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moga bypoll
Crackdown on ‘outsiders’ ahead of polling today
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 22
The district administration has pushed out all ‘outsider’ political leaders from Moga district to ensure free and fair polling during the Assembly byelection tomorrow. Central forces and local police have intensified patrolling in the district.

In all, 1,79,752 voters, 84,796 of them females, are eligible to exercise their franchise.

Returning Officer Joram Beda said the district authorities had searched hotels, marriage palaces and guest houses for outsiders and taken undertakings from their owners/managers. “Sector officers have been asked to keep a vigil on the movement of politicians and their supporters so that they can’t lure voters using unfair means,” he said.

Electronic voting machines had been dispatched to all polling stations through presiding officers under tight security. IGP (Bathinda zone) Nirmal Singh Dhillon held meetings with Moga SSP Ashish Chaudhary and commanding officers of the paramilitary forces to review the security arrangements today.

He also held talks with District Magistrate-cum-District Electoral Officer Arshdeep Singh Thind for smooth conduct of polling. Teams of paramilitary forces and Punjab Police today held joint flag marches in Moga town and rural areas to create confidence among the electorate.

Ten companies of Central forces, four companies of the Punjab Armed Police and 1,700 police personnel had been deployed for the polling. At least 16 patrol teams had also been constituted. Further, nine checkpoints and eight static teams had been setup to prevent outsiders from entering the constituency. All vehicles entering the district are being checked.

Micro-observers at booths
The Election Commission, perhaps for the first time, has appointed micro-observers for each polling booth. They have been drawn from Central Government and Central public sector undertakings. Cameras have been installed in all booths, which will be manned by Central forces. Of the 188 booths, 69 have been declared hyper-sensitive and 90 sensitive.

Two-way tussle
It is a direct fight between Joginder Pal Jain of the SAD-BJP and Vijay Sathi of the Congress. PPP candidate Ravinder Dhaliwal is among the 10 candidates in the fray. The byelection was necessitated after Jain deserted the Congress to join the SAD. He is seeking a re-election from the seat.

"Sector officers have been asked to keep a vigil on the movement of politicians and their supporters so that they can’t lure voters using unfair means". — Joram Beda, Returning Officer





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