Representatives of different political parties met the chief election commissioner, Naseem Zaidi, here on Sunday. They raised their concerns and made suggestions to ensure free and fair elections in Punjab. All political parties were unanimous that the poll code of conduct be enforced at the earliest.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) sought to rein in Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Capt Amarinder Singh, who, they alleged, was “intimidating” government officers. “He (Amarinder) can’t threaten the officers to perform their duties his way. We want the election commission (EC) to stop him from doing this,” SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema told HT before he met Zaidi. Party secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa accompanied him.
Amarinder had recently stated that he will “set right” the officers found “supporting” the Akalis. Referring to Amarinder’s visit to a police station in Gurdaspur recently, Dhindsa said he had no authority to barge into government offices and threaten public servants.
The Akali Dal also demanded that procedure to seek permissions for holding rallies, using loudspeakers and use of helicopters should be made simpler.
Manjit Singh Rai and Vineet Joshi, who represented the BJP, demanded from the CEC to scrutinise the social media campaigns of all political parties so that they didn’t indulge in character assassination of the opponents. “We also demanded that everybody found in possession of more than `2 lakh in cash during the poll time can’t be hauled up. The person may be going for an urgent work. Before seizures, the purpose of carrying money and antecedents of the person must be checked,” suggested Joshi.
Cong raises law and order apprehensions
Amar Singh of the Congress party raised apprehensions of violence during the polls when he met Zaidi. The party also wanted foolproof measures against distribution of drugs, liquor and money to woo the voters.
Communist party of India (Marxist) leader Charan Singh Virdi told Zaidi that the ruling alliance had set free 500 gangsters to threaten voters. He said all anti-social elements in the state should be taken into custody.
Allot no symbol resembling ours: AAP
Himmat Singh Shergill, who represented the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) before the CEC, demanded that the no other symbol resembling broom be allotted to any other party or candidate. He said there was possibility that some candidates may seek glowing torch as their poll symbol, which resembles broom.