The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Friday asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to requisition para-military forces for the conduct of free and fair elections to municipal bodies in Punjab. It also demanded “a slew of meaures to ensure that the Congress party does not hijack the entire process as it did in the case of the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections earlier”.
In a letter to State Election Commissioner Jagpal Singh, senior Akali leader and former minister Daljit Singh Cheema also demanded that “videography be conducted both inside the booth as well in the office of the returning officers to ward off booth capturing and other malpractices”. He also demanded that online filing of nominations be allowed and candidates be issued no dues certificates on the basis of self declarations pending verification.
Cheema also asked the SEC to establish a round the clock control room so that it could keep itself abreast with all developments and be able to take appropriate action in case of violations of the model code of conduct immediately. He also asked the SEC to make its e-mail address as well as twitter handle public so that people could approach it easily. He also requested the Commission to make a special app which could be used by the general public to share violations of the model code of conduct immediately.
The SAD leader said he had made all these suggestions “keeping in view the fact that during the zila parishad and samiti elections there had been 164 recorded cases of booth capturing following which the SEC ordered repolling in 54 booths”. Cheema said that “para-military forces should be employed in Punjab at all booths to ensure rampant booth capturing does not occur again”.
Cheema also requested the State Election Commissioner to hold a meeting with all political parties to sort out pending issues. In the letter, Cheema also said “the voter lists had still not been provided and there was confusion about the new wards which had been created recently”. He said “candidates were finding it difficult to get their no dues certificates with executive officers not sitting in office deliberately. All these issues need to be resolved with the intervention of the SEC.”
Earlier, a BJP delegation had met the Governor and demanded that local body elections be held under central police forces only when the state has conducive peaceful atmosphere