SAD delegation meets Punjab guv, alleges 'misuse' of govt machinery in civic polls

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Chandigarh, Feb 9 (PTI) A SAD delegation met Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore Tuesday and 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 and Daljit Singh Cheema 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 polls and was 'misusing' the State machinery to win the elections.

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

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