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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

EC notice to Akali Dal for rally during Holla Mohalla

IANS  Chandigarh, April 02, 2014
First Published: 21:13 IST(2/4/2014) | Last Updated: 21:24 IST(2/4/2014)

The Election Commission on Wednesday issued notice to the Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal for organising a political rally in the Sikh holy city of Anandpur Sahib on the occasion of Hola Mohalla despite permission for this being denied.

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Punjab Additional Chief Electoral Officer Supreet Singh Gulati said that in the notice, sent to Akali Dal secretary Daljeet Singh Cheema, the party has been asked why it organised a political rally at Anandpur Sahib when the commission had denied permission for this.

The poll panel had specifically disallowed political conferences on Hola Mohalla by all political parties.  However, the Akali Dal went ahead with its conference and it was addressed by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash
Singh Badal, Akali Dal president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and other party leaders.

The conference was held March 17 close to Gurdwara Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib, 85 km from here, as lakhs of devotees converged for the three-day Hola Mohalla religious congregation.

The gurdwara there is the second most important shrine for the Sikhs after the Harmandar Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar.  The opposition Congress had sought action against Badal and the Akali Dal for violating the poll code during a religious activity.

Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the Akali Dal and its leaders violated the poll code and held the political conference at a site provided by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

The SGPC, the mini parliament of Sikh religion which manages gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, is dominated by the Akali Dal.

The Congress and other parties had cancelled their political conferences at Anandpur Sahib in view of the poll panel's directions.  Khaira said the chief minister not only violated the Election Commission's directions and made a political speech on the occasion, but he even criticised the poll panel for trying to stop the conference.

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