CHANDIGARH: Expressing concern over law and order situation, Punjab Congress today demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state to conduct the assembly elections in single phase under a neutral administration.
Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh led a delegation of party MPs and MLAs to meet the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Naseem Zaidi with the demand for the imposition of President’s rule in Punjab to ensure fair elections.
With elections to the state assembly due early next year, Amarinder sought the Election Commission’s early intervention to prevent further vitiation of the political, administrative and law and order environment in the state. The Congress leaders urged the Election Commission to hold the Punjab assembly polls in a single phase to prevent the Akali government in the state from using any additional time to further misuse their authority.
“If they (the Akalis) are allowed to continue with their uninhibited control over the state’s administration till the completion of the polls, they will not only plunge the state into further lawlessness but will misuse the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to convert their black money into white, said Amarinder.
Seeking imposition of the code of conduct in Punjab without further delay, the Congress delegation submitted a detailed memorandum to the CEC citing complete deterioration of the situation in the state, which was detrimental to holding fair and free polls.
In a memorandum submitted to the Election Commission, the delegation pointed out that in the last ten years of its rule, the SAD-BJP combine in Punjab had destroyed basic structures and systems, causing untold misery and sorrow to the common man. There has been a complete collapse of the administration in the state, said the memorandum, adding that the Election Commission of India had gathered an idea about the situation during its last visit to the state on October 23-24.
Listing down the problems gripping the state, the memorandum referred to the increase in suicides by farmers and complete breakdown of law and order as signified by the daylight murders and dacoities. Growth of trade and industry has come to a standstill because of the non-transparent and anti-trade policies of the present government, with the common man denied choice of free trade by hooligans and criminals supported and patronised by the ruling combine, it said.
The Congress lamented that the law had become an exception in Punjab, with liquor mafia, sand mafia, drug trafficking and unleashing of state terror through false FIRs continuing unabated. Not a single culprit involved in desecration of Guru Granth Sahib has been identified and brought to justice, while cases of disrespect to Bhagvat Gita, Quran and the Bible have caused much anguish to the minorities.
“The admission by the director general of police of Punjab, that 52 organised armed gangs are running riot in the state, indicates the helplessness of the police in tackling them because of state government patronage,” stated the memorandum.
Deployment of paramilitary forces in the inner cordon of 500 meters of the polling stations, as well as ensuring that political parties do not set up polling booths in this cordon are some of the other measures suggested by the Punjab Congress, which also sought external supervision of the paramilitary during the elections.
Electronic Voting Machines available in Punjab should not be used for polling, and a Special Task Force (STF), independent of local police and civil administration, should be set up in each constituency to check distribution of drugs, liquor and money before and during the elections, stated the memorandum further.