Accusing Punjab's Akali Dal-led government of trying to delay the bypoll to the Talwandi Sabo assembly seat, the Congress on Tuesday demanded that the Election Commission should hold it along with the election to 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state on April 13.
The Talwandi Sabo seat fell vacant on March 6, when sitting Congress legislator Jeet Mohinder Singh left the party to join the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and submitted his resignation from the assembly.
Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa said that the poll panel should hold the bye-election for the seat along with the Lok Sabha polls to avoid unnecessary expenditure.
He alleged that the SAD-BJP alliance was not willing to hold the bye-election along with general parliamentary elections due to its narrow political interests. Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira alleged that the assembly by-election was being delayed at the behest of the ruling alliance. He said that senior functionaries of the Punjab assembly were deliberately trying to mislead the poll panel on the vacancy on this seat.
"Sensing a deep conspiracy between the office of the speaker and the chief minister, I, on behalf of the Congress party, sent a formal complaint to your (EC) office dated March 15," he said in a fresh complaint to the poll panel. Khaira said that while the seat was declared vacant through a notification, the information was withheld from the EC and Punjab's chief electoral officer saying that the matter had been sent to the office of the state advocate general for legal opinion.
"By misleading and hoodwinking the constitutional body of ECI, the speaker and secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha have committed a serious constitutional blunder. The said breach of constitution is not possible without political pressure of the chief minister, who for reasons known to the whole state, does not want the ECI to hold the Talwandi Sabo by-poll alongwith the general Lok Sabha elections," he alleged.