Punjab civic polls: SAD urges Gov to countermand elections where nomination papers rejected

·3-min read

Chandigarh, Feb 9 (PTI) A SAD delegation on Tuesday urged Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore to direct the state government to countermand civic body polls at all places where nomination papers of opposition candidates were rejected.

It also alleged the ruling Congress was 'misusing' the government machinery to influence the February 14 civic polls, and demanded the paramilitary forces be deployed for free and fair elections.

The delegation comprising senior party leaders Prem Singh Chandumajra, Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Daljit Singh Cheema and Surjit Singh Rakhra also alleged the State Election Commission has 'surrendered' to the state government in run-up to the civic polls and 'failed' to perform its duty.

Addressing the media here, Chandumajra alleged the state government had 'hijacked' the civic poll process.

He claimed that the nomination papers of many Akali Dal candidates were rejected and several candidates were prevented from filling the papers.

'The system has collapsed and the State Election Commission has surrendered to the state government,' alleged Chandumajra. 'We told the governor that we do not have faith in the State machinery.' He said the SAD delegation has demanded the deployment of paramilitary forces for ensuring a free and fair election.

Videography should also be allowed inside polling stations to safeguard against malpractices, he said.

The SAD demanded re-election at all places where Congress nominees were elected unopposed after rejection of nomination papers of opposition candidates.

Chandumajra informed the Governor that the State Election Commission (SEC) has 'abrogated' its responsibility towards the people and he should intervene to restore the confidence of the people in the democratic process.

He said the nomination papers of opposition candidates had been rejected en masse in Zira, Guruharsahai, Maluka, Mehraj, Bhai Roopa, Mandi Gobindgarh and Ferozepur.

'A SAD delegation led by Daljit Cheema had requested the SEC to countermand the elections at these places and hold them afresh but the SEC expressed its helplessness to do anything in the matter,' he said.

Chandumajra requested the Governor to direct fresh elections on these seats.

The delegation informed the Governor about the incident in which the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal's vehicle was damaged at Jalalabad on February 2.

It apprised him that the state government was yet to proceed in the matter as per the complaint submitted by the SP, Security of the SAD President.

The delegation also pointed towards changing of wards of many voters in Batala municipal committee. He said the wards of several hundred voters were changed in Batala after the allotment of the election symbol to the candidates.

Senior party leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal slammed the State Election Commission, saying there was no need for such a 'defunct' commission which had 'surrendered' to the state government.

'The way the SEC has surrendered to the government, the message is loud and clear that there is not going to be fair elections,' said Grewal.

The delegation also informed the governor that the recent incidents of violence can spoil the peace and communal harmony in the state and emergent action was needed to ensure this did not happen.

Elections to the eight municipal corporations and 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats in the state will be held on February 14.

A total of 9,222 candidates are in the fray for the municipal polls. PTI CHS VSD TIR TIR