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Fear of govt ?intervention’ on SGPC polling day

Friday 9 July 2004, by BANWAIT*Ravinder

With the July 11 elections to elect members of the SGPC General House just round the corner, fears have been expressed about the possibility of “interference” by the Punjab government on the voting day.

Gurdwara Election Commission (GEC) sources said that since the present circumstances indicated that the Congress regime in the state could “intervene on the polling day also”, the panel had requested the Central government to deploy paramilitary forces to supervise security during Committee elections. However, sources rued, the request had not been acceded to till date.

When contacted, Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, Justice J.S. Sekhon (retd) admitted that the state government was “intervening indirectly” in the SGPC elections through its officers.

The behaviour of Amritsar and Gurdaspur DCs shows that they have the state government support to interfere in smooth conduct of SGPC polls. First, the state government wanted to get the Committee elections postponed. Then, they interfered in the election process through the DCs. So, the present circumstances do not give any positive signals that the polls will be held in a free and fair manner,” Justice Sekhon alleged while talking to Hindustan Times today.

He also claimed that though security arrangements had been made, state police might favour the party in power.

But, we have summoned observers from outside the state to counter it,” he maintained.

The Haryana government has given its nod to post 10 IAS officers as observers for the SGPC polls. The Punjab government has furnished a list of five observers, with three of them available for deployment, it was learnt.

Himachal has not sent any observers till date, the Chief Commissioner, Gurdwara Elections, disclosed.

Meanwhile, the GEC has identified 226 polling stations as “super-sensitive”, including 203 in Punjab and 23 in Haryana. Besides, Punjab and Haryana have 2,157 and 118 sensitive polling stations.

A total of 8,290 polling stations have been set up for the July 11 elections, including 7,701 in Punjab, 449 in Haryana, 113 in Himachal and 27 in Chandigarh.

As many as 420 candidates are in the fray in Punjab, 33 in Haryana, 4 in Himachal and 3 in Chandigarh. Eight candidates have since been declared elected unopposed.

GEC recommends action against DCs

THE GURDWARA Election Commission has reportedly recommended to the Union Home Ministry to take departmental action against the DCs of Amritsar and Gurdaspur under the Centre Service rules for major penalty. The Commission has also recommended action against other returning officers under the state services rules, sources said.

See online : Ther HindustanTimes


in The Hindustan Times, Friday, July 09, 2004.

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