Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh on Tuesday sought comments from secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, on the complaint of Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who had alleged that the Vidhan Sabha had issued a notification on March 7 regarding the vacation of seat of Talwandi Sabo assembly constituency after resignation by its MLA Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu but never informed the Election Commission (EC) for a bypoll.
Addressing his complaint to chief election commissioner (CEC) VS Sampath, Khaira has also demanded that the EC conduct bypolls for the Talwandi Sabo assembly constituency along with the parliamentary polls scheduled for April 30.
VK Singh told HT that a reply was sought from the Vidhan Sabha secretary on Tuesday evening.
Earlier, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in its reply, had indicated that the notification could not be issued pending its legal examination. VK Singh said the matter would be referred to the EC after receiving a report from the Vidhan Sabha. Quoting rules of procedure and conduct of business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Khaira said that after accepting the resignation of a member, the secretary is dutybound to immediately inform the EC and the state CEO.
“The notification for resignation by Jeet Mohinder Sidhu was issued on March 7, but it was never conveyed to the EC. When the Congress approached the assembly speaker, they were not given a clear reply, and the EC and CEO were also misinformed that the speaker had sent the notification to the advocate general for legal opinion,” said Khaira.
Meanwhile, giving details of the complaints received by the EC, additional CEO Raminder Singh said that after March 5, a total of 309 complaints had been received of which 64 had been disposed of and 245 were pending. He said most complaints related to violation of the model code of conduct, routine transfers and petty disputes.
He said that on the direction of the EC, 1.47 lakh weapons had been deposited by people; maximum weapons had been deposited in Patiala district (15,775) and minimum in Kapurthala (1,451). He said 4,139 non-bailable warrants (NBW) had been executed and 3,314 NBWs were pending.
Raminder Singh said every national and state party and contesting candidates proposing to issue advertisements on television and cable TV would have to apply to the EC three days before and submit two copies of the proposed advertisement with the duly-attested transcript.
He said the EC had also circulated detailed guidelines on transportation of cash.