With dates for the Lok Sabha polls already announced, all political parties in the state are now required to get permission from the Election Commission for organising their respective political conferences at the Hola Mohalla festival, which is celebrated at historical town Anandpur Sahib of Ropar for three days.
In an election year, whether it is Lok Sabha elections or Assembly election, usually no political party misses organising their respective political conferences here on the festival where lakhs of people mainly Sikh and Nihangs participate from across Punjab. Also, many Sikhs settled abroad too come here in large number during the festival.
Political parties organise their separate political conferences and senior leaders of the respective parties come to address public gatherings. “Big pandals are put up by the political parties during the Hola Mohalla conferences and due to election code of conduct that expenditure needs to be included in the expenditure list of the candidates of the parties,” said a senior election officer, adding that all rallies would be under the scanner of Election Commission this time.
“Even if any publicity is made by the political parties regarding their political conferences here, that will also be included in the expenditure,” said another senior officer.
Kanu Garg, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Anandpur Sahib, said that they have already appealed to political parties to take the prior permission from Election Commission for their events. The festival was started by the 10th Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh as a gathering of Sikhs to train and exhibit military exercises and their commitment to the Khalsa panth.