Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate’s victory in the Talwandi Sabo byelection was the worst example of the subversion of the democratic process through rigging, use of money, muscle power and unabashed misuse of the official machinery by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Appreciating the fight put up by Congress workers against the “sheer brute force” of the SAD, Bajwa said: “Going by the track record of Akali Dal candidate Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, a deserter from the Congress, there is nothing to indicate that he has become so popular as to win by a margin of more than 46,000 votes.”
The state Congress chief stated that in the Lok Sabha elections, Akali nominee Harsimrat Kaur Badal could barely manage a lead of about 11,000 votes from the Talwandi Sabo assembly segment.
“The Badal family has now perfected the art of winning the election by hook or by crook by the use of brute force that included money power and the unashamed misuse of official machinery,” he alleged.
Bajwa said it was a matter of grave concern that the office of the chief electoral officer, Punjab, had given the clean chit to all Akali-BJP ministers who were caught on camera staying on in the assembly segment despite the Election Commission’s instructions to leave the area by August 19.