CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday lambasted the Congress party for misusing civil and police machinery to capture booths besides unleashing violence against the opposition to intimidate voters during municipal bodies in Punjab.
"The SAD had already cautioned the State Election Commission (SEC) about how democracy had been murdered in the runup to the municipal polls and how Congress goons were expected to indulge in booth capturing and other unfair practices today," said Daljit Singh Cheema, Former Minister and SAD spokesman in a statement.
Cheema also said that despite the warning, no concrete steps were taken to control the situation and ensure free and fair elections in the state.
Describing the law and order situation in the state, the SAD leader said that the Congress goons not only captured booths but also attacked opposition candidates and their supporters.
He cited incidents and said that gunshots were fired in Patti in Tarn Taran district, the party supporters were injured with sharp weapons in Ropar and Fatehgarh Churian. Booths were captured in Mukatsar, Rajpura, Samana, Sultanpur Lodhi, Dinanagar, Ferozepur, Bhikiwind.
"An FIR was registered against Gauravdeep Singh Valtoha, son of senior SAD leader Virsa Singh Valtoha, and five others," Cheema said.
Similarly, police raided the house of SAD candidates, Jaswinder Kaur, in ward number 26 in Khanna and registered a case against 13 members of the family including her husband. He said that same was done with Tej Chand Batra, the SAD candidate from ward number 18 in Mukatsar who was booked in an abduction case, as per the statement.
The SAD leader also added that Congress goons openly tossed turbans of SAD workers and let loose a reign of terror but cases were registered against the victims. The police also opposed permission for videography in polling booths and no one was allowed to depute videography teams.
"The SEC also failed to ensure videography at sensitive places which resulted in large scale booth capturing," the leader alleged.
The Congress party had repeated what it had done in the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections because it knew it had lost the confidence of the people after failing to fulfill any of the promises made to them. The party was even jitterier in the municipal elections because it knew that all facilities were in shambles and people were suffering due to a thirty per cent increase in power tariff and other taxes, he added.
Cheema said that the SAD had filed a complaint with all details with SEC and had demanded countermanding of elections at all places where there had been large scale booth capturing and violent incidents.