Poll office soft-pedalled complaints for 8 weeks

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Apr 29, 2014 14:14 IST

It was soft-pedalling of complaints by the Punjab chief electoral office during hectic campaigning of about eight weeks, for the parliamentary polls, which came to an end on Monday.

Figures from the chief electoral office, show it received 652 complaints out of which more than 600 were disposed of.

CEO VK Singh courted controversy for his secret closed door meeting with Punjab director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini after a complaint was received against the latter by leaders of the Congress.

Subsequent to that former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh who is also Congress candidate from Amritsar lodged a complaint with Election Commission of India (ECI) that the office of electoral officer was giving clean chits to all complaint against the ruling SAD-BJP alliance.

Later, the Congress leaders from Punjab, including state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa, CLP leader Sunil Jakhar and union minister Manish Tewari, also met chief election commissioner VS Sampath.

Patiala deputy commissioner GK Singh was transferred by the ECI and it was construed that his role in giving clean chit in a complaint of distribution of liquor by Akali workers during poll rally of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in Ghanour led to the decision.

Also, the chief electoral officer gave clean chit to revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia when he allegedly used derogatory and threatening words against Capt Amarinder Singh.

Most of the officials of the CEO office, including the additional and deputy CEO, shared the responsibility of going slow on the complaint. These officials were reluctant to face the media.

The complaint lodged by Manpreet Badal against the top police officials in Bathinda, including IG (zonal) and IG (intelligence) also met the fate of inaction from the CEO office.

“No we have been taking action wherever it was liable as per law,” CEO VK Singh told HT.

The modus operandi adopted by the CEO office in most of the cases was to take reports from district electoral officer and further send it to the Election Commission of India for recommendations.

Other than handling of the complaints, the CEO office was successful in carrying out Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Par ticipation (SVEEP) programme in Punjab and has set a target of increasing voter turnout by 10%.

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