Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to requisition para-military forces for the conduct of free and fair elections to municipal bodies in the State besides demanding a slew of measures to ensure the Congress party does not hijack the entire process as it did in the case of the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections earlier.
In a letter to SEC Commissioner Jagpal Singh Sidhu, former minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema demanded that videography be conducted both inside the booth as well in the office of the Returning Officers to ward off booth capturing and other malpractices.
He also demanded that online filing of nominations be allowed and candidates issued No Dues certificates on the basis of self declarations pending verification.
Dr Cheema also asked the State Election Commission to establish a round the clock control room so that it could keep itself abreast with all developments and be able to take appropriate action in case of violations of the model code of conduct immediately.
Ahead of municipal elections, he also asked the Commission to make its e-mail address as well as twitter handle public so that people could approach it easily. He also requested the Commission to make a special app which could be used by the general public to share violations of the model code of conduct immediately.
The Shiromani Akali Dal leader said he had made all these suggestions keeping in view the fact that during the zila parishad and samiti elections there had been 164 recorded cases of booth capturing following which the Commission ordered repolling in 54 booths. He para-military forces should be employed in Punjab at all booths to ensure rampant booth capturing did not occur again.
Dr Cheema also requested the State Election Commissioner to hold a meeting with all political parties to sort out pending issues. He said the voter lists had still not been provided and there was confusion about the new wards which had been created recently.
He said candidates were finding it difficult to get their No Dues certificates with Executive Officers not sitting in office deliberately. “All these issues need to be resolved with the intervention of the SEC”, the letter added.