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Oppn says its fears of violence in Punjab civic polls coming true

Delegations of AAP, BJP and SAD have been highlighting the danger of violence during the conduct of the civic body polls for nearly one month now and have met the State Election Commission J S Sandhu in this regard.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh |
February 4, 2021 12:37:56 pm
Punjab civic polls, Punjab news, SAD, SAD chief car attack, Punjab violence, Punjab opposition, India news, Indian expressParty workers protest against the attack on Sukhbir in Ludhiana on Wednesday. (Express/Gurmeet Singh)

Opposition parties in Punjab Wednesday said that the apprehensions of violence during conduct of the civic body polls in Punjab expressed by them were coming true. They pointed to with clashes reported between political workers during the filing of nomination papers for the polls from various parts of the state.

While there was an attack on the vehicle of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal by Congress workers in Jalalabad on Tuesday, Bhikhiwind in Tarn Taran also saw violence with opposition parties alleging strong arm tactics by Congressmen who allegedly fired several rounds in air to scare their opponents away and prevent them from filing their nomination papers.

On Wednesday, AAP alleged that Congress workers in Zira also used violence to prevent SAD and AAP candidates from filing their papers. The civic body polls are the first elections to be held in Punjab under the shadow of the farmers’ agitation taking place on the borders of New Delhi.

Delegations of AAP, BJP and SAD have been highlighting the danger of violence during the conduct of the civic body polls for nearly one month now and have met the State Election Commission J S Sandhu in this regard.

Opposition parties have been demanding that the elections should be conducted under the watch of central armed police forces as they did not have any faith in Punjab Police.

Elections and by-elections to eight state municipal corporations and 109 municipal councils and nagar panchayats are due to take place on February 14. February 3 was the last date of filing nominations. Campaigning will end on February 12 and the counting of votes will take place February 17.

AAP had raised objections over the gap between polling date and the counting of votes. Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema said that the gap of three days between polling and counting of votes could result in malpractices, adding that the party feared that the results would be manipulated.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Cheema said that he apprehended more violence as the campaigning for the elections picked up. “Look at what has happened in Zira. Despite the SSP and senior district officials promising me that our candidates will not be allowed to be harassed, they were not allowed to file papers and there was even firing,” he said.

Cheema alleged that most of the Congress workers were acting like “goons” and that at this rate more violence was expected.

“The Congress has no issues and which is why we also walked out of the all party meeting called by the Chief Minister Tuesday. What is the purpose of calling meetings when you are going to do nothing ultimately. And since they have nothing to talk about in the towns they are resorting to browbeating opposition workers and will ensure that voters of opposition parties are also scared away on date of polling,” said Cheema.

The BJP has also met Governor V P S Badnore, and requested his intervention defer the elections.

Last day of nominations: AAP accuses Cong of kidnapping their Sunam candidate 

THE AAM Aadmi Party (AAP) has accused Congress of kidnapping their Sunam candidate and tearing nomination papers at Zira, on Wednesday, the last day of filing of nominations for civic body polls. Senior party leader and MLA from Sunam, Aman Arora said that the “bullying” by the Congress ministers and leaders was nothing but the “murder of democracy”.

He said the “blatant misuse of power and government resources” by Congress was reprehensible and oppressive. “The people of Punjab will retaliate against Congress in the upcoming elections,” he added.

AAP candidates were also allegedly prevented from filing nominations for municipal bodies’ elections in Zira. It was alleged that Congress workers intimidated them, snatched and tore their nomination papers, creating a ruckus. Following the incident, AAP’s Ferozepur district president Bhupinder Kaur along with several party supporters reached the spot and raised the issue with officials. (ENS)

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