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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Moga, February 28, 2013
The victory of liquor power, muscle power and money power is how the Sanjha Morcha sees the local assembly byelection result.
"Unless the practice of purchasing votes by money and liquor is uprooted from the state, the true will of the people of Punjab will never be represented," Manpreet Singh Badal, president of the People's Party of Punjab (PPP), said on Thursday in his reaction here to the victory of Joginder Pal Jain of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Accepting the verdict, the PPP president said the ruling party had bought the mandate in a relentless exercise. "The entire campaign highlighted one thing, that the ruling party was bereft of ideas," said Manpreet. "It made up for it by using money and liquor. The fact that it fielded a turncoat reflected its pauperisation, as it couldn't find a credible and honest candidate of own."

The prospect of purchasing votes was scary and ruining Punjab, threatening to rip apart the state's social and moral fabric, said the PPP leader, adding that the liquor and land mafia would hold the state hostage. "The Sanjha Morcha will continue its struggle for peace, progress and prosperity based on the principles of equality and social harmony," he said. "It remains committed to its core principle of providing the people with a credible, clean, and honest alternative."

The leader complimented his party's candidate, Ravinder Singh Dhaliwal, and said the Morcha would always field honest and credible people. He also thanked the PPP workers and voters. "In spite of the offer of money and liquor, the Sanjha Morcha vote bank remained steadfast and our vote share remained more or less the same as the previous election," he added.

The Morcha appealed to the election commission to scrap the electronic voting machine (EVMs) system. "We have raised the issue in every occasion, and we request the country's election commission to follow the path of other democracies in the world, which have refused to trust the EVM consistently and steadfastly," said the PPP chief. He called for recording mandate in the Lok Sabha elections on ballot paper.