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Punjab elections to be postponed? EC decision likely today on parties’ demand

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had urged the EC to defer the polls by six days in view of the Jayanti. Similar requests have been made by other parties.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had urged the EC to defer the polls by six days in view of the Jayanti. Similar requests have been made by other parties.

A meeting of the Election Commision is currently underway to discuss demands by various political parties to defer the February 14 assembly polls in Punjab in view of Guru Ravidas Jayanti.

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had urged the EC to defer the polls by six days in view of the Jayanti. Similar requests have been made by other parties, including the BJP, its allies Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) and SAD (Sanyukt), and Bahujan Samaj Party to postpone the single-phase poll.

Lakhs of devotees visit Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to celebrate the day and parties feel that they would not be able to cast their votes due to this. The Jayanti is on February 16.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner on Sunday seeking postponement of the election, Punjab BJP general secretary Subhash Sharma said, “The state has substantial population of followers of Guru Ravidas ji, including the Scheduled Caste (SC) community which is about 32 per cent of the population of Punjab.”

“On this pious occasion, millions of the 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. It is therefore requested to your goodself that the date of voting may be postponed so that these voters of Punjab could participate in the election process,” he wrote.

Former chief minister Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress also supported the demand for postponing the election by a week.

“Tens of thousands of people from Punjab visit Banaras every year around Guru Ravidas Jayanti, said PLC general secretary Kamal Saini in a letter to the poll panel.

“Since elections are scheduled two days before Guru Ravidas Jayanti, many voters may be denied the chance to exercise the franchise as they will be away to Banaras for the annual pilgrimage, Saini wrote.

The PLC leader said it should not be difficult for the poll panel to reschedule the date for Punjab, as everything else will remain the same.

Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) chief Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, in a letter to the poll panel, also sought that the date of voting be postponed.

Voting for Punjab’s 117 assembly seats is scheduled for February 14 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10. 

(With PTI inputs)

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