A month before Punjab votes to elect its new government, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has urged the Election Commission of India to postpone the February 14 Assembly polls by six days in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.
In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, Channi wrote that it was brought to his notice by some representatives of the Scheduled Castes community, which comprises around 32 per cent of the state’s population, that the birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas falls on February 16.
“On this occasion, a large number of SC devotees (about 20 lakh) from the state are likely to visit Banaras in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 to 16,” Channi wrote.
“In such a situation, many people from this community would not be able to cast their votes for the state assembly, which is otherwise their constitutional right,” he stated in the letter written on January 13.
“They have requested that the voting date may be extended in such a way that they are able to visit Banaras from February 10 to February 16 as also participate in the Assembly elections,” he said.
Channi said, “It is considered fair and appropriate that the voting for Punjab assembly elections 2022, may be postponed for at least six days, enabling about 20 lakh people to utilise their right to vote for the state legislative assembly.”
Earlier, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Punjab chief Jasvir Singh Garhi had demanded from the ECI to reschedule polls from February 14 to February 20.
Voting for Punjab’s 117 Assembly seats will be held on February 14 and the counting of votes will then take place on March 10.