Amid Punjab’s Request To Defer Polls, Election Commission To Hold A Meet

Chandigarh: Several political party leaders of Punjab have appealed to postpone the dates of Punjab Assembly Polls. As per the NDTV sources, a meeting with agenda of political leaders appeal will be held by the Election Commission today. Around January 17 afternoon, Election Commission is likely to announce its decision on this matter, people with direct knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be named.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi in a letter to the Election Commission suggested the assembly polls on February 14 should be deferred by at least six days factoring in Guru Ravidas Jayanti.

In the letter Charanjit Singh Channi has stated that representatives of the Scheduled Castes community, which comprises 32 per cent of Punjab’s population, have told him that a large number of people from the community would “visit Banaras in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 to 16” and so may not be able to vote. The visit comes amid the birth anniversary of Guru Ravidas which is on February 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,” Channi said in the letter on January 13. “They have requested that the voting date may be extended in such a way that they are able to visit Banaras from February 10 to February 16 as also participate in the assembly elections,” he said.

Apart from the ruling party, BJP in alliance with Punjab Lok Congress which is led by Amarinder Singh, has also appealed Election Commission to defer the February 14 election in Punjab. In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner on Sunday, Punjab BJP General Secretary Subhash Sharma said, “The state has substantial population of followers of Guru Ravidas ji, including the Scheduled Castes (SC) community which is about 32 per cent of the population of Punjab. On this pious occasion, millions of devotees would visit Banaras in Uttar Pradesh to celebrate the gurparb. So it would not be possible for them to participate in the voting process…”

Punjab will vote in a single phase on February 14; counting is on March 10.

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