidence in its development-oriented policies and pro-people initiatives of the Congress".
"The humiliating defeat of SAD and other opposition parties shows that the people have completely rejected their sectarian politics and have given a clear verdict in the favour of development and secular credentials of the Congress government," the chief minister said.
In these polls, Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine suffered a setback after a gap of 10 years.
The polling was held on September 19.
Singh hailed the Congress' victory as "yet another endorsement of his government's policies and programmes", and a "total rejection of the opposition's malicious campaign" against the ruling dispensation.
Main opposition party AAP had lashed out at the Congress, accusing it of winning polls by "misusing" the official machinery and intimidating opponents, while the Akalis too had levelled similar charges.
"It is not the defeat of opposition but of democracy," said AAP MLA and Leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema in a statement here.