AT A meeting of SAD leaders and activists from Sanour Assembly constituency, Prem Singh Chandumajra, the Shiromani Akali Dal MP from Anandpur Sahib, told attendees on Friday to seek votes for his son by promising free pilgrimage to Sikh religious places like Takht Hazur Sahib, Takht Patna Sahib and Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple).
Chandumajra’s son Harinderpal Singh, the SAD nominee from Sanour, is contesting Assembly polls for the first time. Telling party activists to go from door to door to reach out to voters, Chandumajra equated the forthcoming election with a “twenty twenty” cricket match. He also talked about tapping into Dalit vote as he spoke about several memorials built for Dalit communities.
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In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court has said that votes cannot be sought on lines of religion or caste. The code of conduct has been in place in Punjab since January 4 noon when the election schedule was announced for the February 4 polls in the state.
Talking about the “big impact” of pilgrimage scheme of the Punjab government where people had been taken to religious shrines in Punjab and other states, Chandumajra told party activists, “You tell people that those who want to go to Hazur Sahib, Patna Sahib, Darbar Sahib and Amritsar, who could not go (till now), make Harinderpal win, press the balance (SAD’s election symbol) and within one year, they will be taken on free pilgrimage.” Addressing a gathering of party leaders at a palace in Patiala, Chandumajra said that for every 1 lakh committed (for works) by party workers, he will give Rs 1.5 lakh and for every 2 lakh, he would ensure Rs 3 lakh.
Talking about a limit which he said was set to be increased to Rs 10-15 crore from the existing Rs 5 crore in the coming budget, Chandumajra said, “Otherwise, it is (Rs) 5 crore, but I am very much sure (mainu pakka pata hai), in this budget, it would be 10 to 15 crore…. I promise if you commit (Rs) 1 lakh (for getting any works for people carried out), I will give you Rs 1.5 lakh. If you promise (Rs) 2 lakh, I will give you (Rs) 3 lakh.”
“Eh vaada tusi kar lao aapne tarike naal, te tuhaadi pith main nahi lagan dinda (You make this promise in your way and I will not let you down),” said the Akali MP. Chandumajra’s “orientation” speech to party workers elicited tremendous response with slogans of “Chandumajra Sahib zindabad”.
Chandumajra had an “advisory” for village sarpanches, too. He said while some of the sarpanches were present at the venue, others not present should be told to give priority to “getting works of others moving with opposite factions done”.
“Make an appeal to all sarpanches with folded hands that we have made (them) sarpanches, they have taken so much benefit, got so many works done. Please get your and your groups’ work done later on,” said Chandumajra, adding “that those who are angry or moving with opposite factions should be given priority to get the works done”.
He also asked party workers to spare two hours each in the morning and evening to meet people when they come out for activities like “playing cards”.