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Verdict effect: State to ‘re-look’ at panchayat polls

The Punjab government is having a “re-look” at holding panchayat elections in the state in the wake of the impending death sentence to Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.

The Punjab government is having a “re-look” at holding panchayat elections in the state in the wake of the impending death sentence to Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.

Bhullar’s hanging,if it takes place,is expected to have a major impact on panchayat polls. Fearing a political backlash,the SAD has been advised to not to declare elections in the state at the moment.

On Friday,Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Surjit Singh Rakhra had announced that the panchayats across the state have been disbanded,as elections are to be held before May 31. He,however,clarified on Sunday that panchayats in villages have not been disbanded and will continue to function till further orders.

Government sources said that though the chances of Bhullar being hanged secretly or immediately are remote,given the chief minister and his deputy meeting the Prime Minister in New Delhi on Monday,in the possibility of his hanging,the state is bound to witness a major political fallout of the event.

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“Politically,SAD’s strategy in this case cannot be flawed. They have made their point very well in meeting the Prime Minister. They have taken a firm stand on the issue and virtually hijacked the agenda of the hardliners. But how the situation emerges following the event is anyone’s guess,” said a political analyst.

Senior SAD leaders said that the party has also taken into account the fact that most of the accused in the 1984 riots have still not been punished and hanging Bhullar will only sharpen the sense of injustice that Sikh masses bear on its psych since Operation Bluestar.

“There is a lot of resentment among the Sikh masses against the rioters roaming free. One cannot deny that now there is a palpable undercurrent of sympathy among the Sikh masses for Bhullar and Balwant Singh Rajoana. It has been 20 years since the days of terrorism in Punjab and with time,people see the same event differently,” said a SAD leader.

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For the time being,SAD’s political strategy also seems to be the “best way forward” for the state police,which is expecting a law and order situation on their hands in the eventuality of Bhullar’s hanging.

Though police sources termed the Centre’s requisitioning five companies of the BSF (one company has 120 men) to help police maintain law and order situation in Jalandhar,Amritsar and Ludhiana as a “routine exercise done during religious festivals”,sources added that the police are keeping a close watch on the day-to-day happenings in Bhullar’s case.

They are already gearing up to handle the protest march being planned against Bhullar’s hanging.

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The police have received intelligence inputs that Punjab will be faced with a volatile situation in case Bhullar is hanged. The Damdami Taksal has warned of “disastrous consequences” if Bhullar is hanged.

First published on: 16-04-2013 at 04:31:37 am
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