AAP and Congress leaders today separately met the visiting team of Election Commission here and expressed apprehension about misuse of state machinery in Punjab Assembly polls, with Congress seeking immediate imposition of model code to ensure a free and fair election.
A delegation of the state unit of Congress, led by vice president Amar Singh, met the nine-member EC team, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, which arrived here today on a three-day visit to review election preparations.
They urged EC to immediately impose the Code of Conduct in Punjab to ensure a free and fair election, citing “total politicisation of the state’s administrative and law and order machinery”.
Conveying their “apprehensions” to the EC, the Congress leaders called for immediate imposition of the Code of Conduct to bring the “deteriorating” political situation in the state under some control.
The model code of conduct comes into force immediately with the announcement of election.
The delegation also asked the EC to take measures to ensure there is no “misuse” of the state machinery by the Akali leadership.
They also demanded an independent third-party review and scrutiny of the voter lists, which had been prepared and revised by Anganwadi workers and were “replete with bogus voter names”.
The Congress leaders also highlighted to the EC the issue of “politicisation of the media”.
Meanwhile, a delegation of AAP led by its legal cell head Himmat Singh Shergill met the EC team, alleging rampant use of money and muscle power during elections.
“It is a track record in Punjab elections that there is a rampant use of money and muscle power to win elections. And the government machinery is also misused for the distribution of cash to voters near elections,” Shergill alleged.
“We have urged the Commission to deploy paramilitary forces in strength before elections in the state in order to stop this illegal practice for ensuring free and fair polls,” he said.
AAP, which is eyeing to wrest power from SAD-BJP regime, urged the EC not to allot an election symbol to any party which is similar to its own symbol — ‘broom’.
“We have sought that any symbol which looks similar to our symbol ‘broom’ like a torch and others should not be issued to any party,” he said.
The EC team will tomorrow have a meeting with Deputy Commissioners, SSPs, nodal officers of narcotic control bureau, state narcotic control bureau, income tax and excise and taxation department.
On the last day of its visit on October 25, the team will meet Chief Secretary, Director General of Police Punjab and other senior officials and is expected to hold media interaction later that day.
AAP is making its electoral debut in Punjab making the polls a triangular contest with Congress and BJP-SAD alliance already locked in a tight battle for political supremacy.