PUNJAB CHIEF Electoral Officer V K Singh, on Monday, categorically said that the subsidised Atta Dal scheme of the state government had been stopped by the latter itself and not by the Election Commission. Reacting to reports that the Shiromani Akali Dal had protested that the scheme was an ongoing one and the EC should not have interfered, the CEO said the government took the decision suo motu. “However, we have now received a representation from the state government, seeking approval for continuance of the scheme and the same has been forwarded to the EC for directions,” said Singh.
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The CEO further said that the model code of conduct guidelines are available with the state government, too, and it is not necessary that the EC would issue directions for each and every action to be taken by the government. He added that during the 2014 Lok Sabha election, too, the scheme had been stopped. When asked if the Congress or Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had opposed the Atta Dal scheme, Singh said no such complaint had been received from either party by his office. But, at the local level in Gurdaspur district, some people had opposed it.
The EC has also reiterated its instructions to the Punjab Roadways and PEPSU Roadways Transport Corporation to remove the photographs of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from the buses. Also, orders to remove ministers’ photographs from government websites have been issued.
The CEO’s office has received 915 complaints regarding the elections till date after the imposition of the code of conduct and out of these, 753 have been disposed of and 146 were being processed within the given time frame while seven had exceeded the deadline for disposal. As many as 78 per cent of the complaints have been received online by EC and are about voter IDs not having been received and complaints against government officials.
Giving details of the law and order situation relating to Assembly polls, the nodal police officer, VK Bhawra, ADGP, said 451 flying squads and 504 static surveillance squads had been formed in the state. Three flying squads and static surveillance teams have been set up per constituency. A police helpline number, 181, has been set up for receiving complaints at the headquarters level, along with a number 9781399439 on which complaints can be sent on WhatsApp. Additionally, complaints can also be mailed online on email IDs email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giving details of seizures, Bhawra said cash amounting to Rs 1,72,000 and 455 litres of liquor had been seized by the flying squads while 3 FIRs had also been registered by them. “The static teams have registered 17 FIRs while the state police on its own has also registered 91 FIRs till date,” said Bhawra.
The static teams have also seized Rs 5,23,740 in cash while the state police have recovered Rs 3,48,000 in cash and 123 kg poppy husk. A total of 20,760 instances pertaining to wall writing, posters, banners, etc. on public property have been recorded in the state while the figure for private property stands at 39,573.