Defer Punjab poll date, say Congress, BJP

Charanjit Singh Channi

Charanjit Singh Channi

After Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI), demanding the postponement of the February 14 Assembly polls in Punjab in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) on Sunday raised a similar request.

Punjab BJP general secretary Subhash Sharma said that the BJP had requested the ECI through a formal letter to postpone Punjab’s election date as numerous people from Punjab travel to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to pay their respects to Guru Ravidas. The birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas falls on February 16.

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“Lakhs of voters should not be denied their right to vote on February 14. The polling date considering the religious sentiments of followers of Shri Guru Ravidas should be postponed. BJP is a party which takes every segment along with it and is considerate to religious sentiments, and at the same time wants that democracy should be upheld and every citizen of the State be able to cast his or her vote,” said Mr. Sharma.

Earlier, Mr. Channi, in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, wrote that it was brought to his notice by representatives of the Scheduled Caste community, which contributes around 32% of the State’s population, that Guru Ravidas’s birth anniversary falls on February 16. He wrote: “On this occasion, a large number of SC devotees from the state are likely to visit Banaras in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 to 16. In such a situation, many people from this community would not be able to cast their votes for the state assembly, which is otherwise their constitutional right.”

“It is considered fair and appropriate that the voting for Punjab assembly elections 2022, maybe postponed for at least six days, enabling about 20 lakh people to utilise their right to vote for the state legislative assembly,” he added.

The Punjab Lok Congress, led by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, has also supported the demand for postponing elections in Punjab by a week. The party has sent a letter to the ECI in this regard.

The National Scheduled Castes Alliance (NSCA), an NGO, has also submitted a request regarding postponement of the poll date. NSCA president Paramjit Kainth in his letter wrote “...the State government of Punjab should have been aware of such a dilemma occurring on the date of February 14, and it is an utter disappointment on the State government’s side to not advise your esteemed institution (ECI) regarding the possibility of such nature of inconvenience for the public of the state. As is the case, I request you to consider postponing the voting process to a date after February 18, so that the pilgrims can return to their home districts from Varanasi and exercise their right in these elections.”

Aware of the importance of SC votes, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to win over their votes ahead of the crucial Assembly polls in Punjab.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 1:48:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-assembly/after-congress-the-bjp-wants-punjab-election-date-deferred/article38279165.ece