No objection to deployment of paramilitary forces for Shahkot bypoll: CM

Chandigarh, May 12: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Saturday he had no objection to the opposition’s demand of deploying paramilitary forces for the Shahkot bypoll.

He said the presence of security personnel would thwart the Akalis’ attempts to take refuge in the “frivolous and fabricated” excuse of “misuse of official machinery” once they lose the bypoll ignominiously.

The chief minister’s reaction comes a day after the Akalis approached the Election Commission with a request to deploy paramilitary forces for a fair and peaceful by-poll.

Singh said it was ironical that the Akalis, who had “abused” all the democratic systems during their own regime, were now running to the poll panel to seek deployment of forces to ensure peaceful polls.

The senior Congress leader also accused SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal of “brazenly” backing SHO Parminder Singh Bajwa, who was found by the poll panel to be unfit for duty.

He said Badal was part of the Akali campaign to “malign” the Congress-led state government ahead of the bypoll.

Mehatpur SHO Parminder Singh Bajwa, who had booked the Congress’s Shahkot assembly bypoll candidate in an illegal sand mining case recently, was arrested by the Jalandhar police on Saturday for allegedly assaulting and obstructing an on-duty government official.

The Congress nominee for the by-election, Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia, among others, was booked for alleged illegal sand mining in different villages of Jalandhar district.

The Election Commission had on Saturday replaced Bajwa with Hardip Singh following complaints of being biased.

The by-poll to Shahkot Assembly will be held on May 28. The seat fell vacant following the death of SAD MLA Ajit Singh Kohar.

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