Punjab officials tried to sway voters with last-minute polling extension request: EC 

Logo of Election Commission of India in New Delhi. File

Logo of Election Commission of India in New Delhi. File

The Election Commission on Thursday expressed its “displeasure” with Punjab government officers for seeking a last-minute extension to the polling hours for the ongoing Sangrur parliamentary seat by-poll.

The EC sought explanations from the Punjab Chief Secretary and the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner, who is the Returning Officer, according to a letter by the EC to the Punjab Chief Electoral Officer. The EC stated in its letter that the Returning Officer and subsequently the Chief Secretary had written to the poll body at 4.05 p.m. seeking an extension to the poll hours, while the polling was originally scheduled only till 6 p.m. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who had vacated the Sangrur seat in March after winning the Punjab Assembly polls, said in a tweet today that the poll timing should be extended for an hour as a section of the voters were busy working in their paddy fields.

The EC said the Returning Officer and Chief Secretary’s letters amounted to an “attempt of unduly interfering in the election process and influence certain class of voters by conveying them to expedite voting or wait for a time extension. Commission condemns such behavior by the officers during election process”.

The EC sought the replies by 1 p.m. on Friday so it could take “further decision on initiating disciplinary proceedings.”

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 9:31:26 pm |