Did Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal talk to the media sitting on a sofa or addressed the audience standing on the dais during the Hola Mohalla celebrations?
The Election Commission of India (ECI) is still examining the violation of the model code of conduct during the Hola Mohalla celebrations. The ECI on Saturday (a day before the political conferences scheduled for March 16) banned all political conferences by political parties.
The ECI had said that it had recorded Badal’s speech and would put it under scrutiny and take action if violation of the poll code was found. Addressing from the dais, though Badal refrained from any hard political comments, he compared the ban to the emergency of the 1970s when the right to speech and write was curtailed.
“We have received a video footage of what Badal spoke, but can’t say whether Badal was standing on the dais or was talking to the media sitting on a sofa,” said additional chief electoral officer Raminder Singh. He added that the ECI had come to know that it was a silent reaction from the Shiromani Akali Dal. The ECI was still to reach a conclusion, he said.
1.04 LAKH ARMS SEIZED
The police have seized 1,03,768 licensed weapons from across the state. The highest number, 10,805, are from Patiala district and the lowest, 815, from Ferozepur. There are a total of 2,86,942 licensed weapons in the state.
CAN RELEASE FUND FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has no objection on the release of the PM or CM’s relief fund for the medical treatment and surgical operation purposes, provided the selection of beneficiaries is done by the government officials concerned or head of the institute if privately owned.
Announcing this on Wednesday, a spokesman of the office of the chief electoral officer, Punjab, said that according to a communiqué received from the ECI, it had come to the notice of the commission that medical assistance under the PM, CM relief fund was also released for various treatment and surgical operations such as heart surgery, kidney transplant and cancer treatment which are time-bound.
SPECIAL FACILITIES FOR DIFFERENTLY ABLED
The ECI has directed officials to ensure special facilities to the differently abled voters during polling.
In a communiqué, it has been directed that the personnel at the polling station must ensure that differently abled voters should be given priority while entering the polling station, without having to wait in the queue. Full facility should be given to such voters to take their wheelchairs inside the polling station.
In the polling stations where permanent ramps have not been provided, temporary ramps should be provided. Besides, the polling personnel should be especially briefed about the provisions of Rule 49-N of the conduct of elections rules, 1961, which provides for permitting a companion to accompany a blind, infirm voter for assistance to cast the vote. Voters with speech and hearing impairment should also be given special care as in the case of other differently abled persons.
Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira has lodged complaints with the ECI.
According to him, CM Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal defied the ban on holding a political conference on Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib on March 16. The conference was held on the religious premises provided by the SGPC, in the vicinity of Gurdwara Kesgarh Sahib. Badal flouted the poll code and accused the ECI of being influenced by the Congress government. He equated the ECI ban on political conference with the days of Emergency, he alleged.
SAD-BJP candidate from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal is misusing gurdwara and government premises for her publicity, it was alleged.
SAD-BJP candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley and revenue minister Bikram Majithia flouted the code by putting up hoardings all across Amritsar, which include gover nment buildings. Jaitley and Majithia led a road show at Amritsar on Tuesday from the airport to the Golden Temple, leading a massive convoy, it was alleged.