The Dera Bassi assembly seat, part for the Patiala Lok Sabha segment, has seen a 17% increase in number of voters in the past year, something that has alarmed sitting MP and Congress candidate Preneet Kaur, as the segment is represented by a Shiromani Akali Dal MLA and chief parliamentary secretary NK Sharma.
Most of these new votes are alleged to registered in Zirakpur area, where the housing business has huge interests of realtor-cum-politician Sharma, who is close to deputy CM and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. The increase across Dera Bassi — 30,907 votes between January of 2013 and 2014 — is not entirely in terms of first-time voters either.
SAD’s Lok Sabha candidate Deepinder Singh Dhillon has been claiming that he would get a landslide lead from Dera Bassi segment. Ironically, Dhillon, after he lost as an independent candidate in the 2012 assembly polls from Dera Bassi, had alleged that the margin of his defeat to NK Sharma was “equal to the number of bogus votes Sharma managed to get registered in Zirakpur”.
Alleging bogus votes, Preneet has now demanded physical re-verification of voters in the segment, and has written to VK Singh, chief electoral officer (CEO), Punjab, and also to the Election Commission of India in New Delhi. “It is a classic case of alarming increase in the number of voters. Every day, voters are increasing,” she said.
General guidelines of the ECI say that where there is an increase of more than 3% of votes, the entire voter list has to be verified afresh by the election department, and a certain number of votes have to be physically verified. In case of Dera Bassi, she alleged alleged, no such exercise “appears to have been undertaken”.
“Ever since the SAD-BJP regime has returned to power for a second consecutive term, construction activity in Zirakpur and its surrounding pockets has been slow, thus no new arrivals (of residents who could register as voters) can be expected. Most of the people are tenants and stand registered as voters in their respective states,” she added.