AAP MLA from Talwandi Sabo, Baljinder Kaur, has been indicted of being registered as a voter twice, as per a probe into the allegation.
The sub-divisional magistrate-and-returning officer of Talwandi Sabo, Varinder Singh, has stated that Baljinder has two votes and she had hidden this information from the competent authorities before contesting polls. The SDM completed his inquiry and submitted the report to Bathinda DC-cum-District Electoral Officer(DEO) on February 8 for further action.
The SDM had conducted the inquiry on the directions of the DEO. Kaur also happens to be the state president of AAP’s women wing and she has said that she will appeal to the Election Commission of India after getting a copy of the report. “I have not even got a copy of inquiry report, I am listening from media only about such an inquiry report submitted by the SDM,” she said.
RTI activist Harmilap Singh Grewal, who was earlier an AAP member is the whistleblower in this case, said, “As the inquiry of year 2014 was kept in cold storage, I raised the issue again due to which a fresh inquiry was conducted in the case of dual vote and the truth is before us all.”
As per the inquiry report, Baljinder Kaur had got one vote made in 2005 vide enumeration form in which her house address was 273, Jaga Ram Teerath village, Talwandi Sabo, while her father’s name was Amarjit Singh (father by adoption on the basis of adoption deed). This vote number was 354 and had no photo. A picture was not required at that time. Amarjit Singh had died in 2002, three years before she got this ID made. However, on June 27, 2011, she got another voter ID prepared at house number 272-A, Jaga Ram Teerath village where her father’s name was Darshan Singh (biological father). Vote ID number in this case was 352.
Kaur had contested Talwandi Sabo bypoll in August, 2014 and later Vidhan Sabha polls in February, 2017. In 2014 as well a complaint had been filed on her dual vote status by independent candidate Balkar Sidhu and an inquiry was also marked at that time by the then RO of Talwandi Sabo. The RO had put the vote number 354 mentioning Baljinder Kaur father of Amarjit Singh in the absent list as Kaur’s family had refused to take that vote slip in August 2014 when the team had visited their house, revealed an inquiry report of 2014. RO had written to the DEO, Bathinda for an inquiry in this dual vote case in August 2014. However, the inquiry went nowhere after Kaur lost the Talwandi Sabo bypoll.
Later, she contested the 2017 Vidhan Sabha polls and won by a huge margin against Congress’s Khushbaz Jatana. While Varinder Singh, SDM-and-RO of Talwandi Sabo, was not available for comments, Deputy Commissioner-cum-DEO Bathinda, Diprava Lakra, said, “I am yet to get the inquiry report submitted by the SDM. Once I will get, I will send it to Election Commission of India.”
Baljinder Kaur added: “It is really surprising to know about such a report now. I contested bypoll in 2014 and later in 2017. No one raised any objections after I submitted my replies over dual vote. I am not aware at all about the status of this dual vote, I am not aware as how and when this first vote was made. I will appeal against this inquiry before the election commission of India once I will get the copy of the inquiry report. It is no doubt, an act done by ruling party who want to defame me.”
Kaur, however, agreed that she was adopted daughter of Amrjit Singh, while her biological father is Darshan Singh.