Reacting to the Election Commission’s decision to order re-polling in 48 polling booths in several constituencies across Punjab, state Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh said Tuesday his party was not unduly perturbed by the move even as state’s Revenue Minister and SAD candidate from Majitha Bikram Singh Majithia questioned the “sudden decision” of the EC. Speaking to The Indian Express, Captain Amarinder said, “By now, it is clear to the voters that SAD is out of the fray. In any case, in Majithia, we are quite certain that our candidate Sukhjinder Raj Singh (Lalli Majithia) is winning. Everyone knows Akalis have collapsed. In fact, the re-polling will end up giving Congress even more votes and Bikram will surely lose with greater margin.”
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Majithia, however, questioned the “sudden decision” of the Election Commission. “I am not bothered whether they do it [hold repoll] or do not. It is their decision. I have certain questions which have gone unanswered. Why the repoll has been ordered after three days,” Majithia said. “Generally, repolling is ordered within 24 hours.”
Majithia said there were generally three parameters on which repolling is ordered. “These are low voter turnout, any complaint by candidates in fray or any adverse report by the observer. The voter turnout in the polling stations where re-polling had been ordered was 75 to 90 per cent. None of the candidates, as I read their remarks in news reports, have complained. Observers have not given any adverse report. Then why this sudden decision after three days? We are contesting the elections, we have the right to know. It is one-way communication,” Majithia said.
He said “half of the people who had voted for him” had gone away to other places.”
Meanwhile, Congress candidate from Majitha, Sukhjinder Raj Singh (Lalli Majithia), has said in an email sent to the EC and the Chief Electoral Officer, “Majithia wants re-polling in Majitha, especially in those booths where the voters have massively voted against him. For the purpose mentioned, he is now trying to use District Electoral Officer-cum-District Administration.”
The Congress candidate has also alleged that Akali Dal workers were allowed to take their smartphones inside polling booths under the orders of District Election Officer and using these phones, Akali workers threatened the voters that their voting was being recorded on camera and sent to Bikram Majithia.
The email says “ordering re-polling get will go against the objective of Election Commission of India to conduct free and fair polls”. “Rather, it will seriously jeopardise the expression of the electorate of Majitha constituency who have heavily voted against him (Majithia) in free and fair manner. Ordering re-polling will create a scare in their minds, and they will not dare to re-cast their vote,” it says.