TWO DAYS after AAP MLA and deputy Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha Sarvjit Kaur Manuke was booked by Ludhiana rural police for allegedly obstructing traffic on highway and flouting Covid rules, party leaders led by Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema protested outside the office of the Jagraon SSP Saturday.
Police had booked Manuke, her husband Sukhwinder Singh and 30-40 other AAP workers for allegedly staging a protest on the national highway, blocking traffic and causing hindrance for common public, and flouting Covid rules.
Police said that the MLA, her husband and other supporters protested and blocked the national highway on Wednesday after the results of Punjab local body polls were announced.
The FIR states: “Manuke and her supporters, not accepting their defeat in the polls, started protesting and blocked national highway 95 near Pehelwan Dhaba. The protesters also blocked traffic on both sides of the bridge, disrupted movement of the commuters, which also affected health services of the common people and kept the highway blocked for three hours. Then they also protested in the main bazaar of Jagraon and flouted Covid-19 guidelines and rules issued by DC under section 144 of CrPC…”
AAP leaders said the ruling Congress “had used every possible means to loot the local body elections by undermining the values of democracy”.
Cheema alleged that in the Jagraon council elections, when Manuke saw that the electoral process was being compromised, she opposed it. They said that it was surprising that the dates of EVMs did not match.
“In some machines, Congress candidates were declared the winners and the seals of some machines were also tampered with. When a recount was demanded in this regard, the SDM, who was the returning officer on the spot, did not consider it appropriate to conduct a recount under the pressure of the Congress government,” claimed Cheema.
They said that Manuke was forced to block the highway with the party volunteers and demanded from the administration to recount the votes.
AAP leaders said that instead of the administration recounting the votes, police registered a case against MLA Manuke and her supporters.
Calling it a “murder of democracy”, Cheema said that the democratically elected Punjab government led by Captain Amarinder Singh “was becoming dictatorial like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in the Centre”. They said that in the local bodies’ elections, the “Congress goons carried out violent incidents at many places but no action was taken against them”.
The leaders further said that at around 200 places in Punjab, vandalism and booth capturing was done, but re-elections were conducted at only five booths. When AAP leaders and volunteers protested against the hooliganism, on the contrary, a case was registered against them.
AAP leaders said that the ruling Congress, to loot the elections, prevented the candidates from filing nomination papers, ranging from incidents of abduction to capturing booths by hooliganism. “The Congress used every possible means to win the elections and destroy democracy. Such incidents were brought to the notice of the State Election Commission and other concerned officials by the AAP but no action was taken,” they added.
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