Chandigarh: July 25 : Punjab Congress President and Leader of the Opposition Smt. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal stated here today that the unprecedented violence witnessed in the aftermath of Panchayat elections for election of Sarpanches is a bad signal for the grass-root level democratic institutions of Panchayati Raj System.
Recent remarks of the High Court directing the State to not to arrest any Panch till the election of Sarpanches has vindicated the apprehension of the Congress Party that State machinery is being misused to pressurize the newly elected Panches for electing nominees of Ruling Party by implicating them in false cases and arresting them to prevent them from taking part in the election process.
Mrs. Bhattal said that even during the elections of Panches the SAD-BJP workers had resorted to booth-capturing and vandalism and all illegitimate and foul methods were used to grab these institutions. The basic tenets of the democracy are being subverted with the help of Police and administrative machinery for their narrow political ends.
Mrs. Bhattal further asserted that the Congress Party had opposed the indirect elections of Sarpanches in the very beginning on the plea that it was contrary to the spirit of 73rd Constitutional Amendment and would fan out factionalism in the villages and give rise to violence. Recent reports in the Press and media also suggest that the apprehensions were not wrong and the rampant violence in most of the villages has disturbed the peace and tranquility of the village life.
In a Press Release issued from the Punjab Congress Headquarters Mrs. Bhattal warned the Police as well as Administrative officers to remain neutral and act according to the law of the land without prejudice for any particular person or the Party otherwise they will attract legal and administrative action against them.