Thursday, February 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

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Feeling the heat, parties talk of hung House
Chandigarh, February 6
The ruling SAD-BJP alliance has begun preparing for a post-poll scenario of a hung Punjab Assembly in which no party or combine commands a clear majority in the 117-member House to form a government of its own. The Punjab PCC chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and general secretary of the SAD, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, are keeping a close watch on the rapidly changing situation and monitoring developments and updating information every 24 hours with the help of partymen.

Bhattal, Brar leave Captain alone?
Ludhiana, February 6
With former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal embroiled in litigation on account of corruption charges and the other senior leader Jagmeet Singh Brar preferring to stay away from electioneering, the Pradesh Congress Committee president, Capt Amarinder Singh, seems to be doing it alone everywhere across the state. The PPCC president is also trying hard to dispel the notion that he cannot be a good campaigner.

Cong pooh-poohs SAD’s claim on progress
Gurdaspur, February 6
The Congress think tank has chalked out a strategy, which will be executed in the final round of the electioneering, to attack the SAD-BJP election plank pertaining to the development of the state.

Women get power...on paper only
Ludhiana, February 6
For almost four years now, some ‘lucky and clever’ husbands of ‘sarpanchanis’ have been ruling in certain villages in the district as proxy village heads, as the womenfolk, forced to contest the panchayat elections due to 33 per cent reservation for women, preferred staying indoors. The campaigning for the Punjab Assembly elections has not made any difference for these women as their hubbies are now indulging in proxy campaigning on their behalf.

Act against PR man, orders EC
Chandigarh, February 6
The Election Commission today asked the Punjab Chief Secretary to look into the reasons for no action taken against Public Relations Joint Director B.I.S. Chahal, for alleged violation of election code, despite its directives to the state Information Secretary in this regard.

Fatehgarh Sahib

The 917 candidates in the fray

Punjab constituencies

Rival political parties in Punjab trade charges about violations of the model code of conduct laid down by the Election Commission.
(28k, 56k)


Farm problems need attention
Punjab should exercise caution while welcoming the decision of the Union Cabinet to remove various restrictions in the agricultural sector. Ostensibly, the aim to remove controls — licensing of dealers, restrictions on the movement of foodgrains, limits on stocks and storage, etc. — which only hampered the growth of the agricultural sector, including the development of the processing industry, was to ensure its faster growth in a rapidly changing economic order.

A poet in dialogue with the world
Chandigarh, February 6
Softness and subtlety come naturally to him. Words flow from his mind just as water flows through the stream, purging itself of dirt every now and then. And even before you enter into a formal introduction with the man, you already know what his worth is.


Aviation Minister addresses rally
Bhucho Mandi , February 6
The Union Civil Aviation Minister, Mr Shah Nawaz Hussain, today claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance would form the next government in Punjab. Addressing a rally in support of the SAD-BJP candidate from Nathana, Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, here, he said the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had restored the glory of Punjabis, which was damaged by the previous Congress government.

Give NCP a chance, asks Sangma
SAS Nagar, February 6
Top Nationalist Congress Party leader, Mr P.A. Sangma, asked the voters here today to give the NCP a chance in the coming Assembly elections in Punjab as both the Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance had failed to come up to the expectations of the people.

Sunam HQ of SAD-BJP: Badal
Sunam, February 6
Terming Sunam town as the headquarters of the SAD-BJP alliance, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal expressed hope that the voters of the Sunam assembly constituency would make Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa successful in the Assembly elections. He said the victory of Mr Dhindsa would help in maintaining the status of Sunam town as the headquarters of the SAD-BJP alliance.

Personal relationships score over symbols
Rampuraphul, February 6
This prestigious Assembly segment dotted with big and small towns and various historical villages and touching Moga and Sangrur districts is witnessing a different type of election this time as the personal relations and behaviour of the contestants, and not the party symbols, have been influencing the opinion of more than 1,38,000 electors.

Anti-Terrorist Front leader Maninderjit Singh Bitta canvasses for Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedar, Congress candidate from Amritsar (South).
Anti-Terrorist Front leader Maninderjit Singh Bitta (3rd from L) canvasses for Mr Harjinder Singh Thekedar, Congress candidate from Amritsar (South).
 — Photo Rajiv Sharma

Brahm struggles to put act together
Patiala, February 6
Elections force even the greatest to eat humble pie and the same seems to be true for former Punjab Minister Brahm Mohindra. From being a one-man army who always won on his own from the Patiala seat and excelled in cocking a snook at the Congress party machinery as well as successive Chief Ministers, circumstances have forced the former Minister to seek the help of the party as well as bete noire Pradesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh who ousted him from the Patiala seat to Samana constituency.

Always a Congress stronghold
Ludhiana, February 6
With a few exceptions, the four assembly segments in this industrial town — Ludhiana East, West, North and Rural — have remained a Congress stronghold. Even when there were apparent strong anti-Congress waves in the State, this city still managed to send three Congress MLAs in 1985 and one in 1997.

Reviving economy to be Cong priority
Sardulgarh, February 6
“If voted to power, our first priority will be to bring the shattered economy of Punjab back on the rails by reducing expenditure and pruning the security cover to ministers and officers. The difference would be felt in the first six months, claimed Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC chief.

Captain Amarinder Singh and other Congress leaders at a rally at Sardulgarh.

Ramoowalia lashes out at Cong, SAD
Fatehgarh Sahib, February 6
The Lok Bhalai Party is the only party that is fighting for causes of common people without any vested interests, claimed Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, while addressing an election rally at Sirhind town today for the party candidate Surinder Singh Banka from Sirhind constituency.


Dances, langars galore at rallies
Amritsar, February 6
From dhol beats to dancing girls, catchy posters to polythene flags, bottles of liquor to intoxicating tablets, every gimmick in the book is being used to lure the voters here. National leaders’ presence notwithstanding, party workers are using every possible means to woo the electors.

J&K migrants get chance to be heard
Kharar, February 6
For hundreds of Kashmiri migrant families living in Punjab, the Assembly elections have brought some hope to them. The leaders of the displaced community are raising their long-pending issues once again. Having a sizeable population living in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Phagwara, Gurdaspur, Panthankot, Patiala and SAS Nagar, migrants lament that they have had never been heard by both the Akalis or the Congress.

A prospective customer inquires about dummy EVMs made by a Jalandhar-based printer on Tuesday.
A prospective customer inquires about dummy EVMs made by a Jalandhar-based printer on Tuesday. — Photo Inder Mohan

Dummy EVMs in vogue
Jalandhar, February 6
In Doaba, it is the dummy electronic voting machines (EVMs) which are catching the fancy of candidates of almost all political parties, who don’t want to take any chance with voters, particularly, those who are illiterate and first timer youth, who are ignorant about the functioning of the EVMs. Dummy EVMs have replaced dummy ballot papers used earlier for the same purpose.

Cops summon ‘harassed’ girl
Student shoots off missive to VC, Jacob
Patiala, February 6
In a shocking incident, a student of the Department of Fine Arts, Punjabi University who had complained to the Vice-Chancellor against the harassment meted out to her in his name, was summoned to the Sadar police station today regarding a complaint submitted against her.

Army man dies in mishap
Amritsar, February 6
An Army man was killed and his brother was critically injured when their motor cycle collided with a truck. The accident occurred near Wadala village at Majitha police district last evening. Mahinder Singh, father of the deceased and an eyewitness to the accident lodged the complaint with the Majitha police. The driver fled the spot after the incident, leaving his truck behind.

Patwari convicted of accepting bribe
Kapurthala, February 6
Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, Special Judge-cum-Additional Sessions Judge, today convicted Kewal Singh, a revenue patwari of Guddha village falling in Sultanpur Lodhi tehsil, under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act on the charge of accepting a bribe.

Civil Hospital employees not paid salaries
Fazilka, February 6
Several employees of the Civil Hospital here have not been paid salaries for the months of December, 2001, and January, 2002. The affected persons include three medical officers, an equal number of paramedical staff and a six class IV employees. They had performed emergency duties.


4 poll observers for Fatehgarh Sahib
Fatehgarh Sahib, February 6
Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer, while addressing mediapersons here today, said the Election Commission of India had appointed four observers for the two Assembly constituencies in Fatehgarh Sahib district.


Criminal case filed against Kang
Kharar, February 6
Mr Dhani Ram of Siau village, whose son Bikram Preet Singh and nephew Raman Preet Singh were murdered at Siau village of Kharar block on June 22 last year filed a criminal complaint in the court of Ms Harinder Sidhu, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today.


‘Save higher education day’ observed
Bathinda, February 6
The activists of the district unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union supported by principals, members of management committees, non-teaching staff and students today staged a dharna at the local B.R. Ambedkar park observing the day as ‘save higher education day’ and to press for the acceptance of their demands.

Jalandhar DPS to open in April
Jalandhar, February 6
Delhi Public School, Jalandhar, will be functional from the academic session beginning in April, in the cantonment area. This was formally announced here today at a function.


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