Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday demanded the deployment of central security forces here for the February 23 Moga byelection with immediate effect till the day of counting (February 28).
The party projected a united front, with the unsuccessful claimants for the Congress ticket, including Punjab Mahila Congress president Malti Thapar, former minister Darshan Singh Brar, Jagdarshan Kaur, Manjit Singh Mann and Jagroop Singh Takhtupura, being present on the occasion.
Addressing a workers' meeting here, Amarinder said the party would write to the Election Commission of India that paramilitary forces should be deployed not just for polling but for the entire election process.
The former chief minister said Punjab Police were under tremendous pressure and demoralised by the Akalis' arm-twisting approach. "It may not be possible for them (police) to act in a fair and impartial manner. We will contest the Moga bypoll on the law and order situation, unemployment and issues of farmers and poor people," he added.
Amarinder said SAD-BJP candidate Joginder Pal Jain had betrayed more than 62,000 voters of Moga constituency by making a "business deal" with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal. The people of Moga want to teach Jain a lesson and the Congress has provided them the best alternative in Vijay Sathi, he said.
Citing the Amritsar ASI's murder, Congress Working Committee member Jagmeet Singh Brar said going by the Akalis' ill-treatment of the police, it was very difficult to expect them (police) not to submit to the Akalis' commands.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar said Jain had let down the Moga voters, who had elected him to the assembly twice in a row. He expressed confidence that the Congress would win the byelection by a handsome margin as people were not only angry with Jain's betrayal but also upset with the government.
Others present on the occasion included Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh, state party general secretary Harminder Singh Gill, Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency in-charge Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Tara Singh Sandhu, PPCC secretary Harpal Singh Brar, Congress candidate Vijay Sathi and Giri Raj Rajaura.