Expressing their concerns over possible “distribution of money and liquor” in the upcoming Punjab assembly elections and “widespread misuse” of the state administrative set up, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sunday asked the Election Commission (EC) to deploy central paramilitary forces in the state. A nine-member team of the EC arrived in Chandigarh today on a three-day visit to undertake a group-level review of the preparations ahead of state assembly polls.
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A delegation led by AAP’s head of legal cell Himmat Singh Shergill met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and also appealed not to allot any election symbol to any party which is similar to theirs.
“It is a track record that there is a rampant use of money and muscle power to win elections in Punjab. And the government machinery is also misused for the distribution of cash to voters. We have urged the Commission to deploy paramilitary forces before the assembly elections in order to stop this illegal practice and ensure a free and fair polls,” said Shergill.
Like AAP, the Congress, citing ‘total politicisation of the state’s administrative and law and order machinery’, has asked the EC to impose the Code of Conduct in Punjab immediately if it wants to ensure a free and fair election. In a bid to express their point of view, a Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) delegation led by vice president Amar Singh, met the 9-member team. Conveying their “apprehensions” to the EC, the Congress leaders said it might not be possible to impose the Code of Conduct at all if it waited for the mandatory period.