A day after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate for a local body poll was found dead at his home in Bathinda district, the main Opposition party on Tuesday demanded scrapping the impending zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections due to large-scale violence unleashed at the behest of ruling party.
In a memorandum submitted to the state election officer, AAP said the blatant murder of AAP candidate from Gill Kalan Zila Parishad Zone, subsequent failure of police to arrest the accused, wrongful rejection of nomination papers of AAP candidate is open violation of code of conduct by the ruling Congress and failure of the State Election Commission to take appropriate measures for conduct of free and fair elections.
“Recent murder of Harwinder Singh Hinda, resident of Village Jethuke, District Bathinda, AAP candidate from Gill Kalan Zila Parishad Zone, belies the promises by state election commission as well the state government that there will be free and fair Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections on 19 September,” it added.
AAP said since last few days, newspapers are filled with columns narrating how Punjab is witnessing violent fights between various political groups ensued at the behest of ruling Congress.
Demanding immediate action on deteriorating condition of law and order in the state, AAP demanded compulsory video recording of all the polling stations.
“Booths must be undertaken and CRPF must be deployed for conduct of free and fair elections as envisaged under the Constitution of India. However, till date no action has been taken in this regard. In fact the murder of AAP candidate shows gross neglect of human rights,” the memorandum said.
AAP said the ruling party is buried neck deep in unleashing a vendetta against the opposition and is trying its level best to stop AAP from taking part in these elections.
The party said there is a reasonable doubt regarding the impartiality of police forces in fulfilling their duty to provide a conducive environment on polling day.
Requesting cancellation or suspension of Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls, AAP said fresh schedule for these elections should be announced after deployment of Central Forces so that a voter can participate in elections without any fear, bias or intimidation. In the absence of Central Forces and immediate preventive measures, free and fair elections are neither warranted nor plausible, the party said.