The outcome of the unique four-pronged contest at Ludhiana will be decided on the campus of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), where counting is scheduled to take place on May 16. While as per directions of the district administration, PAU has already sealed its entrances to morning walkers on Friday, the university is yet to decide if it will be an off or a working day for its students.
As per sources, the returning officer cum deputy commissioner has already written to PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr B S Dhillon urging him to declare Friday as a holiday to avoid harassment to students and teachers due to the stringent security arrangements but the V-C is yet to take a decision on it.
Talking to Newsline, Karanvir Sandhu from the PAU Students Association (PAUSA) said, “If classes continue on May 16, it will be a harassment for both students and teachers as we will not be allowed to enter the campus and there will be rounds of inspection”.
Sources from police commissioner office confirmed that a three-layered security will be in place on counting day. While Dr B S Dhillon, vice-chancellor did not respond to the calls, P K Khanna, registrar of varsity told Newsline, “Yes, we have received a request letter from the DC office to declare an off on May 16 but the V-C is not here presently. We will be discussing the case on Thursday”.
The DC office has made it clear that supporters will not be allowed to enter the PAU campus. Talking to Newsline, Isha Kalia, additional deputy commissioner said, “For each of the nine segments of the constituency, there are 14 counting counters and one polling agent of each candidate will be allowed. Apart from this, one agent is allowed on the returning officer’s table. All agents have been given authorised cards with their photographs and other than them, no one else can enter the PAU campus”.
She added that no mobile phones are allowed. Police have also made pedestrian zones as within 100 meters of the counting halls, no vehicles will be allowed. The entire process of counting will be video recorded. The DC office has also made it clear that there will be no celebrations inside the PAU campus and that winning group agents should move out of the campus before starting their celebrations.
Sec 144 imposed
In view of counting of votes on Friday, city commissioner Sanjeev Kalra on Wednesday imposed Section 144 near Punjab Agriculture University and Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College (where counting will take place for Fatehgarh Sahib constituency segments). More than five people cannot gather near these venues.