Ramandeep Kaur, wife of an Akali leader Rajwinder Singh from Bir Bholuwala village in Faridkot, had filed her nomination for member panchayat, ward number 3. But her papers were rejected by the concerned Block Development and Panchayat Officer on the grounds that her family had illegally occupied a small piece of land by depositing cow dung near the village pond.
Rajwinder Singh, however, told The Indian Express that the land, as per revenue records, was recorded in the name of his father. “I have the copy of the revenue record and I have already submitted it to the Returning Officer.”
Ramandeep Kaur, however, is not an isolated case.
Papers of Surinder Kaur and and Jasvir Kaur for election as member panchayat from ward number 2 and 3, respectively, were also rejected on the similar grounds.
All three election aspirants were among the 117 petitioners who had moved the High Court calling the rejection illegal. After relief by the High Court and the State Election Commission on Thursday directing the ROs to review the cases, the trio said they had given their documents to the officials but they were called again on Friday morning. The panchayat elections are scheduled on Sunday.
“There is a pattern in the rejection of papers. The candidates nomination papers have been rejected by alleging that they had illegally occupied either the street or the pond area while the documents do not support the fact. It is being done because we are Akalis and they do not want us to win,” said Maninder Singh, a resident of Machaki Khurd village in Faridkot, whose wife Harpreet Kaur Brar, a three-time sarpanch have been rejected.
“They are saying we have usurped khasra number 290 of shamlat land. But the fact is the number is our ancestral land. The record says it clearly,” he said adding that from this village Akalis had scored 100 votes more than Congress candidate in recent block samiti election.
Narrating a similar tale of rejection of nomination papers, Shivraj Singh Sandhu from Sadik said his papers for election as sarpanch were rejected on the ground that he had occupied a panchayat street.
“The same reason has been given for at least 25-26 candidates. The fact is that during zila parishad elections Akalis were leading with 650 votes from this constituency. So they have rejected papers of candidates with Akali leanings in six villages. “
For Sukhjinder Singh of Kila Nau village in Faridkot the rejection of nomination papers for sarpanch has also come on similar grounds that he had usurped a village street. Similar is the case of Honey Sarpanch of Mard Khera village, an AAP supporter in Dirba.
Harpal Cheema, Leader of Opposition, said the government rejected the papers of rival party supporters on flimsy grounds. “We are just waiting and watching. How will they sort out the issue and allow the nominations when just two days are left for the elections.”