The Election Commission (EC) has issued detailed instructions restricting the presence of political functionaries in Patiala and Talwandi Sabo assembly constituencies after campaigning is over. Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh said on Saturday that civil and police administrations of both Patiala and Bathinda districts have been directed to ensure that all functionaries leave their constituency immediately after the campaign period is over.
However, MPs of the poll-bound assembly constituencies should not be asked to leave their constituency during the byelection, even if he/she is not an elector of the constituency. However, such an MP would not be allowed to canvass in the constituency after campaigning is over 48 hours before the time of close of polling.
The CEO said that under section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, after the closure of campaign period no campaign can take place within the constituency. The CEO said that presence of political functionaries, party workers, procession functionaries, campaign functionaries etc., who have been brought from outside the constituency and who are not voters of the constituency, should not continue to remain present in the constituency as their continued presence after campaign end may "undermine the atmosphere" for a free and fair poll.
He said that the election and police administrations have also been directed to check community halls etc., where such people stay and find out whether the outsiders have been accommodated in these premises. The district authorities have been asked to verify from lodges and guesthouses and keep a track of the list of occupants.
The district administration will set up check-posts in the constituencies' borders and track the vehicular movement.