The Punjab BJP violated the election code of conduct by holding a political gathering at Sheetla Mata Mandir in the busy Mai Hiran Gate locality here on Sunday even as election officials were apparently reluctant to implement the poll panel’s instructions.
Interestingly, the Election Commission of India (EC) had issued a notice to the BJP during the 2007 assembly polls for holding party gatherings at its office situated in the temple premises and instructed it not to use the place till the polls were over. The code bans political gatherings at religious places.
But the BJP’s Jalandhar (urban) unit held a workers’ meeting to celebrate former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday in a hall on the first floor of its office on the temple premises.
Former minister and BJP spokesperson Manoranjan Kalia started his address by congratulating workers for successfully holding the “Jan Vishwas Maha Rally” on Saturday. Kalia said Vajpayee would be remembered as the builder of a powerful India. “The Pokhran nuclear tests, measures to improve the country’s economy and a strong road transport network during Vajpayee’s tenure helped India emerge as a powerful nation,” he said.
Senior BJP leader Krishan Lal Dhall advised workers to put up a united front to further strengthen the party. Punjab BJP secretary Ravi Mahendru said Vajpayee controlled inflation, ensured easy delivery of cooking gas, brought telecom revolution by allowing private mobile phone companies to operate in India and introduced the PM Grameen Sadak Yojna to strengthen the rural road network.
Later, the organisers distributed sweets among workers. While most people, including Kalia, left the hall, chief parliamentary secretary KD Bhandari and his supporters reached the venue afterwards. Bhandari was also served sweets inside the temple, and all of them posed for a photo while raising slogans in favour of the BJP and Vajpayee in violation of the code.