Answering media queries regarding indefinite fast being observed by Kurukshetra resident Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa at Ambala for the release of Sikh prisoners, Badal said he is writing to the Home Minister in this regard.

He urged the Centre to consider the issue of jailed Sikhs on "compassionate grounds" and free them under rehabilitation policies introduced in some other states to bring them into mainstream.

Several political prisoners, who were put behind bars during the days of militancy in the state, continue to remain behind bars even after completion of their life sentences. Some inmates have lost their mental balance due to which they have been unable to submit applications seeking their release, an official spokesman said.

The jail authorities have taken this stand to justify why the convicts are still in jail even though they have completed their sentences, he said.

There are 94 such convicts in Punjab, 76 in Haryana and seven in Chandigarh. Many of these convicts are languishing in jails for over two decades, some even for over 24 years.

The reason in some cases is that the states are yet to decide on the fate of applications of convicts seeking release. In other cases, the Deputy Commissioners of the areas where the convicts hail from are yet to confirm that the convicts belong to the said areas.

In some cases, the states have rejected applications seeking release, without giving any reason. Sukhbir said the state was ready to conduct Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) elections as per the convenience of Election Commission and added that the state has issued notifications of three municipal corporations and 85 ULBs while notification for remaining will be issued within day or two.

The Deputy CM said he hoped that the municipal elections would be conducted in the month of January.

He also clarified that seat sharing formula with its ally BJP during elections would be fought on the same principles as followed in the previous polls.

When asked about the Delhi Assembly elections and seat sharing with BJP, he said SAD will field its candidates from four seats.

He also directed the department heads to ensure that all officers are punctual and said erring officers would be dealt strictly and lateness would not be tolerated.

Not only me but state ministers would conduct surprise visits in government offices to oversee functioning as well as public facilities, he said.

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