‘V.K. Singh acts under pressure from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal’

Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday urged the Election Commission to immediately change the Chief Electoral Officer V.K. Singh.

He alleged that Mr. Singh had not only failed to take action on the complaints by the Congress and other Opposition parties but had come under pressure from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.

Talking to reporters here, Capt. Singh said that there was no rationale in the CEO’s decision to allow the use of identity cards and food bags that carried the pictures of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. In the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, the ECI had banned the use of ration cards with the Chief Minister’s pictures, he said.

No action had been initiated against officials distributing bicycles with the Chief Minister’s photograph under the Mai Bhago scheme in Sangrur district.

Instead of recommending removal of the Punjab Police chief, Sumedh Singh Saini who had been charge-sheeted by the CBI and who had blatantly helped the Akali Dal in the last Assembly elections, the CEO called on him at his residence and filed a “favourable” report, Capt. Singh alleged.

Mr. V.K. Singh refused to respond to the allegations and claimed that he had performed his role within the parameters assigned to him.

A complaint by Union Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur,had been referred to the ECI for final directions.

Ms. Kaur, who is the Congress candidate from Patiala and wife of Capt. Amarinder Singh, has objected to the Punjab government’s decision to supply six months’ food at subsidised rates to the people under the “Atta-Dal” scheme.

The State government through the Chief Secretary explained that the decision was taken last year, but was being implemented now.

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