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New FIR against Channi accuses Punjab CM of campaigning after electioneering ended in state

This is the second FIR lodged against the Punjab CM in the past 48 hours. Earlier, on Thursday, an FIR had been filed against Channi for controversial comments made at a roadshow.

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New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi was booked Saturday for violating the model code of conduct, a day before the state votes for the assembly on 20 February. The FIR accuses Channi of campaigning in someone else’s constituency after 6 pm Friday. Friday was the last day of campaigning in the state and Election Commission (EC) regulations prohibit campaigning after 6pm that day.

This is the second FIR lodged against the Punjab CM in the past 48 hours. Earlier, on Thursday, an FIR had been filed against Channi for controversial comments made at a roadshow.

In addition to Channi, Saturday’s FIR also mentions Congress party candidate from the state’s Mansa constituency, Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu Moosewala, who was accused of gathering over 400 people for a door-to-door campaign, which is more than the limit set by the EC for the purpose.

The trouble started when Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Mansa, Vijay Singla, went live on Facebook Friday, claiming Channi and Moosewala were allegedly campaigning in the area till 6:30 pm. He also lodged an FIR (under Section 188 of the IPC), accusing the two Congress leaders of violating the EC’s model code of conduct. He then submitted a formal complaint to Punjab election observer C.K. Yadav.

A flying squad was then sent to the location, which verified the claims.

The Congress has, however, made light of the allegations. Speaking to ThePrint, Congress spokesperson Aadil Singh Boparai claimed AAP was facing imminent defeat in the Punjab elections, and therefore resorting to such tactics misusing the legal process.

“The Congress party follows all election guidelines. So the AAP should refrain from lodging false complaints,” Boparai said.


Also read: The ‘Bhaiye’ whom CM Channi doesn’t want in Punjab are the ones driving state’s economy


Controversy over ‘UP/Bihar’ comment

Earlier, the Punjab CM had courted trouble Wednesday when, while addressing a roadshow, he said, “Do not let UP and Bihar ke bhaiya enter Punjab”. Many of the state’s migrant workers are from these states.

The comment led to a controversy, with the Punjab unit of the BJP youth wing (BJP Yuva Morcha) filing an FIR against the CM at the state’s Kadam Kuan Police Station.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hit out at Channi, saying the Congress always pits people of one region against another. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had also condemned the statement.

The Punjab CM issued a statement Friday claiming his comments had been misconstrued, and that he only had love for all migrant workers who come to Punjab.

“I was talking about people who come from outside and create disruptions here. Punjab is as much of the people of UP-Bihar, Rajasthan and elsewhere, who come here and work, as much as it is ours. So, it is not right to present it in any other manner,” said Channi.

Recoveries made during model code of conduct

Meanwhile, addressing the media Saturday, Punjab Chief Electoral Officer Dr S. Karuna Raju said that since the model code of conduct came into effect in the state, various enforcement teams had seized valuables worth Rs 500.70 crores, while the Punjab Excise Surveillance Teams had seized 58.18 lakh litres of liquor, worth Rs 35.43 crore.

Similarly, the enforcement wings had recovered psychotropic substances amounting to Rs 368.60 crores.

Raju also said that a total of 16,637 complaints had been registered on the cVigil app (an app which provides proof of poll code violations) of which 12,194 were resolved in less than 100 minutes.

“Our teams have handled these complaints in an average handling time of 45 minutes and 60 seconds and accuracy rates in 94 per cent,” he said.

Punjab votes in a single phase on 20 February, while results will be announced on 10 March.


Also read: ‘Few jobs, bad pay, so why should we stay’? Behind Punjab youngsters’ rush for IELTS, migration


 

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