Cong submits memo to Punjab EC on panchayat polls

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Chandigarh, Mar 14 (UNI) The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has expressed the fear that the Panchayat polls scheduled to be held on April 7 may not ensure proper and democratic participation of the voters in view of the wheat harvesting season and the annual examinations of the Universities of the state.

''The Congress has been consistently of the view that Panchayat elections should be held at a time when the voter is not seriously engaged in any other unavoidable and important socio-economic activity'', a memorandum to state Election Commissioner A K Dubey by a party delegation led by MLA Partap Bajwa stated here today.

The Congress party regretted that the ruling SAD-BJP alliance had hurriedly announced these elections with a deep rooted ulterior and political motive, the memorandum claimed while pointing out that the party was fully prepared for these elections.

While pointing out that the state government's decision to hold indirect election to the post of sarpanchs had been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the memorandum urged the Commission to wait for the decision of the court before conducting the elections.

The Congress party also expressed the fear that there could be large scale bungling and distortion in the roaster that provides for reservation for women and Scheduled Castes in accordance with the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act. The party also demanded that the voters lists should be accurate and authentic and the ruling alliance should not be allowed to tamper with the lists in connivance with local officials.

The memo suggested that nomination forms should be issued and received in the polling stations instead of Block Development offices as this would save the candidates from unnecessary botheration. The nomination forms should also be scrutinised at the same place.

The memo urged the Commission to hold the election of Sarpanchs on the polling day itself and at the same polling stations where votes for electing Panchs are cast. This will ensure fair election of Sarpanchs and will not give much time to the pressure groups to indulge in horse-trading/mal-practices, the memo added.

The memo expressed the fear that there could be large scale bungling and violence during the elections in connivance with the government machinery. It demanded para-military forces should be deployed to conduct these elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner.

The Congress demanded that no officer belonging to the district should be placed on duty in his home district for the polls. The nomination papers should not be rejected on flimsy grounds and in partisan manner, the memo added.

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