DW BUREAU / Chandigarh
Chandigarh Opposition parties Wednesday hit out at the Congress-led Punjab government, accusing it of “murdering democracy” by resorting to ‘goondagardi’ (hooliganism) to stop their candidates from participating in the upcoming zila parishad and block samiti polls.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioned the role of the State Election Commission in holding fair and free polls, and alleged that it was working under “pressure” of the state government.
They claimed that the candidatures of their nominees at most of the places were rejected on “flimsy grounds with mala fide intention”, reducing the entire poll process to sham.
“Over 200 nominations of our party were rejected on flimsy ground in the entire state. There had been large scale rejection of nominations. It is a total murder of democracy,” SAD spokesperson and former minister Daljit Singh Cheema said.
“Earlier, our candidates were forcibly stopped from filling nomination papers at several places. Those who managed to file nominations now faced rejection,” he
The Akali Dal is considering to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking probe into the “large scale” rejection of nomination papers of the opposition parties, said Cheema.
“We will also question the role of the State Election Commission which appeared to be functioning under the pressure of the state government and showing helplessness,” he said.
Cheema said the Akali Dal will not to be cowed down by the “gimmicks” of the ruling party.
Echoing similar sentiments, the BJP accused the Congress of threatening candidates of the opposition parties with arrest.
“In these elections, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is trying to murder the democracy the way West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had done in the panchayat polls,” said BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh.
“The Congress government knows if free and fair polls take place they will face humiliating defeat and that is why they are trying to crush the voice of the opposition parties by indulging in violence,”
AAP MLA Aman Arora also lashed out at the Congress, accusing the state government of denying the right to fight the zila parishad and block samiti polls.
“Complete ‘goondagardi’ (hooliganism) is taking place in Punjab during these polls,” claimed Arora.