The Congress on Monday dismissed speculations of the party boycotting the Punjab zila parishad and block samiti polls scheduled for May 19, and asserted that no amount of pressure on its candidates would deter the party from taking on the ruling SAD-BJP combine's candidates.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa led a delegation of leaders including MPs and MLAs to meet governor Shivraj Patil to apprise him about the possibility of rigging in the elections.
Accompanied, among others, by former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and MPs Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Sukhdev Singh Libra, Bajwa alleged that the SAD-BJP government was misusing the local administration and police, threatening Congress candidates with criminal cases.
The party's memorandum to the governor mentioned the killing of Youth Congress leader Sukhraj Singh at Patti allegedly by Akali workers and firing on Congress MLA Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi at Ferozepur. It demanded deployment of central paramilitary forces at all polling stations to avoid booth-capturing or intimidation by SAD-BJP supporters, as well as video-recording of the procedure.
Seeking that no officer on contractual duty or ones re-employed be given important election duties, Bajwa termed the rejection of nominations of Congress candidates in large numbers "most shameful".
Immediately after the poll process is complete, the Congress would form a five-member panel to seek information about rejection of nomination papers, he added.
The delegation included MLAs Kewal Singh Dhillon, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Harpartap Singh Ajnala and Randeep Singh Nabha, besides former MLA OP Soni.