SAD, BJP claim nomination papers of candidates rejected at Cong’s behest

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Chandigarh, Feb 7 (PTI) The opposition SAD and the BJP on Sunday accused the ruling Congress in Punjab of getting nomination papers of their candidates rejected for the February 14 municipal polls.

While the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) claimed the nomination papers of over 500 nominees were rejected, the saffron party said papers of its 600 candidates were dismissed without assigning any reason.

Elections to 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 after the withdrawal of nomination papers for the civic polls. A total of 15,305 candidates had filed nomination papers.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal accused the Congress-led government of “murdering” democracy by “supervising” the cancellation of more than 500 nomination papers of SAD candidates for the forthcoming municipal elections.

Talking to reporters in Bathinda, Badal alleged that it was unfortunate that the Congress government had become a party to “cancellation” of the nomination papers of the opposition and had “misused” civil and police officials for this purpose.

“Even the State Election Commission (SEC) has been silenced and has become a mute spectator to the highhandedness of Congress legislators and leaders,” he said.

“While the police force is dissuading candidates to withdraw from the fray while citing its helplessness to protect them, civil supply officers as well as health and drug inspectors are carrying out raids on premises of businesses of SAD candidates to intimidate them,” he said.

The SAD chief also warned thta officers indulging in such malpractices would be taken to task once the SAD forms a government in the state.

“We will form a Commission to identify and punish such officers,” he added.

Punjab BJP general secretary Subhash Sharma claimed that nomination papers of more than 600 party nominees were rejected at several places, including Ajnala, Mohali, Zirakpur, Mandi Gobindgarh.

“With this, it is clear that the district administration is also helpless before the 'dadagiri' of Congress,” he said in a statement here.

In Chandigarh, SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema called for immediate deployment of paramilitary forces to ensure free and fair elections. He said his party was not left with any choice except to approach courts as well as Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore in this matter.

Alleging that the atmosphere in the state had been “vitiated” by “Congress goons”, he said deployment of paramilitary forces can only check “widespread rigging” on the polling day.

He added that the SEC should give permission for videography inside polling stations to safeguard against malpractices.