Debating India

SGPC elections

2,500 stations sensitive

Sunday 11 July 2004

CHANDIGARH: More than 2,500 polling stations in Punjab and Haryana have been identified as sensitive for the SGPC elections taking place on Sunday.

In the 170-member House, polling would take place for 159 seats as the election to the three seats was countermanded by the chief commissioner, Gurdwara Election Commission, last week and eight members have been elected unopposed. Chief commissioner JS Sekhon said results of all the seats, except for those going for a repoll, would be declared on July 12.

More than 55 lakh voters would be voting in the election to the mini Sikh parliament (as the SGPC is known) which is taking place after eight years.

Parkash Singh Badalled SAD is a key political party contesting all the 170 seats. His party faces the Panthic Morcha, a conglomeration of about half a dozen groups, as a main contender.

In the absence of the central forces, about 38,000 policemen would be deployed for security of the polling stations in the two states. In addition patrol parties would be put to task to ensure law and order. Sekhon said the commission had sought the Centre and the state government to make the central security forces available for the elections on May 24.

But its request remained unheeded till July 9 when the Punjab home secretary informed the commission that it was too late for the state to procure the central forces.

Sekhon said this was a clear indication of wilfull negligence by the state government which kept sitting on the commission’s request for more than one-and-a-half months before saying it was too late for it to act.

Eleven IAS officers from Haryana have been put on duty as observers in 17 districts in Punjab, whereas three IAS officers from Punjab would be performing the task in Haryana. No observers have been engaged for elections in Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, where, Sekhon said, no trouble was anticipated.

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Sunday, July 11, 2004.

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