LAHORE  - In the midst of  allegations of rigging and mismanagement by PPP, Senate elections for 11 seats in Punjab were held in a peaceful atmosphere and without any interruption in the Punjab Assembly Committee Room here on Thursday.

In the PML-N dominated house of 371 members, the party made a clean sweep on 11 seats in Punjab. The candidates, N’s MPAs and ministers, showed strong enthusiasm and activity to guide the voters throughout the day. The PPP faction led by former Opposition leader Raja Riaz, Shaukat Basra, Faiza Malik along with others made a hue and cry about election rigging and mismanagement. But the averments were strongly denied by the ruling party through Malik Nadeem Kamran, Rana Muhammad Arshad, Haroon Sultan and others.

The PPP men alleged that extra ballots papers had been supplied to the PML-N voters on one pretext or the other, while a large number of them had thronged the presiding officer instead of reaching him one by one. They also claimed that their voters were forced to give vote to other candidates while restriction on carrying cell phones inside the polling station was also not being strictly observed.

They claimed that polling has been stalled on their complaints. However, these allegations proved inane of substance as polling continued without any let up and no officially announcement was made by the Election Commission staff in support of their allegations.

From the side of PPP and PML-N, loud slogans in support of their respective party leaders were exchanged, and this series continued till announcement of the unofficial result when only the N-league persons were left in the field.

The PML-N celebrated the victory of the candidates on beat of the drum and distributing sweets and exchanging greetings.

The first vote of the day was cast by the minority MPA of the N League, Khalil Tahir Sindhu.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also reached the Punjab Assembly straight from the Airport on his return from official visit to Saudi Arabia, to cast his vote. He was accorded warm welcome by the members. He stayed in his chamber for about two hours during which he kept in touch with the activity of the party members.

Punjab Acting Governor and PA Speaker Rana Iqbal Ahmad Khan also cast his vote.

In the morning, Raja Riaz had a scuffle with the security persons deputed outside the chamber. Raja Riaz, the chief polling agent of the PPP, accompanied by a friend wanted to make his way inside the premises which the security persons prevented. This led to a physical push and pull between the two sides resulting in Raja’s success in entering the building along with his friend.

Another incident took place when the PML-N MPA Sobia Satti fell unconscious while queued for casting the vote. She was rushed to Services Hospital where after administration of medical treatment she came back and cast her vote.

PTI MPAs did not take part in the voting, as its 29 members have tendered resignations, which are yet pending acceptance by the Speaker. The N leaders alleged that PTI MPAs had been canvassing for vote to the PPP candidates. Out of the total vote cast, 15 were rejected on the general, each 10 on women and technocratic seats.

Talking to the media men after casting his vote, Shahbaz Sharif congratulated his party’s candidates for winning the senate election.

He said that the election process for senate had completed in a democratic manner.

“It is a matter of satisfaction that assembly members took an active part in the senate election. PML-N government believes in democracy and is custodian of democratic traditions in the country,” he added.

The chief minister further expressed the hope that the newly elected members of senate would play their due role for the progress and prosperity of the country and the implementation of welfare programmes for the masses.