Chandigarh: Congress has requested the Election Commission to hold bypoll to the Talwandi Sabo Assembly constituency in Bathinda district on April 30, the date of Lok Sabha elections in the state.
The state Congress unit, in its complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner on Saturday, alleged that the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance had "wilfully concealed" the vacancy in the seat due to the resignation of the sitting MLA.
"The Talwandi Sabo Assembly seat has fallen vacant due to the resignation of Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu. Congress MLA Sidhu has tendered his resignation to the Assembly Speaker on March 7, when the House was in session. The Speaker accepted the resignation and made a formal announcement on the same day," Punjab Congress said in its complaint to the CEC.
According to the complaint, Sidhu, at a press conference called recently by Deputy Chief Minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, announced his decision to quit Congress in order to join SAD.
The Congress claimed that the Speaker has failed to issue a formal gazette notification declaring the seat vacant and inform the EC and the Punjab Chief Electoral Officer.
The Congress alleged that the SAD-BJP government would prefer a separate by-election for the Talwandi Sabo seat "so that the government can misuse its official machinery and exercise undue influence upon the voters".
The Congress leadership demanded that since the notification for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state was to be issued on April 2, the notification for the by-election also be issued on the same date.