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Take steps to ensure free & fair elections, High Court tells SEC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the State Election Commission to take appropriate measures to ensure free and fair conduct of elections in Fazilka.

In all, 13 BJP candidates contesting the MC elections from different wards of Fazilka had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on February 8, stating that the election process was under threat and there was an imminent danger to their lives and liberty as they were contesting the municipal elections.

The petitioners apprehended that they could be attacked by the supporters of the ruling Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) during the ongoing farmers’ agitation which was evident from the fact that SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and state BJP president Ashwani Sharma were assaulted in Jalalabad and Jalandhar, respectively.

The candidates also made representations at various government levels on February 6, seeking adequate security arrangements on the polling day.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, while disposing of the petition on Tuesday (a copy of which is with The Tribune), stated that the Additional Advocate General (AAG), Punjab, on instructions received from Keshav Goyal, SDM-cum-Returning Officer, Fazilka, informed the court that the election authorities had already taken note of petitioners’ representations and declared certain polling booths as sensitive and hypersensitive. The AAG told the court that police authorities had also been approached by the Election Commission to ensure that law and order was maintained during the election process.

In light of the submissions, the court, while disposing of the petition, directed the State Election Commission to take appropriate measures on the strength of the petitioners’ representation made on February 6 to ensure that the election was held in a free and fair manner.

Former BJP minister Surjit Kumar Jyani held a press conference today and said it was the responsibility of the civil and police administrations to implement the directions of the court in letter and spirit. He alleged Congress and AAP workers, in the guise of farmers, had been harassing BJP candidates.On the other hand, Keshav Goyal said of the total 56 booths set up in Fazilka, 28 had been declared as hypersensitive and 28 sensitive.

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