A day after Badal`s outburst, poll body hits back

State election office hit back saying its officials were only performing their duty within the laid down EC guidelines.

Chandigarh: A day after being charged by the
government with creating confusion about administrative
control in poll-bound Punjab, the state election office today
hit back saying its officials were only performing their duty
within the laid down EC guidelines.

"I and my officials are only performing their job, which
is to ensure that elections in the state are held in a free
and fair manner," Punjab`s Chief Electoral Officer Kusumjit
Sidhu told reporters in reply to a question here.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had accused election
officials in Punjab of creating confusion about administrative
control through excessive interference in governance matters
in the name of enforcing the model code of conduct.
Badal had also asked them to act within parameters of the
Constitution in ensuring adherence to the Model Code of
Conduct, which came into effect on December 24, the day EC
announced January 30 as the day for Punjab assembly polls.

Regarding the practice of seeking a panel of officers
from the State Government to replace those who are shifted
during the election period for various reasons, Sidhu
clarified it was a mere courtesy which the EC exercises,
otherwise they can bypass this as well.
To a question, the CEO said that the existing security
cover which Chief Minister Badal, his daughter-in-law and MP,
Harsimrat Kaur Badal and SAD MLA Bikram Majithia have will
remain unaltered.

Meanwhile, the final publication of the photo electoral
roll across the state took place today, according to which the
projected population of the State is 2,79,81,217 and the total
electors are 1,74,33,767 as on January 1, 2012, which is an
increase of over 7 lakh voters since last state elections.

The gender ratio of the State as per last year`s census
is 893 whereas the roll shows a gender ratio of 897, Sidhu

The number of female voters in the State is 82,43,656.

The elector population ratio should be 676 but is 624
actually, which means that 14,73,053 persons who are eligible
to enroll have not done so as yet.

While 92.21 per cent of the eligible population stands
registered as voters, district Nawan Shahr has done the best
work in enrolment having covered 99 per cent of the eligible

Out of 1,74,33,767 voters, 1,73,75,216 voters have their
photographs in the roll.

Forty seven NRI voters have also registered

Meanwhile, Sidhu also said that static surveillance
teams had earlier seized unaccounted money amounting to Rs 12
crore, out of which Rs 5.50 crores has been returned after the
detailed verification.

She also said that to ensure peaceful elections in the
state, 1,13,753 arms have been deposited by the people and 16
unlicensed arms and 58 cartridges have been seized.

The CEO further said that 6892 non bailable warrants
have been executed and 47 FIRs have also been registered till

Referring to the guidelines of the EC to appoint micro
observers in the distilleries in Punjab, Sidhu said they have
been appointed and added that the state distilleries were
under constant scan and even the routine movements were being