Chandigarh: The Election Commission on Sunday restrained actor and philanthropist Sonu Sood from visiting polling stations in his hometown Moga in Punjab over complaints that he was influencing voters.
For the past several days, he was going from house to house in scores of villages with folded hands and a smile on his lips to drum up support for his sister Malvika Sood Sachar, who is contesting the Punjab Assembly polls.
Officials told IANS that Sonu Sood’s car was impounded after a complaint from a supporter of Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Barjinder Singh, alias Makhan Brar.
Sonu Sood was asked to stay inside his house. “A flying squad team has been deputed outside Sood’s house,” returning officer Satwant Singh told the media.
However, the actor denied the allegations.
“I’m a local resident. I have not asked anyone to vote for any particular candidate or party. I was just visiting our booths set up outside polling stations,” he said.
His sister Malvika joined the Congress just a week ahead of the pronouncement of the polls for 117 Assembly seats.
She has replaced sitting Congress legislator Harjot Kamal, who joined the BJP and is again in the fray to retain the seat that has been the Congress stronghold since 2007.
SAD leader and former minister Tota Singh, who was convicted in 2012 in a case of corruption and sentenced to a year of imprisonment, represented this seat for two successive terms — 1997 and 2002.
Malvika, 39, married and running her parental family business in Moga, had told IANS that she has taken the political plunge to dedicate herself to serve the society like her brother.
Sonu Sood’s childhood friends in his hometown, some 175 km from the state capital Chandigarh, described him as the messiah of tens of thousands of desperate migrants amidst pandemic and supporting school educations of scores of underprivileged, while his family believes his philanthropy spirit comes from his ancestry.
Born to a business family, the siblings’ father was in the cloth business and mother was an English lecturer in town’s oldest D.M. College of Education. Their eldest sister is settled in the US.