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Proxy voting in mind, EC’s eye on outsiders

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Non-resident Indians (NRIs)  camping in Punjab to campaign for various political parties will have to leave the state during the 48 hours before polling  for the state Assembly
on 4 February.

As per the Election Commission (EC) orders, no outsiders will be allowed to stay in Punjab during next 48 hours.

To restrict proxy voting, the EC has asked police and district administrations to keep a close watch on the movement of non-voters.

Adding to this, EC has asked police to check community centres, guest houses and lodges so that the outsiders, if any, could be kept housed without causing any disturbance during the electoral process.

The move is significant as both Congress and Aam Adami Party (AAP) have engaged a large number NRIs to campaign for them.

Recently, citing law and order problem, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh had asked the EC to send back AAP volunteers from outside the state.

He had written to EC to take cognisance of the fact that AAP had inducted more than 27,000 Punjabi-origin people settled elsewhere, including foreign nationals, and 40,000 volunteers from other states to campaign for their candidates during polls.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) VK Singh, said if anyone is found guilty, action will be taken against the defaulter as per the EC rules.

Following the first incident of violence, the bomb blast attack in Maur (in Bathinda) the entire state has converted into a fortress.

EC officers said that the identity cards of those who stay there in the constituency would also be checked.

The administration has been asked to ensure all those who have been under security cover could remain there in the constituency, in which they are the registered voters, till the poll day.

However, these directions would not be applicable on the contesting candidates or the state heads of the political parties.

They would be allowed to move only between their state party office and their residence about which the EC has already been informed.

The chief secretaries and director generals of police (DGPs) of neighbouring states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have been told to completely seal borders till the polling is over.