The Punjab Congress has urged the Election Commission to take stern steps to ensure stringent implementation of the Code of Conduct in Punjab, where the Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has unleashed a campaign of terror and corruption, resulting in total law and order breakdown in the state.Welcoming the imposition of the Code of Conduct, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) said the 'goonda raj’ perpetuated by the Badals and their associates over the past few months had brought the state to the brink of ruination in the run-up to the Assembly elections.People in the state were living under a constant shadow of fear, with the situation having escalated to critical levels in recent weeks, said PPCC leaders Ajit Inder Mofar, Ranjit K Bhatti and Manjit Singh Jhalbuti.Citing media reports, the PPCC leaders said incidents of violence by Akali supporters and workers were on the rise and stringent action by the Election Commission was needed to bring the situation under control to ensure free and fair polls.
The beating up of two daily wagers of the Forest Department, allegedly by senior SAD leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder’s supporters, followed by their police torture, was the latest in the line of incidents involving ruling party leaders and their workers in violent assaults on innocent people, said the PPCC leaders, demanding exemplary punishment for the guilty.The mafia rule of the corrupt Akali leaders, led by the Badals and their close associates like Bikram Singh Majithia, had plunged the state into complete criminal and financial anarchy, said PPCC leaders, adding that with the elections drawing closer their desperation to grab the last chunk of the pie had started showing even more starkly in recent weeks. They expressed the hope that the imposition of the Code of Conduct would have a deterrent effect on the armed gangs and goondas who had a free run of the state under the patronage of the ruling SAD-BJP combine.The PPCC leaders further pointed to reports of the excise and taxation department initiating the process of selling properties of SAD MLA from Faridkot, Deep Malhotra, and his associates for failing to deposit Rs. 30 crore in excise fee to run liquor vends. These reports, they said, endorsed the Congress charges that the ruling SAD was running the liquor mafia in the state, along with other mafias such as drugs, sand, transport, TV and more.