Chandigarh: Actor and BJP candidate from Gurdaspur Sunny Deol Friday moved the Punjab and Haryana high court here “fearing misuse of official machinery” by the ruling Congress and sought adequate measures, including deployment of additional paramilitary forces, to ensure free and fair polling.
Deol also demanded that the Gurdaspur constituency be declared “super sensitive”, claiming it was prone to violence. He cited the incidents of poll-related violence in the border constituency during panchayat polls which were conducted across the state in December 2018.
“We moved the court because we feared the official machinery could be misused in the elections by the Congress,” advocate Pankaj Jain, the counsel for Deol, told reporters. He said after they filed the petition before a division bench of justices Daya Chaudhary and Sudhir Mittal, the court sought to know from the Election Commission about the measures being taken to ensure free and fair polls in Gurdaspur.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted before the court that the “Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat is a prestigious constituency as not only the petitioner is a popular figure, he is contesting the election against a candidate, who is a state president of the Congress”.
The counsel representing the Election Commission informed the court that 24 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) would be deployed at 866 polling booths in the parliamentary constituency.
As many as 111 polling booths have been categorised as “critical” and 467 as “vulnerable”, the court was informed about the measures taken by the EC. At 1014 booths, Micro Observes have been appointed and 1034 booths will be covered by webcasting. Besides, three General Observers have been appointed, the court was informed.
In many booths, multiple security measures, including adequate deployment of state police force, have also been undertaken, the EC counsel further informed the court. In view of the action taken, no further direction is required to be issued in this petition and the present petition is disposed of accordingly,” the bench said in its order.
Punjab’s Additional Chief Electoral Officer Sibin C told reporters that “the court was satisfied with the measures being taken by the Election Commission for Gurdaspur constituency”. Deol is pitted against Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar, who is the sitting MP from Gurdaspur. Campaigning for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, including Gurdaspur, ended Friday evening. The polling will be held on Sunday.