SAD demands paramilitary forces for conduct of free and fair civic polls

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Chandigarh, Jan 1 (PTI) Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to requisition paramilitary forces for the conduct of free and fair elections to municipal bodies in Punjab.

The party also demanded a slew of measures to ensure that the Congress 'does not hijack the entire process'.

In a letter to SEC Commissioner Jagpal Singh Sidhu, former minister and SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema also said that videography should be conducted both inside the booth as well in the office of returning officers 'to ward off booth capturing and other malpractices'.

He also demanded that online filing of nominations be allowed for the upcoming polls, a party release said.

A day earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder had said the state BJP's request to the governor for postponement of civic body polls on the 'baseless ground' of law and order situation showed that the party leadership was in complete panic.

Cheema asked the SEC to establish a round-the-clock control room so that it could keep abreast of all developments and be able to take appropriate action in case of violation of the Model Code of Conduct immediately.

The SAD leader said he had made all these suggestions 'keeping in view the fact that during the earlier zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections there had been 164 recorded cases of booth capturing following which the Commission ordered repolling in 54 booths'.

He said paramilitary forces should be deployed in Punjab at all booths to ensure 'rampant booth capturing does not occur again'. PTI SUN VSD AAR