Punjab puts off long-pending NRI sabha elections

The polls, that were announced earlier and scheduled for November 6 this year, have been postponed owing to the upcoming elections of Punjab Vidhan Sabha in early 2017.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Published:August 19, 2016 4:46 am

AFTER SCRAPPING the annual ‘NRI Sammelan’, the Punjab government is apparently in no mood to conduct the long-pending elections for the NRI Sabha, Punjab. The polls, that were announced earlier and scheduled for November 6 this year, have been postponed owing to the upcoming elections of Punjab Vidhan Sabha in early 2017.

On Thursday, the authorities of officials of NRI Sabha Punjab, in a letter, said the proposed elections for the sabha on November 6, 2016, which were announced by the Punjab government last month, stand “suspended” now because of the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections in the state. It is also mentioned in a letter that the next election programme for NRI sabha would be released later on.

The elections date was announced in July and even the date of filing nominations was announced from October 22 to 24. And it was also made clear that only the sabha member before August 31, 2016 could vote in the elections.
The elections for the Sabha were due since January 2015 as Punjab government had relieved the then president of the sabha Jasvir Singh Gill from the post on March 7, 2015. Gill remained president for two years and his term ended on January 27, 2015.

The members of NRI sabha said they were not happy with such “delaying tactics” of the Punjab government.
“We fail to under stand that why the government has been delaying these elections which should be conducted much before,” said NRI Satnam Sinch Chahal from the US, adding that government was well aware that Vidhan sabha elections were in early 2017.

Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner Harbhupinder Singh Nanda, who is the chairman of the Sabha, could not be contacted for his comments.

They also said the government had even failed to conduct the elections of the executive body of the sabha despite the efforts of Gill during his tenure from January 2013 to March 2015.

Also, two former sabha presidents said the election process being followed this time was against the constitution of the sabha as the government itself had drafted several byelaws just to hijack the sabha, which was founded in 1997 and currently there are over 25,000 members of the NRI sabha who are settled in various countries across the world.
When contacted, NRI affairs minister Tota Singh said the elections were postponed because NRIs wanted some more time.

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