The Punjab Election Commission today rejected the request of People's Party of Punjab (PPP) to allot 'kite' as a party symbol for coming civic body elections, which PPP chief Manpreet Badal termed as 'injustice" with his outfit and asserted that he would approach the appellant authority on the issue.
"As per the recent verdict of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission was instructed to allot a permanent symbol to any political party which secured more than 5% vote share in assembly election. Accordingly, we had applied for kite as permanent symbol for the PPP," Manpreet told Hindustan Times, adding that the rejection of their request by the State Election Commission had "shocked" him.
The party had even requested that if not 'kite', any other common symbol could be allotted to the PPP to contest the ensuing civic body elections, Manpreet said and added that he would write to the Election Commission of India to seek its intervention after the denial of the asked symbol by the state election panel.
"I hope that the State Election Commissioner is not harbouring any malafide intention in ignoring the PPP's claim for the symbol and they should clarify a valid reason for such a blatant refusal," the former state finance minister remarked.
Manpreet, who was in Jalandhar to inaugurate election office of party candidate Dr Satbir Singh Bhaura from Ward Number 55, said that the PPP would contest 30 seats in the local body and leave the remaining for alliance partners CPI (M) and CPI, apart from workers of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) who approached for seat adjustment since the latter is not contesting the civic polls on its symbol.
Terming the announcement of cut in security of "so-called VIPs as political drama", the PPP chief said that if the deputy chief minister was serious on the issue, he would have withdrawn more than 300 cops deployed to guard him.
On the petrol price hike, Manpreet criticized the UPA government for overburdening the common man, already burdened by the inordinate price rise.
"Even the state government is shedding crocodile tears on the petrol price hike, as it should curtail the VAT on petroleum products to make the fuel price at par with that in neighbouring states of Haryana and UT Chandigarh," Manpreet said, adding that through rationalisation of prices of petroleum products, the Punjab government would continue to generate revenue as sales would automatically go up in the state.
PPP trying backdoor adjustments?
PPP could not formalise a political alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party during the last assembly election, but is now trying to forge an alliance through the "backdoor" by winning over rebel leaders from the Dalit party, who had raised a banner of revolt against former party chief Avtar Singh Karimpuri.
Asked whether the PPP would win over BSP cadres through seat adjustment in the civic body polls, Manpreet ruled out the same and maintained that an understanding was being developed at the local level, and not state level.
In Amritsar also, the PPP has left as many as 15 wards to be contested by BSP workers and accordingly efforts are on in other cities also, where urban local bodies elections are slated to be held.