Chandigarh: The Election Commission has announced that the Punjab Polls have been postponed from February 14 to February 20. This change in the schedule comes amid the political parties that have requested the Election Commission to change the date of polls amid the Guru Ravidas Jayanti celebrations.
Several political party leaders of Punjab have appealed to postpone the dates of Punjab Assembly Polls. 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 percent 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 can 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 a substantial population of followers of Guru Ravidas Ji, including the Scheduled Castes (SC) community which is about 32 percent 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..."