Jassi Khangura, Congress MLA from Qila Raipur, today made a statement in response to a report that some NRIs were seeking to enter India via Nepal to campaign during elections. Some NRIs are reportedly planning on taking this route having been declared Proclaimed Offenders under the Badal regime.
Khangura called on NRIs to campaign for the defeat of the SAD in Punjab’s coming elections, but not in contravention of the law. He said that NRIs can do this by campaigning from foreign shores, in their countries of residence, if they are unable to be in India at polling time.
Khangura said “I call on all affected NRIs not to break the law, but instead to campaign from foreign shores for the defeat of the SAD in the coming elections.” He continued “Because of the enormous numbers of false claims against NRIs in recent years resulting in thousands being declared Proclaimed Offenders, many NRIs are deeply upset that this will hinder their being in India at election time.” He went on “I say to those NRIs that they can still play an enormously valuable role from their country of residence.”
Regretting the fact that his questions on the subject of Proclaimed Offenders had not been allowed in the Vidhan Sabha in previous sessions, Khangura said the true scale of the Proclaimed Offender issues was not known but estimated to be enormous – which is why the SAD government would not admit the numbers. Khangura said “My research tells me that from approximately 6000 POs at the start of this term there are now nearly 18,000”.
Khangura cited the fact that, on 6th Jan 2008 NRI Samellan, the SAD Government had promised to publish a list of all Proclaimed Offenders on internet within 30 days.
Referring to the upcoming elections, the Qila Raipur MLA said “I completely understand the passion of NRIs to come and campaign here in India, to ensure the Badal Government is denied a return to power. But I would not want anyone to break the law to do so.” He said “there are many ways NRIs can be really effective from their home countries. I would encourage them to do this and not take any risks if they are believe they have been declared a Proclaimed Offender.”