District Administration gives "clean chit" to BJP on running office from temple | punjab | Hindustan Times
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District Administration gives "clean chit" to BJP on running office from temple

With the aim of shielding their political masters from BJP, coalition partner in ruling alliance, the returning officer of Jalandhar North assembly constituency cum deputy director local bodies, Pritam Singh, has virtually given 'clean chit' to the saffron party on running its office from the temple complex.

punjab Updated: Sep 02, 2013 18:47 IST
Rajeev Bhaskar

With the aim of shielding their political masters from BJP, coalition partner in ruling alliance, the returning officer of Jalandhar North assembly constituency cum deputy director local bodies, Pritam Singh, has virtually given 'clean chit' to the saffron party on running its office from the temple complex.

On the complaint of an RTI activist and convener of RTI and Grievances cell of Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Sanjay Sehgal, the election commission had instructed the deputy commissioner to hold a probe and accordingly Pritam Singh was instructed to initiate inquiry.

EC had also sent the relevant provisions of the Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act 1988, which prohibits any political activity to use any religious premises and provides imprisonment till five years in case of violation of the law.

Fearing action from EC, local BJP leaders vacated its office from the complex of Sheetla Temple on July 6 and consequently, in his first report, Pritam Singh had submitted that although the office was run from the temple earlier but it was relocated to another site.

On August 27, Punjab chief electoral officer ordered a re-inquiry on the issue and directed that the Action Taken Report (ATR) should be submitted by September 2.
"I personally visited the spot and found that there is no BJP office on the temple premises and the same was mentioned in the report of re-enquiry", Singh told HT.

"Report of re-enquiry is submitted to district returning officer-cum-deputy commissioner, who would send her Action Taken Report (ATR) to the chief electoral officer", he added.

Several attempts were made to contact deputy commissioner Shruti Singh to know whether she submitted the ATR to EC, as it was to be sent today, but she was not available for comments.

Interestingly, Singh in an earlier report had said that the party was operating from the temple, which was vacated later but he failed to mention party's functioning in his re-inquiry report, in which he only limits himself to saying that "No BJP office exists in temple".

Earlier, BJP district president Subhash Sood had admitted, while talking to HT, that BJP office was running from the temple since 1953 from the era of Jan Sangh, which was later re-named as BJP.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Sehgal shammed the re-inquiry saying, "Earlier, after an inquiry the Election Commission had served the notice to BJP to remove the office. Subsequently, the office was relocated to another site."

"Re-enquiry bears no logic because everybody knows that no office is working there. We are waiting for the action against the irregularities made by BJP from the officials of the Election Commission," he added.