The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday directed all non-voters (read outsiders) to leave the constituencies before 5pm on Thursday and said they could only return after the polling is over on Saturday.
The direction coincides with end of the poll campaign in all 117 assembly constituencies and the Amritsar Lok Sabha byelection.
The instructions are also valid for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal, who is not a voter in Punjab, and NRIs from Punjab who have adopted foreign citizenship and are campaigning for parties, including the AAP.
“All political leaders, functionaries or party workers who are not the registered voters have to vacate the constituency by 5pm on February 2 till the polls are over on February 4,” says the EC directions.
The EC have asked police and the civil administration to ensure that all outsiders leave before the specified time, said Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh. The commission has also directed the police to keep a close watch on community centres, guesthouses and lodges so that the outsiders could not disturb the poll process.
He said the administration had been asked to ensure that all those who had been given security cover could remain in the constituency in which they are registered voters till the polling day.
COPS TOLD TO BEEF UP SECURITY
In a communiqué to Punjab DGP Suresh Arora, state chief electoral officer VK Singh on Wednesday said police would be responsible in case of breach of security. A senior official in the state election office said the CEO has also warned to initiate action against the state police and fix their responsibility in case of security lapse during polls.
The CEO wrote to the DGP in the light of Tuesday’s Maur blasts, asking him to beef up security arrangements. He also asked Arora to investigate the incident and check the re-occurrence such acts in future. “The local police administration would be held responsible for any security lapse,” VK Singh said. Sources said after Tuesday’s blasts, the focus of the security forces has shifted from checking flow of liquor and drugs to controlling law and order.