Stop road work in Badal’s constituency : Poll panel

Chandigarh : The Election Commission (EC) Wednesday directed the administration of Punjab’s Muktsar district to stop immediately the work on a temporary road in the Lambi assembly constituency, from where Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is seeking re-election.

Special chief electoral officer Usha R. Sharma told media here that the concerned district authorities have been directed to get the work stopped immediately and send a report in this regard.

The poll panel agreed that the construction and paving of the temporary road was in violation of the model code of conduct.

The road was being hastily laid through agricultural fields by state government agencies to connect a Dalit settlement of the ‘Baazigar’ community in the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections Jan 30.

Badal is locked in a bitter triangular contest in this constituency, with his younger brother Gurdas Badal of the Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP) and cousin Mahesh Inder Singh Badal of the Congress challenging him.

Locals in the area said that truckloads of bricks have arrived in the last few days and workers had started laying them to pave the two-km stretch of the road. The road being laid is a temporary one.

They said this is not the only road on which work has started in recent days and was being carried out with lightning speed.

“Some kuchcha roads and brick-lined drains have come up in villages of Lambi constituency in recent days. The work is being completed on war-footing. The Akalis are trying to woo every single vote for (Parkash Singh) Badal,” one Lambi villager said.

Officials of the panchayat department, who are responsible for the recent construction in Lambi area, justify the work, saying that the activity had begun before the election code of conduct came into force last month.

The Muktsar district administration recently got the construction of some toilets in Lambi area stopped following complaints of code violation.

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