Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had written a letter to the Election Commission urging him to extend the date of the assembly elections to be held on February 14 due to Guru Ravidas Jayanti being on February 16. Now the date of election has been fixed as February 20.
Jalandhar Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had written a letter to the Election Commission to postpone the date of the assembly elections going to be held on February 14, after which the commission has now fixed the date of the election as February 20.
The Chief Minister had requested to postpone the assembly elections, which were to be held on February 14, due to Guru Ravidas Jayanti being on February 16. The Election Commission held a meeting on Monday morning to discuss the matter, after which elections will now be held in Punjab along with the third phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh.
Channi had made this request to the Election Commission keeping in mind the interests of the Dalit population of Punjab, who visit his birthplace Seer Govardhanpur every year on Ravidas Jayanti.
Punjab has the largest number of Dalits in the country, which is about 38 percent of the total population of the state.
In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, Channi mentioned that a large number (about 20 lakh) of scheduled caste devotees from Punjab may travel to Banaras between February 10 and 16 on the occasion.
The Chief Minister said in the letter that in such a situation many people from the community would not be able to exercise their franchise, which is their constitutional right.
“The community (Scheduled Castes) has requested that the date of polling be extended in such a way that they can also visit Banaras between February 10 and 16 and participate in the assembly elections,” he said.
Channi said, “It is considered appropriate that the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections should be postponed by at least six days so that about 20 lakh people can exercise their right to vote for the assembly.”
Earlier, Shri Guru Ravidas Janmasthan Public Charitable Trust, run by Dera Sachkhand in Ballan village of Jalandhar, had written to the Election Commission requesting postponement of the election date.
Dera chief Sant Niranjan Das had also held a meeting in this regard and demanded that elections should be held either before February 10 or after February 20.
He had also asked the devotees to request the Election Commission and refrain from protesting against any political party in the state over the matter.
Trust’s general secretary Sat Paul Virdi said, ‘Exercising the right to vote is a constitutional right of every citizen. If elections were held on February 14 on the scheduled time, then a large number of people would be deprived of this right which is against the spirit of the Constitution. We request the Election Commission to postpone the elections in Punjab after February 18 and hold them before February 13.
Every year on the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Ravidas, a large number of devotees attend the program of Seer Govardhanpur in Varanasi. It is organized by the head of Dora Sachkhand under the aegis of Sant Niranjan Das, who is also the chairman of Guru Ravidas Janmasthan Public Charitable Trust in Varanasi.
Balwant Singh, a local resident of Jalandhar said, “Dalits have raised a legitimate demand and the Election Commission should address these concerns.” If the election date is changed in time, then the devotees will be able to go to Banaras and also exercise their franchise.
DC Bhatia, a local resident of Jalandhar and a member of Shri Guru Ravidas Janmasthan Public Charitable Trust, said, “The devotees will start leaving for Benares from February 8 for Guru Ravidas Jayanti. The Begumpura Express, a direct train taking the devotees from Jammu to Varanasi, is already booked. This train will leave on 13 February and return on 18 February 2022. If there is no change in the election date, it will directly affect the voting and the election results of all political parties.
Bhatia said that according to estimates, about 2.5 lakh people will go to Benares from Doaba region alone.
Earlier, famous Punjabi singer and BJP MP from North West Delhi Hansraj Hans had also written a letter in this regard to the Election Commission. BSP Punjab chief Jasvir Singh Garhi had also demanded a change in the election date.
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