ECI cancels parole of gangster Bhana after Congress and BJP’s complaint

| | Chandigarh
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ECI cancels parole of gangster Bhana after Congress and BJP’s complaint

Tuesday, 09 July 2024 | PNS | Chandigarh

After both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) submitted a complaint to the poll panel raising serious concerns about notorious gangster Daljit Singh Bhana’s activities and potential influence on the July 10 bypolls in Jalandhar West assembly constituency, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday took a significant step by canceling his parole until the election process is complete.


The BJP had lodged a formal complaint with the ECI, alleging that Bhana, who is convicted of multiple murders, was actively campaigning for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and intimidating voters. Echoing similar concerns, the Congress highlighted the potential for poll code violations and the threat posed by Bhana’s presence in the constituency.


Punjab Chief Electoral Officer Sibin C promptly informed Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner about the ECI's directive, ensuring swift action to mitigate any disruption to the election process. Bhana, previously incarcerated for several murder charges, had been released on parole and was seen campaigning for AAP, sparking widespread panic and allegations of electoral misconduct.


The Election Commission has directed that in order to carry out the smooth election process and in view of the complaints received, the parole of Daljit Singh Bhana should be canceled till the completion of the Jalandhar West by-election process.


The BJP’s complaint emphasized the threat Bhana posed, accusing him of intimidating voters and causing fear in the community. They argued that his release on parole, particularly during the election period, was a blatant violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). The BJP feared that Bhana’s activities could lead to booth capturing on the day of voting, further compromising the election's integrity.


Former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had also raised the issue, questioning the motives behind Bhana's parole. Channi suggested that the State Government might have ulterior motives, potentially using Bhana to intimidate or eliminate political opponents. He pointed out that Bhana’s release and subsequent movements around the constituency had caused significant distress among Congress workers and the general public.


Channi had highlighted that Bhana, an ‘A’ grade gangster, had committed additional murders while on bail and was currently serving a life sentence. His unexpected release on parole during such a critical election period not only violated the poll code but also raised serious questions about the State Government's intentions. Channi released pictures of Bhana with police officers, suggesting that the gangster had been given undue protection and freedom to operate.


The cancellation of Bhana's parole is seen as a necessary measure to ensure a fair and transparent election process. Both the BJP and the Congress have welcomed the ECI’s decision, hoping it will restore confidence among voters and prevent any undue influence on the election outcome.


The Jalandhar West by-election has become a battleground for the AAP, BJP, and Congress, with each party trying to leverage any perceived advantage.

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