The following is a news report in the Tribune Chandigarh.
Bathinda, December 25
Apprehending the distribution of intoxicants (drugs and liquor) by the contesting candidates or their supporters among the people during the Assembly elections in Punjab, a senior Supreme Court advocate, HS Phoolka launched a campaign under the banner of ‘Intoxicants-free Punjab’ here today. The intoxicants are reportedly distributed in the elections to lure the voters for securing their votes.
Phoolka, who is convener of the campaign, said due to a similar campaign by his team in the SGPC elections, the distribution of intoxicants had been controlled in a big way.
The Supreme Court lawyer said there were apprehensions that in the current Assembly elections, the intoxicants would be distributed in a big way by the contestants to ensure their victory.
Phoolka said they had formed a group to check the distribution of drugs in the Punjab Assembly elections. In this group, besides him, Justice Rajinder Sachar, Justice Kuldip Singh and noted journalist Kuldip Nayyar were the other members. He said Kuldip Nayyar would meet the Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi tomorrow to discuss the issue while he would meet the Chief Electoral Officer Kusumjit Sidhu in Chandigarh tomorrow in this regard.
Phoolka also announced that they would form district-level monitoring committees for the purpose. He said Dr GS Nagpal and advocate Jatinder Khattar would be members of the committee in Bathinda. He said in Chandigarh, advocate Navkiran Singh would work for the success of the campaign.
Phoolka said that after receiving a complaint about the distribution of intoxicants, his team would take up the matter with the Election Commission. If the complaint was found to be true, then the winning candidate might be disqualified after election or the candidature of the candidate could be cancelled during the election, he added.
He also appreciated the role of the media during the SGPC elections in checking the distribution of intoxicants. He said they would now meet the state presidents of the SAD, the BJP and the Congress to make a request to issue directions to their respective candidates on not distributing intoxicants among the voters. He said they would even conduct ‘sting operations’ for checking the distribution of intoxicants. He also said there were several code names for different intoxicants, like dry fruit for ‘poppy husk’.
Phoolka said his team would maintain a close contact with the Election Commission for checking the use of intoxicants during the elections.
The Supreme Court lawyer also said that they would issue phone numbers and addresses for making the complaints so that it could be brought to the notice of the Election Commission for the required action.