Two days after the murder of an Akali worker, district rural Congress has decided to boycott the municipal elections of five councils and nagar panchyats falling in the Rampura Phul block, including at the native village of Captain Amarinder Singh, to protest the alleged bullying by Shiromani Akali Dal.
"Our candidates were slapped in front of the tehsildar when they went to his office at Phul to file nomination papers on Friday. They were dragged outside the office in the presence of the DSP rank police officer by workers of the SAD. None other than cabinet minister and MLA from Rampura Phul Sikander Singh Maluka was behind this design of not allowing Congress candidates to contest the elections," said Congress Malwa zone vice- president Gurpreet Singh Kangar, at a press conference here on Sunday.
A close confidant of Captain Amarinder Singh, Kangar alleged that the bullying against Congress candidates took place at the Phul court on the same day when an Akali worker Gurbir Singh Goldy was allegedly killed by Lakhbir Singh alias Lakha Sidhana and others. Rampura Phul is no exception to election violence. Incidents of violence take place here during every election.
Three Congress candidates who filed papers for Mehraj Nagar panchyat have also been booked for the murder of the Akali worker, the Congressmen alleged.
"Three of our candidates from Mehraj village have been booked in the murder case. It is only to demoralise Congress workers. Those booked included Tarsem Singh, Gurpreet Singh Beera and Ranjit Namberdar, all three Congress candidates from Mehraj," said Kangar
"First our candidates were beaten up and now they have been booked for the murder. So, we have decided to boycott the municipal and nagar panchyat elections in Rampura Phul block. The Congress will not contest elections in Rampura Phul, Bhagta, Maluka, Kotha Guru Ka and Mehraj panchayat," said Kangar.
He said, "Government machinery is only following orders of the SAD leaders and there is no security for Congress candidates. We find no sense in risking lives of Congress workers, especially when we knew that elections have been converted into a drama."
He said, "I personally never shared any stage with PPP leader Lakha Sidhana even during parliamentary elections when the Congress was contesting in alliance with the People's Party of Punjab. Neither I nor the Congress party and its workers have any link with Sidhana. But, the police have been harassing us only on the orders of their political masters."
"There was also a plot to kill me on the day nomination papers were filed. My security was taken back in advance as part of a conspiracy. When I went to the police station, abuses were hurled at me along with stones by SAD workers. Police watched it from a distance. Police officials should give their uniform to the SAD workers, if the police cannot do anything," alleged Kangar.
Papers of Congress rejected in Maluka
There are seven seats in Maluka nagar panchyat and the Congress managed to field candidates on all seats. However, the nomination papers of all the candidates were cancelled on the reason that none of the candidates deposited the 'Chulha' tax.
"There was enough time with us to pay the tax, but officials did not accept our payment only to keep us ineligible for filing nominations. On the other side, many SAD candidates did not meet any term to file papers. We demand pf the election commission that the nomination papers of SAD candidates should be verified from an independent agency. None of the SAD candidates fulfills the conditions. Officials are working on the instructions of Sikander Singh Maluka," alleged Congress leader Gora Singh Tungwali.