A delegation of Shiromani Akali dal(SAD) today met the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Punjab Mr. V. K. Singh resenting the delay in granting the permission to hold the conference at Sri Anandpur Sahib on March 16 to mark the occasion of Hola Mahalla and demanded immediate permission. Reiterating that conference at Sri Anandpur Sahib is an annual affair, the party questioned that why the Election Commission has kept this matter pending for such a long time?
In a detailed memorandum submitted to CEO, Prof. Prem Singh Chandumajra, Genearal Secretary and Dr. Daljeet Singh Cheema, Secretary and party spokesman brought to the notice of election commission that the Shiromani Akali Dal has taken the ground on rent from the SGPC after paying the agreed amount against a proper receipt. The party also brought it to the notice of the CEO that all the expenditure for holding the conference including the pandal, sound system, banners etc have been done by the party and not by the SGPC as falsely reported by some newspapers. The delegation also apprised the CEO that this ground is being used by SGPC for parking purpose only and no regular religious activity takes place in this ground. It is separated from the religious complex which is situated far away at the height of more than 200 feet above the hill-top. All the sides of the ground have been rented out to hundreds of shopkeepers for carrying out commercial activities. Even in the past many government functions, exhibitions and big medical camps have been arranged in this ground.
Describing the conferences at Sri Anandpur Sahib during Hola Mahalla an annual affair, party delegation said that the “Hola Mohalla” festival is a socio-religious occasion and it is a historical fact that Shiromani Akali Dal is holding such conferences on this occasion since decades. They said that even many other parties of the State also did such conferences there. Quoting the misleading complaint of congress MP, Mr Ravneet Singh Bittu, delegation said that Mr. Bittu himself was reluctant to hold his own party’s conference due to their factional fights. A major part of the congress party of district Ropar has already declared a boycott of the congress conference. So, to escape from humiliation, the congress party has filed this bogus complaint with distorted facts. Now, when they have cancelled their rally even before the judgment of the commission, it speaks volumes about their preparedness and their incompetency to hold their rally.
Questioning the delay in permission to hold conference, party brought in the notice of Chief Election Commissioner that the Election Commission has kept this matter pending for such a long time knowing well that socio-religious fields have never been the domain of Model Code of Conduct. “Inspite of all this, we have time and again assured the Election Commission that Shiromani Akali Dal will uphold its responsibility of honouring the Model Code of Conduct”, they added.
Party leaders said that they have requested Chief Election Commissioner Punjab that necessary permission for holding this conference should be given immediately.