Channi urges EC to postpone Punjab polls by ‘at least 6 days’, cites this reason - Hindustan Times
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Channi urges EC to postpone Punjab polls by ‘at least 6 days’, cites this reason

Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jan 15, 2022 10:30 PM IST

The occasion, according to the Punjab chief minister, is “the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Ravidass Ji” on February 16, for which “a large number of SC devotees (about 20 lakh)” are likely to visit the temple town of Varanasi from February 10-16.

Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Thursday wrote to the chief election commissioner Sushil Chandra, requesting him to postpone the February 14 state assembly polls by at least six days because many people from the scheduled caste community, which contributes around 32 per cent of the total population of the state, are likely to visit Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi, he said, in view of a religious occasion.

Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi (File Photo)
Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi (File Photo)

The occasion, according to the Punjab chief minister, is “the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Ravidass Ji” on February 16, for which “a large number of SC devotees (about 20 lakh)” are likely to visit the temple town of Varanasi from February 10-16.

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“In such a situation, many people from this community would not be able to cast their votes for the state assembly, which is otherwise their constitutional right,” reads Channi's letter to the chief election commissioner. “They [the people of the community] have requested that the voting date may be extended in such a way that they are able to visit Banaras from 10th to 16th February 2022, as also participate in the assembly elections.”

Taking this into view, Punjab chief minister Channi requested the state election commissioner to make appropriate arrangements to postpone voting for the forthcoming assembly elections “by at least six days, enabling about 20 lakh people to utilise their right to vote for the state legislative assembly.”

The assembly polls in Punjab are scheduled to take place in a single phase on February 14. The votes will be counted on March 10.

In the 2017 Assembly polls, the Congress had won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government after 10 years.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged as the second-largest party with 20 seats, followed by the SAD which managed a victory on 15 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured three seats.

In September last year, the Punjab Congress was embroiled in a crisis that also saw former chief minister Amarinder Singh stepping down from his post. He has now formed his own party Punjab Lok Congress and is set to contest the elections from all 117 seats in alliance with the BJP.

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