HC orders police protection for Congress panchayat members

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Ahmedabad, Dec 25: The Gujarat High Court today directed the state Government to provide police protection to all the 26 elected Congress members of Dahod district panchayat ahead of tomorrow's poll to select president and Vice-President of the local body.

The court direction came on a petition filed by the newly-elected Congress members of the panchayat, who apprehend disturbance during the voting. Justice A G Uraizee ordered the government to provide police protection to the representatives so that they can participate in the election for the panchayat President and Vice-President without any fear.

Gujarat HC

District Collector M A Gandhi has fixed December 26 for elections for the two posts. Congress had won 26 seats and BJP 24 in the polling held last month. In their petition, the Congress members alleged the Dahod District Collector has failed to carry out his duty as the presiding officer, as he has postponed the election for the twin posts two times.

The election was first scheduled on December 22 and then deferred till the next day after BJP members, who were in a minority in the panchayat, created ruckus and tried to capture power using unfair means, said the petition. According to the petition, police force deployed on December 22 was not adequate to control the situation outside the election venue, where BJP supporters allegedly torched a bus which brought the Congress representatives to District Panchayat Bhavan.

On December 23 too, BJP members created an atmosphere of chaos and made sure election is deferred for indefinite period, stated the petition, which came before Justice Uraizee, appointed vacation HC Judge for the winter vacation. The petitioners claimed they spent the entire night in the District Panchayat Bhavan in Dahod out of fear on December 22 when their vehicle was torched. At present, all of them, except one, are staying in Gandhinagar due to security reason.

PTI

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