The Election Commission of India (EC) has restricted the movement of controversial Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA and state's revenue minister, Bikram Singh Majithia, to his designated polling station in his assembly segment Majitha, which falls in the high-stakes Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency, for voting day April 30.
Till then, his movement would be videographed, as per orders from the EC that came as the campaigning formally ended on Monday.
Further, the EC has directed that Gurpreet Singh Gill, senior superintendent of police for Amritsar (rural), be asked to report to the police headquarters at Chandigarh, and Balkar Singh, deputy inspector general (DIG), crime (HQ), supervise his work up to the completion of voting.
The deputy election commissioner incharge of Punjab, Alok Shukla, expressly told HT that the directions against Majithia's movement were issued since there were a number of complaints against him.
As for the order to keep his movements under surveillance, he added, "We need to keep evidence in case there is a complaint that he has violated the EC directions." Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) VK Singh said that according to the communiqué from the EC, Majithia would not visit any part - other than the polling station where he has hit vote - of any assembly segment in Amritsar LS constituency.
Brother-in-law of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Majithia is facing fire from the Sikh clergy for distorting religious words while seeking votes for the BJP's Amritsar candidate Arun Jaitley.
The SAD argued that the order "amounts to denial of Majithia's fundamental right to take part in the electoral process as a free citizen". "It implies that he can't travel on the day of the election from his house in Amritsar to the constituency Majitha, where he is to cast his vote," SAD general secretary Harcharan Singh Bains deduced.
As for the need to keep his movement under surveillance, Bains said that there was a "much stronger ground and reason for applying this surveillance on leaders of the Congress, who have openly been speaking the language of violence".
Earlier, addressing the media, VK Singh said that other than voters, candidates and polling agents who were allowed stay in their respective LS constituency, all other non-voters should move out.