L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


SAD candidate, supporters booked for bribing voters
Were issuing ‘slips’ for distributing flour bags, shop closed
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The SAD candidate from the Atam Nagar constituency has been booked for allegedly trying to bribe voters by distributing flour bags. These wheat bags were being distributed by owner of Parkash Kiryana Shop located near the Gill Chowk.

The candidates are finding new ways of luring the voters on the eve of the Assembly elections. Residents of the area came to know that the SAD candidate from Atam Nagar (who is Hira Singh Gabria, a Cabinet Minister) and his supporters have issued “slips” mentioning that the person in possession of this slip should be given wheat flour bags.

Interestingly, name of Hira Singh Gabria has not been mentioned in the FIR as it reads SAD candidate from Atam Nagar and his supporters.

Aman Pal Singh, SHO of the Shimlapuri police station, said an FIR (number 19) under Section 171 D of the IPC was registered against the SAD candidate and his supporters on a complaint lodged by Yograj Singh, a resident of Deep Nagar near the Gill Chowk.

“Yograj Singh alleged that he was standing near Parkash Kiryana Store when he saw some people taking away wheat flour bags. When he enquired from them, he was told that SAD candidate Hira Singh Gabria and his supporters had issued these slips. We raided the shop and seized 127 such slips from the owner of Parkash Kiryana Store,” the SHO added.

Before the cops could reach the spot, supporters of Independent candidate and Gabria’s arch rival, Simarjit Singh Bains too reached the spot and raised slogans against the SAD candidate.

SAD candidate Hira Singh Gabria said it was an attempt to tarnish his image. “I strongly condemn it. I have never indulged in such cheap tactics and don’t even encourage them myself. People of my constituency know me since long and are aware I will not do any such thing,” claimed Gabria.

Simarjit Singh Bains said the real picture of Hira Singh Gabria had come out in open. “Gabria knows that he will not win from Atam Nagar and that is why he has started bribing the voters.”

Later, Bains supporters claimed that another grocery shop owner in the Jawahar Nagar Camp area was caught distributing flour bags by using similar “slips”. “We have forwarded a written complaint in this regard with the police department as well as the election observers,” claimed Kanwaljit Singh Karwal, a councillor and Bains supporter.


With cops on poll duty traffic goes haywire
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The city traffic went haywire after the traffic police personnel were deputed on poll duty to ensure smooth conduct of the Assembly elections.
The Saturday and Sunday evenings witnessed chaotic traffic, as all major city roads remained chocked for hours, as there was no policeman available to manage the traffic.

Ambulances also remained stranded and their sirens failed to deter commuters who were busy maneuvering their vehicles through serpentine queues.

“After remaining stranded in traffic for nearly 30 minutes, I called at traffic helpline and told them about traffic jam at the Pakhowal road. But the reply was shocking. The cop on the helpline told me that the staff has been deputed on poll duty and there was no one to regulate the traffic,” said Parmeshwar Singh.

Similar scenes were witnessed at all weekend shopping destinations of the city, including the Ferozepur Road, Ghumar Mandi, Sarabha Nagar Market, Mall Road and the Fountain Chowk. All these areas remained blocked till late night.

A senior traffic police official while expressing his helplessness said, “We are left with handful of cops to regulate the traffic. The entire fleet of PCR motorcycle has been deputy on poll duty.”

Blessing in disguise

Traffic violators and underage drivers were having a field day as there wasn’t any traffic policeman to challan them or regulate traffic. 



Father postpones daughter's ring ceremony to attend poll duty
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Kuldeep Singh carries election material in Ludhiana on Sunday.
Kuldeep Singh carries election material in Ludhiana on Sunday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, January 29
While government employees are making all sorts of lame excuses to avoid election duties, there are some who are setting an example of work ethics. Kuldeep Singh, Director of Physical Education (DPE) at Government Senior Secondary School, Hassanpur village, postpones the date of his daughter's ring ceremony to attend the election duty.

It was around the first week of January that Kuldeep came to know that he would have to perform duty at a polling station on January 30, the same day on which the ring ceremony was scheduled to take place.

The cards were ready and those were about to be distributed. Being the father of the girl he was busy arranging for the ceremony and decided to meet the returning officer (RO) to express his inability to attend the election duty.

"You know the Punjabi weddings. It is like organising a festival of sorts. Elder male members of the family have extra responsibilities. As my son, an NRI, had not arrived here for the wedding the entire job of booking a marriage palace and buying wedding stuff from the market was on me," said Kuldeep.

He was on his way to meet the RO, carrying his draughter's wedding and engagement cards.

But on reaching the office of the RO, he changed his mind and decided to perform the duty and postpone the date of the ring ceremony. There were initial opposition from close relatives to changing the dates. "Naturally everyone was upset at my decision. But later they agreed and supported me," said Kuldeep.

Day before the state goes to the polls, Kuldeep was busy receiving his son who had just returned from Canada and further distributing sweets among relatives. "I finished distributing wedding invitations and sweet boxes among the relatives in the morning. Now, I am on duty till tomorrow," said Kuldeep.

On the other hand, District Science Supervisor Varinder Kaur could have easily avoided election duty as she has been appointed assistant presiding and returning officer at a polling booth in Khanna, which is not on a par with her designation.

But she did not make an issue of the anomaly committed by the Education Department and started performing her duty. "Why to make it an issue. It is a matter of two days," said Varinder Kaur. 

Respite for a few

Like Talwinder Kaur, a mother of two-year-old daughter, several other government school teachers who have young children to look after, have got some respite as they have been put under a reserved quota by the respective returning officers. The decision was taken after these mothers had expressed difficulty in performing duty along with their children.



Admn officials go on overdrive
34 polling booths declared vulnerable, 34 troublemakers identified
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
About 34 polling booths have been declared vulnerable in the district where troublemakers can influence or threaten weak and vulnerable voters on the polling day (January 30). Magistrates have identified 34 such persons and declared them out of bound during the polling.

The Ludhiana district alone has 14 Assembly constituencies with 21.35 lakh voters. These constituencies comprise 1,214 polling stations with 2,262 polling booths. Out of 1,214 polling stations, 162 in the district have been declared as hypersensitive. Of these, 29 are in the Khanna police district, 53 in the Ludhiana Rural and Police district and 80 in Police Commissionerate, Ludhiana. Paramilitary personnel will be deployed in all these 162 stations.

About 516 polling booths have been declared “sensitive.” These include 122 in Khanna, 114 in Ludhiana Rural and 280 in the Ludhiana Police Commissionerate. At all these booths, cameras or micro-observers will be deployed apart from the personnel of the Armed Punjab Police. About 536 polling booths have been declared normal. However, the district administration has decided to cover even these polling booths with cameras or micro-observers apart from the personnel of the Punjab Police.

Ludhiana South, Atam Nagar and the Dakha constituencies have been specially supplemented with the reserve patrol parties to ensure that nothing untoward happens there, said an official of the district administration. “We are keeping our fingers crossed. We want elections to be conducted in a peaceful manner. “At least 201 sector magistrates with the police patrol will remain on their toes right from evening (today) till tomorrow night. They will keep vigil in 2,262 polling booths to ensure that everything remains in order,” the official added.



No takers for hosiery goods
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The hosiery industry of the city is passing through a tough phase due to the delayed onset of the winter and its failure to meet the growth target. The volume of exports by the city-based businessmen of the hosiery industry to US and European markets has gone down sharply.

The manufactured stocks have piled up in godowns but there are no takers. Though the government has announced several relief measures to support the textile industry, but it seems they are not enough.

Joginder Singh’s hosiery manufacturing medium scale unit is passing through a tough phase. The late onset of winter has also caused a sudden drop of over 30 per cent in production.

The market was down last year and this year there has been an increase in the input price. “Last year also the season did not go very well. We have seen a fall of 25 to 30 per cent in the exports,” he added.

Krishn Lal, another hosiery exporter, said the government should announce some relief package for the hosiery exporters.

“Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) will prove beneficial for the hosiery industry. Exports to European markets have gone down substantially and the domestic market is also suffering as well,” he said.

The domestic market is suffering due to the late onset of winters and in addition to these Chinese garments illegally entering the market is also creating hurdles for the industry.



Absentee cops show up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Not only miscreants, but shirker policemen have also started toeing the line after receiving a rap from a senior police official.

At least 20 policemen, who failed to report during the allotment of election duty in the morning, marked themselves present after being reprimand by the senior police official. These 20 policemen, who are deployed in VIP duties, had failed to report at a local college ground during the allotment of poll duties.



Victim of circumstances
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Combating with Severe Hemophilia, a chronic ever since his birth, Prabhjot Singh, a 27-year-old youngster of the city, is now also the victim of three more diseases. For about two years, he had been suffering from Hepatitis C, hemophilia arthopathy (bone joints gets damaged due to bleeding) and osteoprosis arthritis under the circumstances when there was not the bread earner at his home as his mother works as domestic help in some houses. 

Talking to The Tribune, Prabhjot, who lost is father in his childhood, said: "I have three sisters, two are married and one is unmarried. My mother is the sole bread earner who earns the livelihood by working as domestic help in some houses. It is very difficult for us to make both ends meet. Every month I have to go to the PGI, Chandigarh, at least thrice for my treatment. My cartilages of both of heels have been damaged due to hemophilia arthopathy. The doctors have asked me to for operation, which will cost about Rs 6 lakh. So now I cannot walk at my own and have to take the support of crutches.

Due to the financial problem, my younger sister had to leave her studies in between. But I have not lost my hope and want to live life."

By now, the young boy has approached more than two dozen administrative officers of the state as well as of the district. He has also appealed for the financial help and for some job that he could do. He said, "Many a time, I have given applications in the different departments but could not get any job. I have passed class XII only last year with 65 per cent marks. Earlier, I got compartment in the year 2000 in the same class but I appeared again in the exams last year and succeeded. The result motivated me to apply for some job but I could not."

Prabhjot wants to have some sitting job, so that he can earn his own livelihood. He said, "About six months ago, an NGO Salaam Zindagi started helping me by giving ration for only me every month. I appeal to the public in general to help me financially or by providing me any job. Any well wisher can contact me on my cell phone number 99152 95758."



Homeless forced to brave the chill
MC’s night shelter remains locked
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 29
Despite Supreme Court’s order to provide shelters to the homeless and destitute at night throughout the country, the local Municipal Council seems to be not paying any heed to it.

Though the Municipal Corporation opened a night shelter for the homeless following the Supreme Court’s orders, it is of no use, as it remains locked. The homeless are forced to brave the chill and spend the night in the open. The Municipal Council converted Shaheed Bhagat Singh Community Hall located on the Raikot Road into a night shelter with an aim of providing roof to the homeless. But, the main gate of the shelter remains locked and not even a soul could be found inside it.

“The shelter remains locked most of the time. We haven’t seen any person staying in it. Heaps of garbage can be seen lying in front of its entrance gate,” said Nacchatar Singh, who resides in front of this night shelter.

There are at least 50 homeless persons in the town while the Municipal Council records state that there are 10 such persons.

“I have been staying here for the past four months, but nobody ever told me about the night shelter,” said Ram Parsad, a rickshaw-puller, who sleeps outside a shop.

It seems that officials have failed to make people aware of the facility provided by the Municipal Council.

President of the Jagraon Municipal Council, Baldev Krishan Dhir, failed to give exact number of homeless staying in the night shelter. “I am not aware of the number of persons staying in the night shelter. I will have to check the records,” he added.



Printing association to impart training in govt schools
Will provide Rs 1,000 stipend per month
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
A campaign "Print Chetna" has been launched by the Offset Printers Association (OPA) to spread awareness in the government school students. The students will be made aware about the printing industry under the campaign. Thee students will not only get stipend along with training but they will also get the opportunity to join print industry after completing the education.

A lecture was delivered at the Govt High School, Kasabad. An official of the printers association said that it is seen that the industry is dependent on the migrant workforce. First, there were people from Himachal, Utrakhand and then UP and later on from Bihar.

"On the one hand, the industry is facing acute shortage of the skilled and semi-skilled labour, on the other hand it is seen that the younger generation is not interested in adopting printing as a career," said Kamal Chopra, general secretary of the OPA.

Chopra said, "We are encouraging the students to get training for this profession in their spare time. Printing has many skills such as pre-press, DTP, screen printing, post-press, binding, machine operator etc. A student can get training in any of these modular employable skills (MES) in his or her spare time even while studying in the school.

The OPA will be providing such training free at the printing units of its members. The students, who attend the training, will be given a stipend of Rs 1,000 per month. Such training will be provided on flexible delivery mechanism i.e. part-time, weekends or full time. The training period for each of the MES is divided in hours and a student can complete these hours of training in a period of his or her choice. There will be no time frame fixed for the purpose, but the student will be getting the stipend till the time they are getting the training in a particular skill.

The training will be provided at the printing unit of the member of the OPA, nearest to the residence of the student, where they have the sufficient training facilities and required talented staff.



When voter is the king

The din of electioneering is over, even though it was less noisy, low-key affair and definitely less expensive for candidates, thanks to the tough measures taken by the Election Commission (EC) of India. If the EC has gone all out to make the process of elections scrupulously as per the provisions of the laws of the land, and the offenders, whoever those had been, were not spared, it is now upon the people to perform their constitutional duty of exercising their right to vote. The electorate ought to remember that the day of polling exclusively belongs to them, and at least for one day, they are the masters. As the State Electoral Officer has also been sending SMSes to the voters to cast their vote with utter caution, choosing the right candidate, it would be in the own interest of the electorate to vote according to their conscience and not to fall prey to any allurements offered by candidates.

Amusing answers!

Sometimes journalists get amusing answers to their queries and one is left with no option but to laugh aloud. Recently, during an election coverage, one of my colleagues called up a candidate to ask about his assets to which he replied, "Bhagwan ki kripa se hamare paas sab kuch hai". She once again asked him to tell her about his assets but the candidate kept thanking the God for giving him all the luxuries in her life. Another colleague called up somebody in the vegetable market to enquire about the veggie prices as she had to prepare a price list. When she asked the person about the price of onion, the person on the other end said: "Koi gal nahin madam tussi dukan te aa jao, aapa theek rate laga davange".

We won’t listen!

Recently during the visit of the Dream Girl, Hema Malini, to the city for campaigning, there was a huge rush at Janakpuri, the venue of the event. The police deployed at the venue asked everyone to park their vehicles far from the stage, which was set up in the middle of the road. When the reporter asked a policemen to let her park vehicle nearby as many other four-wheelers, too, were parked there, the policeman said: "Madam ji, we are not going to listen to you today. Code of conduct has been imposed, neither will we listen to you nor to these ministers or VIPs. We will listen to our IAS/IPS officers who have asked us to be strict with everyone, that’s it!".

Anxious caller

An anxious caller called up a newspaper office and asked, "Did you get any news that an earthquake is about to occur this month? If so, please tell me the details." Replying to the query, the reporter said: "No there is no such information with us. Moreover, there is no such equipment which can predict earthquake." The caller said: "How is it possible? The newspaper people know everything. Please check up from your sources and kindly let me know". After saying this he banged the phone.

On poll duty 24X7

While the city residents are busy discussing politics in the cosy comforts of their homes, it's the jawans of the paramilitary forces and Punjab police who are on 24X7 duty. Their duty will not end after the polling is over, but they will remain on duty till the time the results are announced on March 6. "We have to remain on our toes till March 6. Even though the voting would be held on January 30 and even the candidate can relax, our duty would get harder after the voting day as the safety of EVMs would be at top on our agenda," said a security personnel.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Manav Mander, Shivani Bhakoo, Anupam Bhagria and Puneet Pal Singh Gill 



Deduct penalty from official’s pension: Panel
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 29
Yet another attempt by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) to avoid payment of Rs 15,000, the penalty imposed on Shiv Kumar Gupta, Accounts Officer, and the designated Public Information Officer by the State Information Commission has failed. The commission has persisted with its ruling and rejecting the plea made by GLADA officials that the PIO (Shiv Kumar Gupta) has since retired. The commission has said that the amount of penalty be deducted from his pension dues.

Taking up a complaint filed by RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal alleging that GLADA had failed to provide information within the stipulated period on violations of building bylaws in the colonies developed by it from 2000 to 2010, and any action taken by GLADA against such violations, the State Information Commission had on December 20, 2011, imposed a penalty of Rs 15,000 on the PIO of GLADA.

In the orders, the commission had further directed that the amount of penalty be deducted from the salary of the PIO and deposited in the state treasury under the relevant head. "An attested copy of the receipt challan be produced before the commission for record," the commission had ruled.

As the complaint was taken up on January 17, 2012, to take note of the compliance, GLADA filed a submission citing cause for the delay in providing the information to the applicant. The authority pleaded that there were some 2,200 files in the Estate Office and the staff had to examine each and every file to collect the data and compile the same. "Due to heavy workload involved in the case, an interim reply was sent to the applicant on September 5, 2011, and thereafter, complete information spread over 84 pages was provided to the applicant on November 16, 2011." The statement filed by GLADA also expressed sincere regret for non-appearance of the PIO, or his representative before the commission on December 20, 2011, while also making a plea for remission of the penalty as the then PIO had since retired.

The commission, however, rejected the plea made by GLADA and issued directions to the authority that in view of the fact that the order of penalty has already been passed (on December 20, 2011). The complaint will again come up for hearing on March 14, 2012, for confirmation of compliance.



People still superstitious about thalasaemia
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Despite tall claims by the Health Department that it is spreading awareness among people on various diseases, some people still believe that thalasaemia is a supernatural problem.

Manjit Saini, founder president of Salaam Zindagi, a non-government organisation, which takes care of thalasaemic children free of cost, said: “About a fortnight ago we came across a migrant family at Hambran Road, near the Ram Sharnam building, who had a three-year-old child suffering from thalasaemia. Someone told me that the child’s parents believed that their child had been suffering from some supernatural problem and they were visiting faith healers for his treatment. I approached the family and got to know that they had already lost their two kids to the same disease. Besides the three-year-old boy, they have one 12-year-old daughter. I explained to them the treatment of the disease and registered the child for the future treatment.”

Saini said: “If any one in the public comes across any such child who is too poor to get treatment for thalasaemia or the family is not treating the child properly, one can contact our NGO at 9814704064.”



Diesel cars may become dearer
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Since the price of petrol is skyrocketing the demand for diesel cars has surged in the past couple of years. But as the Finance Ministry is considering raising the excise duty on diesel cars in Budget 2012-13, even these cars will get costlier.

While the overall the automobile market has not been witnessing its once robust growth since mid-2011, the demand for diesel-run cars has seen an upward trend. In fact, buyers are increasingly ready for waiting for months, as the gap between petrol and diesel prices has widened.

Diesel cars now constitute nearly 40 per cent of car sales, compared to less than 20 per cent a few years ago. Slackening demand compelled Maruti to reduce production of petrol models in August, while there is a waiting period of several months for its diesel vehicles.

“The picture is still not very clear and we will come to know only after the budget is presented. If the excise duty on diesel cars is increased, the price of diesel-run cars is sure to increase. At present people prefer diesel cars to petrol ones as petrol prices are too high to afford for those who daily commute long distances by cars,” said Parminder, a salesmen dealing in diesel cars.

Jagdev who was planning to buy a new car after couple of months will now be buying it next month. “After I heard that excise duty on diesel cars is likely to be hiked after budget I thought it wise to buy the car early. If the excise duty is hiked then I will end up paying more money so buying the car right now is a better option, according to me,” added he.



Industry pins hopes on new govt
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
With just a few days left for the polling, industry has pinned all hopes on the new government and wants it to resolve issues like VAT reforms, setting up of a new focal point, uninterrupted power supply.

Joint secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, Upkar Singh, said: “The industry wants city airport to become fully operational as businessmen regularly visit New Delhi and Mumbai for meetings and other works. A new focal point should be developed for the industry and uninterrupted power should be supplied to the industrial sector. We are suffering huge losses due to this.”

President of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association, Badish Jindal, said: “The levels of environmental pollution needs to be reduced. We hope that the new government will take some steps in this direction. Besides this, the problem of Budha Nullah needs to resolved once and for all.”

Jindal added that the VAT reforms should be introduced and subsidies should be given for setting up new industry in the state. “To stop the industry from shifting to other states the new government should give tax benefits and subsidies for setting up industry in Punjab.” He said.

President of the United Cycle Parts and Manufacturers’ Association, Gurmeet Singh Kular, said the new government should set up new focal points, abolish C forms and cycles below Rs 3,500 exempted from sales tax.



Silver sales zoom in Ludhiana
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
As the gold prices have gone through the roof, silver, which is known as “poor man’s gold”, has become everybody’s favourite. Demand for silver is rising in the jewellery and industrial markets.

There was a time when one could see silver spoons and glasses lying carelessly in the Indian households, but now silver, too, has become a precious metal. “Silver prices have surged, so many people think of selling silver spoons in order to earn money. Silver spoons, glasses and bowls were not considered that useful, but now they bring in a lot of cash,” said Pankaj Kumar, a jeweller.

“Gold is less accessible to customers because of its high prices. The number of people who buy wedding gifts made of gold has decreased to about a tenth. In the past, people did not consider silver to be appropriate for wedding gifts, but these days due to high gold prices they have switched to silver,” said Bhagat Ram at Sarafan Bazaar.

He believes that the price of silver will continue to rise. More than half of the world’s silver is used in industries, and as the industry expands with economic recovery, so will the demand for silver. 



Greenhorns with big ambitions
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
This time many first-timers and young candidates are going to contest the Vidhan Sabha elections, the voting for which is to take place on January 30. And most of them are either contesting as independents or as candidates of the PPP-led Sanjha Morcha.

From Ludhiana West it is 26-year-old Navpreet Singh Bedi who is pursuing his law studies at Punjab University regional centre and trying his luck as an independent candidate. Talking to The Tribune, Bedi said: “I have seen that all political parties just keep making false promises to the residents and do nothing on the ground. So I have decided to contest as an independent throughout my life. I will never bow to any allurements like if any party allures me with VIP treatment like red-beacon car or so on. And ask about his poll plank, he says, “Basic needs and basic amenities to each human being.”

He carried out his campaigning by visiting door to door and distributing pamphlets among residents on the last day of campaigning.

However 31-year-old Anand Sharma, a candidate of the PPP-led Sanjha Morcha from Ludhiana North said: “I joined this party as the people of Punjab need a change and only this party can bring about a change.” Interestingly, Sharma has had served as a priest of Nav Durga Mandir at Sarabha Nagar for two years. However his main occupation is of a builder. On asking as what his own stars predict for him as he also practices astrology as his hobby, he said: “I believe in philosophy of ‘karma’ and so contesting the elections considering these as a will of the God.”

After working with other political parties for some years, 29-year-old Jagjit Singh, an independent candidate from Ludhiana East, said: “I want to serve the public by providing them justice in all aspects.” He is a property dealer and also runs a factory.

Not only from urban but also from rural areas there are candidates who are contesting for the first time. Daljeet Singh Sadarpura, 38-year-old candidate of the PPP from the Dakha constituency, said: “I have worked with both Capt Amarinder Singh as well as with Prakash Singh Badal but being the president of the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association, Punjab, I have found that Manpreet Singh Badal is the right person whose policies are very good for the development of Punjab. So I have joined his party. My poll planks are development of dairy farming and providing employment opportunities to the youth.”



Campaigning over, not efforts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Though hectic campaigning for the Assembly elections, to be held in Punjab tomorrow, is over, still candidates are in no mood to rest. Some of them are visiting door to door to meet the masses while others are offering prayers at religious places seeking blessings of the Almighty. There are some whose relatives and friends have camped at their houses as if some "wedding" in the family was going to take place tomorrow.

For candidates, campaigning is still not over. The last-minute efforts are being made to streamline everything.

The candidates were busy holding hectic meetings with leaders to chalk out last-minute strategies. On the eve of the election day, the Congress candidate from Jagraon, Isher Singh Meharban, held a closed-door meeting with sitting Congress MLA from Jagraon Gurdeep Singh Bhaini. Though the main agenda of the meeting was revealed neither by Meharban nor by Bhaini, it is believed that Meharban assured Bhaini of giving appropriate position to him after coming to power.

Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Congress candidate from Ludhiana West, said: "Today we remained busy plugging the loopholes. We held meetings with some workers and supporters and also with our polling agents. It is like a neve-ending mad race."

While DP Maur, CPI candidate of the Sanjha Morcha from this constituency, said: "I gave the finishing touches to some of my pending works related to elections. I held a meeting with the workers in my election office and appealed to my supporters and workers to actively work to mobilise voters." He also asked them to maintain peace during the polling.

However, on the eve of the Vidhan Sabha elections, it was Prof Rajinder Bhandari who remained busy reviewing all the arrangements related to the poll day.

For Surinder Dawar, Congress candidate from Ludhiana Central, the eve was a mixture of holding meetings, offering prayers to "Guruji". "It is like a wedding in the family with all the members of my family, extended families and friends camping at my place. We have kept our fingers crossed that everything goes well tomorrow," said Dawar.

While Satpal Gosain, BJP candidate from the same (Central) constituency, said at his office, it was a wedding-like atmosphere with lot of hustle bustle caused by the my active workers and supporters. "Today also I visited people in my constituency", said Gosain. 



151 polling booths sensitive
Our Correspondent

Khanna, January 29
Tight security arrangements have been completed in the police district of Khanna to ensure fair and free elections tomorrow. Khanna SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu said there were 327 polling stations in the police district comprising the Khanna, Samrala and Payal constituencies and 493 polling booths.

In the Khanna constituency there are 90 polling stations and 493 polling booths. In Samrala there are 126 polling stations and 168 polling booths and at Payal there are 111 polling stations and 160 polling booths. Around 2000 personnel of Punjab Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in the police district to ensure fair and free elections.

He said 42 patrol parties had been deployed on election duty tomorrow. As many as 151 polling booths have been identified as sensitive and hyper-sensitive and additional police personnel have been despatched to these stations. Police nakas have been set up at key points and flag marches were held in Khanna city and at some other key stations, he added.



No anti-incumbency factor, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
State general secretary of the BJP Kamal Sharma today claimed that the SAD- BJP alliance would get majority in the state Assembly elections. Addressing the press conference here, he said his party was contesting on the issue of development and there was no communal and emotional issue relevant in these days. "Development is the only issue in these elections. But it is a trend in the Congress that they always raise non-relevant issues.

He stated that there was no anti-incumbency factor and the Congress had no issue in these elections. The BJP is in a strong position in the state and they will win all the seats.



Candidate cashes in on others’ popularity
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
An independent candidate has found a novel way to consolidate his vote share in the ensuing Assembly elections.

Amit Kumar, an independent candidate from Ludhiana South, is under the scanner of the Election Commission for not pasting his picture on the posters in order to mislead the residents of the Daba area.

According to the police, Amit was allotted "letter box" as his election symbol. Incidentally, it is the same election symbol as the one allotted to rebel SAD leader Simarjit Bains, who is fighting the election as an independent candidate from the Atam Nagar constituency.

While Simarjit Bain's elder brother Balwinder Bains is fighting as an independent candidate in the Ludhiana South constituency on the election symbol of “torch”.

The Bains brothers enjoy considerable support in the Shimlapuri, Daba and Lohara areas.

Trying to cash in on the vote bank of the Bains brothers, Amit Kumar dotted the the Daba area with posters depicting election symbol “letter box”. But, Amit played smart as he used the election symbol but did not figure on his posters.

The police nabbed six persons for pasting misleading posters. During the time of questioning they named Amit.

According to the Daba police, the returning officer (RO) has been informed about the tactic of the independent candidate.



In rural Punjab patriarch decides
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Women may have the Constitutional Right to Franchise, but in rural areas of Punjab it’s the patriarch of the family who decides which party they should vote for.

“We have to follow scrupulously what the head of our family says. Men know all about these matters and we go by whatever they decide,” says Lakhwant Kaur, a homemaker from Abbupura village in Jagraon.

“In the villages, voting is not an individual’s choice. It’s a collective decision taken by the head of 
the family, and the family has to abide by it,” says Roop Singh from the 
same village.

Even in the Assembly constituencies where women candidates are in the fray, it’s the men who decide how the women should exercise their right to vote.

“Women are tender hearted. They cannot take Independent decisions. They feel lost when it comes to politics. So, a male intervention is imperative. After all, we should exercise our right to vote judiciously,” says a young man from Jagraon.

As for the women, they are happy toeing the line of conformity. “There is no reason why we should resent this. The head of the family decides not only for us but also for all others. It only shows that we are a close knit family,” says Gurpreet Kaur (56), a resident of Barewal village.

However, in many cases the gender divide blurs conveniently. “A poll manifesto? I have no idea,” says a 35-year-old woman from Khanna. Her husband, who’s accompanying her, too expresses his ignorance about the poll manifestos of various parties. 



Forward Block member visits city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
A member of the central committee of the All-India Forward Block AP Tiwari, who is also the national president of the Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), visited Ludhiana in view of the Assembly elections.

A meeting was organised with party cadres and workers of the railway and textile and small-scale industries and others. On the occasion, Tiwari said TUCC and the party would not support any other political party in the Assembly elections. 



ludhiana scan
Hike in pension sought

Ludhiana: A meeting was organised by the working committee of the All-India Senior Citizen at Satluj Club, Rakh Baag. A demand for the financial-aid and hike in pension from the government was put forward.

Central committee members of All-India Forward Block and AP Tiwari, national president of the Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC) visited Ludhiana keeping in view the Assembly Election.

A meeting was organised with the party workers, railway, industrial, textile, small scale, domestic workers and agriculture labour unions. Tiwari revealed that the TUCC and the party will not support the any other political party in Assembly Elections.

Sirjandhara holds meeting

A monthly meeting was organised by the literary organisation "Sirjandhara" at Punjabi Bhawan.

A number of renowned writers were present on the occasion.



3,000 take part in job fest
Our Correspondent

Khanna, Jan 29
A mega job fest was organised by the Gulzar Group of Institutes organised on January 28 on its campus.
Over 50 companies took part in this job fair. As many as 3,000 students from various parts of the country had registered themselves in the Mega Job Fest 2012.

The participating companies shortlisted several candidates after screening through written test, group discussion and the HR rounds.

Source said no registration fee was charged.

A free transport facility was provided for the candidates from Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali, Ambala, Patiala, Nabha and the Ludhiana region.



from schools
Basant Panchmi celebrated

Ludhiana: Green Land Convent School, Sector 32, Chandigarh road, celebrated Basant Panchmi here on Saturday. The event was celebrated to keep the old customs alive.

Everest Pb Sr Sec School

The students of Everest Pb Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar, celebrated ‘Basant Panchmi’ festival here on Saturday. A fancy dress competition was organised on the occasion. The students presented dance and song programme.

Spring Dale Sr Sec Public School

Spring Dale Sr. Sec. Public School celebrated Basant Panchami function. The students were dressed in yellow attires. The traditional ritual of worshipping Goddess Saraswati was followed by various interesting activities like kite decoration and sunflower making. The main attraction of the day was the kite flying competition. Daman of class VII bagged first position, Rahul Kohli of VI stood second and the third prize was won by Rajinder of VI.

Penguin Castle Pre School

The tiny tots of Penguin Castle Pre School, Udham Singh Nagar, celebrated Basant Panchami. The students were dressed in yellow clothes to mark the occasion. The children were explained that yellow colour on this day signifies the splendour of nature as the yellow flowers of the mustard crop.

Vocational training ends

The students of the class XI vocational stream of the Government Senior Secondary School, Hans Kalanm, undertook a 15-day training programme. The training consisted of the basic computers and management functions at the Ludhiana Group of Colleges (LGC), Chaukimann. The training was a part of curriculum for the vocational stream students.



school games
Gaurav attributes his success to home ground
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, January 29
The synthetic track of Guru Nanak Dev Stadium proved to be lucky for Gaurav Kumar as he bagged silver medal in 80m hurdles in the 57th School National Athletics meet. Gaurav says he is happy that he got a medal for his state in this national meet.

He said he was quite confident before the race as he was running on his home ground and he used to practise on the same track daily.

A resident of the Jalandhar bypass area, Gaurav said the hurdle race is different from other races and an athlete should have proper stamina for this event as he has to cross a number of hurdles on the track.

Gaurav said: "It was my desire to win a gold medal in this meet but unfortunately I missed it. But, I am satisfied with my performance and feel that it’s all due to the guidance of my coach, Sanjeev Sharma”.

Fourteen-year-old Gaurav said: "Before this competition, which was held in the first week of this month, I had attended national a rural athletics competition that was held in Kolkata, West Bengal, but unfortunately I couldn’t bag any medal there and I was quite disheartened after that meet, but now his morale is up”.

He said earlier in 2011 in the Punjab state school games he had bagged gold in the same event and he had also won gold in the state open athletics meet.



poll buzz
Cash as token of love

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Supporters of candidates, including Independents, have found novel ways to woo the voters of the town and adjoining Sangrur and Ludhiana districts. Besides bringing them precious gifts, they present cash as token of love to children and newlywed couples of poor families.

Though no formal complaints were received at any of the offices, the authorities, including civil officials and police, had been visiting vulnerable localities, including Vehras and slum colonies. Investigations revealed that supporters of various candidates had started visiting poor families with an intention to woo them to vote in their favour. Gurpreet Singh Sikand, ACP, said: “I have directed all my beat in charge to enhance vigil during this period ."



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