On Sunday, District Electoral Officer (DEO) and Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma wrote a letter to the Punjab government recommending early retirement to government employees who have requested exemption from electoral duties citing medical conditions and the illness of their parents and parents-in-law.
The DEO, in a biting video message, said the department had received more than 1,000 such requests in which employees requested an exemption citing seemingly insincere excuses, including previously undisclosed medical conditions. He added that several female employees had also requested an exemption citing the added responsibilities of having to care for their aging in-laws.
Sharma said: “We are really considerate and concerned about these employees. I therefore sent a letter to the government stating that a medical commission should be set up after the polls to analyze and assess the state of health of these employees, so that they can be relieved of duty and take care of their health.
“Furthermore, I commend the spirit of women who have applied for exemption from the right to vote to care for their in-laws. relieved of services so they can care for their aging in-laws,” he added, lashing out at the employees.
Notably, HT had reported earlier on Wednesday about the difficulties faced by the local government ahead of the state assembly elections with government employees, especially teachers, inundating them with requests for exemption from the right to vote. .
The report highlighted several non-substantial reasons – ranging from motion sickness to sick in-laws – cited by employees seeking to step down from their electoral duties.
A senior administrative official, requesting anonymity, said: “Pregnant employees and those with genuinely chronic illnesses were already exempt from election rights, but employees who make flimsy apologies deserve to face tough action.”
The DEO also announced on Sunday the establishment of two polling units in Payal, Sahnewal and Ludhiana (South) as the number of candidates in the constituencies had exceeded 16.
He also indicated that 814 voting units have already been handed over to returning officers, before adding that security measures will also be reinforced in the coming days.