Tension prevailed at village Sarabha in Dakha constituency of Ludhiana Sunday, a day ahead of polling day for the bypoll.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali alleged that Congress MLA Kulbir Singh Zira was allegedly trying to influence voters in village Sarabha and was present there illegally even as the campaigning ended Saturday. Ayali along with SAD workers reached the village and called the police. However, police claimed that Zira wasn’t found there.
Later, local Congress leader Karan Warring alleged that SAD workers gheraoed and vandalised his friend’s vehicle in village Sarabha. Police registered an FIR against seven Akali Dal workers and also said that Ayali breached model code of conduct by bringing hundreds of workers and convoy of vehicles to the village.
The war of words escalated and then MLA Zira reached the village Sarabha and challenged Ayali on Facebook Live to come and face him. He claimed that he had left Dakha constituency Saturday as campaigning ended but Ayali created brawl out of nothing just to intimidate Congress workers.
Meanwhile, the Ludhiana (Rural) police registered an FIR against seven Akali Dal workers and some other unidentified persons on complaint of Congress leader Karan Warring. Inspector Inderpal Singh, SHO, Jodhan police station, said that an FIR was registered against seven Akali Dal workers for allegedly vandalising a vehicle of Congress leader’s friend. “SAD candidate tried to breach model code of conduct by bringing hundreds of workers and at least 40 vehicles to the village Sarabha claiming that MLA Zira was trying to influence voters there but when we reached there, he wasn’t found. SAD workers gheraoed and vandalised a vehicle of Congress leader Karan Warring’s friend and for that we have filed an FIR against seven identified SAD workers and some unidentified under the Sections 427, 342, 506, 148, 149, 188 and 171-F of IPC,” said the Inspector.
Dakha DSP GS Bains said that three persons have been arrested in Jodhan case of alleged vehicle vandalisation. He added that police is writing to returning officer on Ayali allegedly breaching model code of conduct by using more than three vehicles.
Meanwhile, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu posted a Facebook Live video in which he was heard saying, “We are giving a warning to SAD workers.
Let the polling be held peacefully, stop this hooliganism but then if you people really want it this way, then Congress workers are also not wearing bangles. If this doesn’t stop, then don’t say that we did not let you (SAD cadre) move out of your homes tomorrow morning. We will not even let you move out of your homes if this hooliganism doesn’t stop. Vandalising vehicles clearly shows you people are scared.” He further says to Ayali, “Both Kulbir Zira and Kamaljit Singh Brar (Youth Congress leader) are reaching your home right now. If you want it this way, then face them.”
Reacting to Bittu’s video, SAD spokesperson and former Cabinet minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, tweeted, “The open threats by Ludhiana MP Ravneet Bittu on FB Live challenging Manpreet Ayali that he along with MLA Zira and Kanwaljit Brar will be there outside Ayali’s residence speaks volumes about the lawlessness in Ludhiana district. Will concerned authorities act?”