The District Congress Committee (DCC) led by its president Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Tuesday staged a sit-in outside the office of the deputy commissioner-cum-district electoral officer to protest against the alleged highhandedness of the ruling party leaders and workers during the zila parishad and block samiti elections in the district.
The Congress leaders forwarded a memorandum to the state election commissioner, urging him to ensure free and fair elections.
Addressing the protesters, Randhawa, who is also Congress MLA from Dera Baba Nanak, said that former Punjab minister Sucha Singh Langah, who had lost the last assembly election from Dera Baba Nanak to him, had let loose a reign of terror on the Congress candidates and their supporters in Dera Baba Nanak and Kalanaur blocks. He alleged that Langah and his men were being fully supported by the civil administration and the police.
He said the police were not taking any action against those who attacked and injured Congress candidates and their supporters. He questioned under which rule the government had provided beacon-fitted vehicle and security to the son of Langah. He alleged that Langah and his son were misusing their securitymen to terrorise people. He accused Langah of using bad elements of society to terrorise his political opponents.
Randhawa termed the whole election process a farce. He accused the deputy commissioner and the senior superintendent of police of Gurdaspur district of playing in the hands of ruling party. He said that the DCC had decided not to campaign until and unless the state election commission created an atmosphere where free and fair polls could be conducted and FIRs against the culprits who had attacked the Congress workers and candidates were registered.
Fatehgarh Churian MLA Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, PPCC member Raman Bahl and Christian leader of Congress Kanwal Bakshi also addressed the well attended sit-in.
Langah, however, rubbished the charges saying that he never sheltered or supported a criminal.