Punjab Cong for action against Chief Secretary

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Amritsar, May 16 (UNI) The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) today took strong objection to the visit of state Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh to the city.

The PPCC also sought action against him for ''attempting to influence the officials'' in favour of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD)-BJP candidate in the Amritsar South Assembly constituency where a by-election is scheduled for May 22.

In a communique to the Chief Election Commissioner, PPCC chief spokesman Bir Devinder Singh claimed that the Chief Secretary was sighted inside a hotel today where he had checked in a room booked in the name of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The fact that the Chief Secretary was not using government accommodation was a pointer to the fact that it was a non-official visit for political purposes, the PPCC spokesman added. The visit was also violative of the instructions of the Election Commission asking officials not to visit the place where election or by-election was being held.

'' The Chief Secretary is the head of administration of the state and his clandestine visit to Amritsar is bound to affect the neutral and impartial attitude of the officers deputed for conducting the election'', Mr Singh said while pointing out that the Congress had all along been emphasising that government machinery was being 'used' by the ruling party.

Complaints had already been sent about the partisan role of the key officers like Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation and the SSP of Amritsar and the blatant misuse of their authority to help the ruling party in the by-election, the PPCC leader stated.

The visit of the Chief Secretary should be thoroughly looked into and appropriate action should be immediately taken, the PPCC leader added.

The PPCC through another communique to Mr Theeru M Malik Feroze Khan, observer of the Election Commission of India for the by-election, has also demanded immediate shifting of SSP Kanwar Vijay Partap Singh as his presence would hamper the process of a free and fair poll.

The PPCC pointed to a meeting of the SSP with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on May 4. In this meeting threadbare strategy to rig the poll with the help of the Punjab Police and the task force of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was discussed, Mr Bir Devider claimed.

The PPCC leader claimed that the SSP had already constituted groups of policemen to demoralise the Congress workers and to whisk them away from the election campaign.

Meanwhile, following complaints of the PPCC, the Election Commission ordered the transfer of DC K S Pannu. Mr Rohit Bhandari will replace Mr Pannu.

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