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Religious pressure on voters: Cong

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, June 27, 2013
First Published: 22:10 IST(27/6/2013) | Last Updated: 22:12 IST(27/6/2013)

 The Punjab Congress on Thursday accused the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of using religious places to influence voters.

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Addressing a press conference here, state Opposition party spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the ruling Akalis were taking Punjab villagers into gurdwaras forcibly and compelling them to take pledge to support them in the July 3 gram panchayat elections.

Citing one instance of June 18 for which Khaira even produced pictures to substantiate his charge, he said the villagers of Muhal Nangal had been taken to a gurdwara at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district. "We the villages of Muhal Nangal have chosen Gurmeet Singh our candidate for sarpanch. Keeping the Almighty as witness, we pledge to remain loyal to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) whether we lose or win the panchayat polls," reads the paper on which the villagers pledged support to Akalis.

Khaira, who produced the document, said there were also thumb impressions on the pledge. The leader said he also had a video in which former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah was telling partymen: "From each village, two to three candidates are coming to me to seek nomination for the sarpanch's post. But only villages that show unity and elect candidates unanimously will be bestowed higher grants on priority."

"The video further shows a granthi performing prayer in the gurdwara while holding the loyalty pledge," said Khaira, adding that the Congress had submitted a memorandum along with the video footage and pictures to state election commissioner SS Brar for action against Langah for violating the model code of conduct for elections.

Khaira also referred to "the ruling alliance's ploy" of getting the Congress nomination papers rejected on flimsy grounds. "The SAD leaders are forcing the returning officers to reject the papers of those who can be a threat in the contest," he said.


'No one but Maluka behind Pannu incident'

Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said director general of school education (DGSE) Kahan Singh Pannu, whom a mob had beaten up at Gobind Ghat in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand on Monday, had himself pointed towards a conspiracy behind the assault.

"Considering that Pannu is in direct confrontation with state education minister Sikander Singh Maluka over the textbook scam, he could not have been indicating anywhere else. Hence, Maluka should resign to make way for free and fair investigation," Khaira added.


Punjab Congress on Thursday accused the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of using religious places to influence voters.

Addressing a press conference here, state Opposition party spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the ruling Akalis were taking Punjab villagers into gurdwaras forcibly and compelling them to take pledge to support them in the July 3 gram panchayat elections.

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