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Punjab bypolls: Playing in Dakha, SAD-Congress verbal duel over local SHO

Indian Express 2019-10-08 04:51:53
LIP, a constituent of Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA), has feilded Sukhdev Singh Chak from Dakha. However, Baldev Singh, a BSP leader, too is contesting as an Independent candidate with ‘sewing machine’ symbol. The local BSP unit too is supporting him. BSP too is a PDA constituent. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The bypoll to Dakha Assembly seat in Ludhiana has taken a queer turn with the Shiromani Akali Dal demanding the removal of a local station house officer after terming him a Congress agent while the ruling party is saying that the Opposition party has already accepted defeat and was now looking for excuses.

“Akalis have realized that they are no more in race and are reconciled to their fate of coming distant third from Dakha like they did in the Lok Sabha polls. Now they are blaming police officials in advance to find an excuse for the defeat staring them in face,” Congress candidate Capt Sandeep Sandhu Monday said.

Claiming that people have not forgotten the sacrilege of Sri Guru Granth Sahib nor the deaths of youths due to drugs for which Akalis are responsible, Sandhu said, “I wonder with what face they are coming to ask for votes in Dakha”.

“If you have started targeting SHO level officials, it means you have already realized that you are going to lose this political battle,” he said in apparent reference to former minister and SAD leader Bikramjit Singh Majithia calling the local Mullanpur Dakha SHO Inspector Prem Singh a Congress agent.

Majithia while campaigning for party candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali on Sunday had demanded that the SHO be removed for free and fair bypoll in Dakha. Majithia alleged that entire government machinery, including police, is working in the favor Sandhu, a former political adviser to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. He had further said that if free and fair polls were held, the Congress candidates will lose their security deposits in all the four seats.

Meanwhile, refuting the allegations against him, Inspector Prem Singh said, “I am not associated with any political party. My name is being dragged into the political fight for no reason. In 2012, when SAD won from Dakha, then also I was posted here. Then I was a good officer and now I am a bad one?”

On Monday, a SAD delegation that met CEO Karuna Raju once again demanded the immediate transfer the SHO alleging that he was appointed by the Congress to threaten the ruling party’s political rivals.

It claimed that the SHO, who was earlier posted in Dehlon, was closely associated with the Congress.

The SAD alleged that Singh had also threatened Congress rivals as SHO Dehlon during local body elections.

A total of 11 candidates are in fray from Dakha, a rural seat in Ludhiana where bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of then AAP MLA and senior advocate Harvinder Singh Phoolka.

Aam Admi Party has named Amandeep Singh Mohi, a dairy farmer, while the Lok Insaf Party, a constituent of Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA), has fielded Sukhdev Singh Chak who was earlier with the SAD.

Meanwhile, fissures have appeared in the PDA, which was formed during Lok Sabha polls 2019, as the local unit of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has refused to support the LIP candidate. BSP leader Baldev Singh is contesting as an Independent candidate with ‘sewing machine’ symbol. The local BSP unit too is supporting him.

The Congress has not won from Dakha in the past two state elections. In 2012 state polls, SAD won the seat. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the segment was won by AAP even as the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat went in Congress kitty. In 2017 state polls, the seat was won by AAP. In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, LIP had secured the highest numbers from this assembly segment.