The Punjab Election Commission has directed the state government not to distribute any blue ration cards meant for the purpose of the atta-dal scheme. The issue was raised by the Punjab Congress,which objected to these cards,which have a photograph of CM Parkash Singh Badal. The cards carry a political message as well.
The EC has also asked the government not to disburse subsidy on agriculture implements and seeds during the ensuing paddy season. However,the EC said it was open to reconsideration of the matter if the government convinces it that there is no political motive behind the exercise. The EC has so far received 187 complaints,bulk of which are about violations of use of red lights and hoardings.
Following complaints from the CPM and the Congress,the EC has referred the matter of newspaper reports put in as advertisements by political parties to the ECI. An all-party meeting was held with the Chief Election Officer,Punjab,where parties were apprised of the guidelines for smooth conduct of polls. The EC said the person who has Z-Plus security will bear the running cost of the vehicle he travels in. The use of state choppers has also been barred. The party wanting to use choppers will bear its costs,the EC said,adding that the recent transfers in the PWD (B&R) wing have been stopped.
The EC has also prohibited the use of objectionable SMSes for fair conduct of the elections. The CEC today issued guidelines in this regard to all states and UTs. It said the police will advertise special mobile numbers on which the receiver of such SMSes can forward them along with the number of the sender of the message. The police will deal with such cases under relevant provisions of the IPC,it added. Meanwhile,a report by the IG,on a complaint forwarded to the EC by Patiala MP Preneet Kaur against IG S.K. Asthana,has found charges against Asthana to be incorrect,said sources. The EC will now decide on the complaint.