Polls to another 6 Gram Panchayats postponed

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Chandigarh, May 22 (UNI) The Punjab State Election Commission today postponed the general elections to six Gram Panchayats in four districts, which were scheduled to be held on 26th May in the state.

Besides the Commission also removed three election officers from poll duty on grounds of violating the model code of conduct.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the Commission said that the polls to Gram Panchayats of Nidhanwala and Loppon in district Moga, Bappiana in district Mansa,Dharonki in district Patiala and Chaura Bajwa and Nikka The-Therke in district Gurdaspur had been postponed. Fresh election schedulewould be communicated later.

The Commission has also ordered the District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Patiala to appoint new Returning Officer in block Nabha immediately and initiate disciplinary action against the erring Returning Officer of Block Nabha, who had committed the gross irregularity by rejecting the nomination papers candidates of Panchayat Dharonki.

The Commission has directed the District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Moga to remove Returning Officer Block Nihal Singh Wala who had acted in a wrongful and negligent manner and had thus eroded the sanctity of the election process.

In another case the Commission has also directed the District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Moga to remove Assistant Registrar Cooperative Societies, who was another Returning Officer of Block Nihal Singh Wala. He would be immediately suspended and disciplinary action would be taken against him. He had malafide intentions while rejecting large number of nomination papers of village Panchayat Nidhanwala candidates without any legal basis.

The Commission while considering the report of the Executive Officer and the District Electoral Officer, Gurdaspur found that Returning Officer Manjit Singh, Naib Teshsildar-cum-Returning Officer Dera Baba Nanak was the custodian of the nomination papers of Panchayat Choura Bajwa candidates and therefore any substitution by replacement could not take place without his connivance or consent.His conduct was extremely suspicion and smacks of malafide intent, the Commission noted while issuing directions to the District Electoral Officer that Manjit Singh should be immediately placed under suspension and disciplinary proceedings initiated against him.The Commission on the report of the District Electoral Officer and the Executive Magistrate, Gurdaspur found that the conduct of another Returning Officer, Raj Kumar Bajwa, SDO, UBDC Sub-Division Gurdaspur was highly suspected. His conduct had derailed electoral process to Gram Panchayat Village Nikka The-Therke and vitiated the election proceedings. The Commission ordered that he be placed under suspension immediately and disciplinary proceedings be initiated against him.

After due consideration of the report of the District Electoral Officer Mansa, the Commission has come to the conclusion that the election process had been vitiated by the conduct of Returning Officer (BPEO), Bhiki in the manner of wrongful rejection of nomination forms of the complainants of Panchayat Bappiana. Even if the corruption charges against the Returning Officer do not stand proved yet he was guilty of negligence, malafide and non-compliance and defiance of the instructions of the Commission that nomination papers accompanied by the affidavit should not be rejected, the Commission stated while ordering his removal and intiating disciplinary action against him.


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