|Wednesday, February 9, 2000,
One killed in jeep-train collision
Rs 3 lakh looted
Distrust creeps into alliance
HISAR, Feb 8 Mutual suspicion and distrust appears to have crept in among the workers of the Indian National Lok Dal and the BJP. While the two parties had contested the Lok Sabha elections in complete harmony, no such sentiment is visible this time, which may cost the alliance dearly.
There is a general feeling among the workers of the two parties that the "other party" is not serious about ensuring the victory of the other (alliance) partner. The ambiguous stand of the Chief Minister and INLD chief, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has added to the confusion.
There are a number of constituencies, where the rebel candidates, mostly from the INLD, continue to be in the fray, despite the seat being allotted to the BJP. And at other places, certain Independent candidates, claiming and owing allegiance to Mr Chautala, have been openly saying that they have the blessing of the Chief Minister.
One such case is of Hisar. From here, Mr Kamal Gupta is contesting as the alliance candidate, as the seat was allotted to the BJP, Mr Om Prakash Mahajan, who represented Hisar in the dissolved House as an Independent candidate was keen and, at one stage, sure to get the INLD nomination from here. Since the seat went to the BJP, he filed his nomination papers as an Independent candidate. While filing his nomination papers, Mr Mahajan claimed that he had the blessings of Mr Chautala, which the latter is yet to deny.
In Narnaund, which has also been allotted to the BJP, the entire INLD cadre is supporting Mr Ram Bhagat Sharma, an Independent candidate. The INLD workers from that constituency had opposed the decision of the INLD chief to give this seat to the BJP. In fact, the BJP had unilaterally announced the candidature of Mr Ram Kumar Gautam from this constituency.
In Jind also, Mr Rameshwar Dass Gupta of the BJP is facing difficulties on account of Mr Gulshan Bharadwaj, who is an influential INLD worker and is contesting as an Independent candidate. This has already placed the Congress candidate, Mr Mange Ram Gupta, former Haryana Finance Minister, in a comfortable position. The INLD workers are allegedly openly working for Mr Bharadwaj.
The BJP leadership has reportedly conveyed to the INLD chief its resentment over such developments. Silence on the part of Mr Chautala on the issue has confounded the situation further for the BJP, which apprehends that he (Mr Chautala) might outwit the party by seeking the support of Independents at the time of forming the government.
However, the BJP
leadership is still hopeful that the confusion will be
clarified once Mr Vajpayee and other senior National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders, including Dr Farooq
Abdullah, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, Mr Parkash Singh Badal,
Ms Maneka Gandhi and others start campaigning for the
alliance candidates. Mr Chautala himself is scheduled to
address public rallies jointly with the Prime Minister.
He is supposed to canvass for the BJP candidates also.
But that alone may not be enough for building up the
confidence to the extent that existed between both
parties during the Lok Sabha elections.
Sonepat to witness 4-cornered
SONEPAT, Feb 8 The stage is set for a quadrangular contest between the former MLA, Mr Dev Raj Dewan (Independent), Mr Ashok Sharma of the Congress, veteran BJP leader Mr Devi Dass and former press adviser to Mr Bansi Lal, Mr Rajiv Jain of the HVP for the Sonepat Vidhan Sabha seat.
An urban constituency with only 23 villages, it has a sizeable Punjabi votebank of about 35,000 voters out of a total of 1.45 lakh and has been a BJP citadel. The Jan Sangh gained dominance here in the 60s, primarily due to the leadership of Mr Mukhtar Singh Malik, who was the state president of the erstwhile party. Mr Malik, considered to be among the first Jat leaders to join the ranks of the Sangh, was elected as an MLA from Sonepat in the late 60s. The Congress won this seat in 1972, when Pt Chiranji Lal Sharma got elected. Mr Sharma, however lost to Mr Devi Dass of the Jan Sangh in the 1977 elections. Mr Devi Dass went on to win this seat again in 1982 and 1987, also on the BJP ticket. The turnaround for the Congress came in 1991, when its candidate, Mr Sham Das Mukhija, won the seat.
In 1996, Mr Dev Raj Dewan won this seat as an Independent candidate by a huge margin securing 47,269 votes (53.15 per cent). His nearest rivals, Mr Om Prakash of the Samajwadi Party polled 10,129 (11.39 per cent) votes while the BJP candidate, Mr Ram Singh got 10,116 votes (11.37 per cent). The 23 villages in this constituency have predominantly Jat voters, with just one village, Mohana, having people belonging to the Ror community.
This time, Mr Dewan was a strong contender for the Congress ticket, but Pt Chiranji Lal Sharma, got the ticket for his son, Mr Ashok Sharma, triggering a revolt by Mr Dewan.
Caste configurations will play a major role in the Jat-dominated constituencies of Gohana, Rai, Kailana and Rohat. Certain sub-castes (Khaapen) among the Jats exercise enormous influence owing to their numerical strength in these constituencies. If it is Maliks in Gohana and Kailana, the Dahiya votebank decides the outcome of the elections in Rohat. The Antil sub-caste is also prominent in Rai constituency.
In the Gohana constituency, the Congress has fielded a former PCC president, Mr Dharampal Malik, while the INLD has given the ticket to a non-Jat, Dr Ram Kumar Saini, an old Devi Lal loyalist, who was once the district president of the party. The HVP has nominated, Mr Jagbir Malik, who had won the 1996 elections from here. A former MLA from here, Mr Kitab Singh Malik, has also entered the fray and is being considered the dark horse.
In the 1996 elections, Mr Jagbir Malik of the HVP had narrowly won the elections by 872 votes. Mr Kishan Singh of the Samata Party finished second and the Congress candidate, Mr Ram Dhari Gaur had finished third.
Out of 48 villages in the Gohana constituency, about 16 are dominated by Maliks while about 17 villages prominent amongst them being Shamri, Rithal, Laat, Joli, Katwal and Damkan Kheri have voters from other Jat sub-castes.
Mr Dharampal Malik, who was the state Congress chief from 1972 to 1977, had twice won the Lok Sabha elections in 1984 and 1991 from the Sonepat parliamentary constituency.
In 1984, he had trounced, Mr Devi Lal and in 1991, he had won against Mr Kapil Dev Shastri. He suffered a humiliating defeat in the 1996 Lok Sabha elections when he could secure just about 50,000 votes and lost his deposit.
The Congress has put up a wrestler, Mr Sanjay Pehalwan as its nominee from the Rohat constituency. Taking him on will be Mr Padam Singh Dahiya of the INLD, who had lost the previous election to Mrs Krishna Gahlawat of the HVP.
The Congress ticket for this seat was initially to go to son of a former Tripura Governor, Mr Sultan Singh, but Mr Pehalwan secured the nomination due to his proximity to 10 Janpath.
The Kailana seat will witness a neck and neck contest between two Maliks Mr Jitender Malik of the Congress and Mr Ved Singh Malik of the INLD. Both had lost the previous elections to Mr Ramesh Kaushik of the HVP. The HVP has fielded Mr Narpal Malik, a former member of the Staff Selection Board.
Known for some of the most interesting electoral battles,the Rai assembly constituency will have a contest between a Jat and a Rajput leader this time. Mr Surajmal Antil of the INLD will take on Mr Satpal Chauhan of the Congress. Out of about 50 villages in this constituency, the Chauhans and Antils, a sub-caste of Jats, have a dominant votebank in12 villages each. During the previous elections Mr Surajmal won this seat while Mr Mohinder finished second and the Congress candidate, Mr Maha Singh, was a third.
For the Baroda reserved
seat, the Congress has put up a former cabinet minister,
Mr Sham Chand against the sitting MLA, Mr Ramesh Kumar
Khatak of the INLD. However, the HVP candidate, Mr
Chander Bhan who finished second in the 1996 poll, is
also a formidable candidate. Hence the contest has become
triangular. The Congress ticket was intially given to Mr
Kripa Ram Punia, but later he was accommodated in the
Triangular contests likely in
FARIDABAD, Feb 8 All six assembly constituencies of Faridabad district are likely to witness three-cornered contests among the BJP-INLD combine, the Congress and rebel candidates during the forthcoming elections to the state Vidhan Sabha.
The assembly segments are Mewla Maharajpur, Nit, Ballabhgarh, Palwal, Hathin and Hasanpur.
The main contestants in Mewla Maharajpur are Mr Krishna Pal Gujar (BJP), a member of the dissolved house, Mr J.P. Nagar (Congress) and Mr Mahendra Pratap Singh, a rebel Congressman fighting on the BSP ticket with the support of the Lok Dal of Mr Ajit Singh. Mr Mahendra Pratap Singh, former minister who won the election to the Vidhan Sabha in 1982, 1986 and 1991 but lost in 1996 to Mr Gujar, was denied the Congress ticket this time. He might upset the applecart of either the BJP or the Congress.
In the Nit constituency the three main candidates in the fray they are Mr Chander Bhatia (BJP) who represented the seat in the previous house, Mr A.C. Chowdhary, former minister of the Congress and Subedar Suman, former Mayor of Faridabad, a rebel Congressman. Mr Chowdhary had lost the last election to Mr Bhatia by over 34000 votes.
The Congress high command created a piquant situation in Nit by first allotting ticket to Mr Chowdhary, then withdrawing it in favour of Mr Gian Chand Ahuja and again renominating him. As a protest against nomination of Mr Chowdhary all office-bearers of the District Congress Committee (Urban) resigned. Mr Chowdhary is likely to face stiff opposition from his own party workers and leaders. This might give an edge to the BJP candidate.
Subedar Suman is also likely to make a dent in the Congress vote bank due to his influence in the slum areas, mostly inhabited by migrant work force, Subedar Suman belongs to UP.
In Ballabhgarh the fight is between Mr Ram Bilas Sharma (BJP), Mr Subhash Chowdhary (Congress) and Mr Rajinder Bisla, a rebel Congressman and a former minister. Mr Bisla was defeated by Mr Anand Sharma (BJP) in the last election by a margin of over 32,000 votes. Having been denied the Congress ticket Mr Bisla has opted to contest as an Independent. Mr Bisla is likely to cause damage to both the BJP and Congress.
Besides Mr Ram Bilas Sharma has a disadvantage for being an outsider. Local BJP workers staged a demonstration and indulged in stone pelting on the day he filed his nomination papers. Mr Sharma is also contesting from Mahendragarh.
Palwal will witness contest between Mr Karan Dalal, former minister who was denied the BJP ticket and he is contesting on the symbol of the Republican Party of India. His main opponents will be Mr Yogesh Gaur (Congress) and Mr Devinder Chauhan of the INLD.
Mr Dalal, who had defected from the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) later joined the BJP was the main architect of the fall of the Bansi Lal government. He was denied the BJP ticket due to opposition of Mr Om Prakash Chautala, INLD supremo.
In 1996 Mr Dalal won from Palwal by a margin of over 26,000 votes on the HVP ticket.
In Hasanpur (reserved) the main fight will be between Mr Uday Bhan (Congress) and Mr Jagdish Nayyar (INLD), former minister. The Congress had originally nominated Mr Uday Bhan but later withdrew his candidature and allotted the ticket to Mr Ram Rattan. Subsequently, the Congress again nominated Mr Uday Bhan. Owing to the late arrival of the letter of authority in the election office, the allotment of the Congress symbol to Mr Uday Bhan is pending before the Election Commission. Mr Nayyar had defeated Mr Uday Bhan in 1996.
In Hathin the contest is
between Mr Azmat Khan (Congress), former MLA, Mr Bhagwan
Sahay Rawat (INLD) and Mr Harsh Kumar (HVP), a former
minister in the Bansi Lal Cabinet. Mr Azmat Khan had lost
to Mr Harsh Kumar in the last election.
Nafe Singh Rathi is INLD
ROHTAK, Feb 8 The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has renominated Mr Nafe Singh Rathi as its candidate from the Bahadurgarh assembly constituency.
Mr Nafe Singh Rathi, who was a member of the dissolved Vidhan Sabha, was denied ticket and in a surprise move the Chief Minister and party supremo, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, had nominated his wife Sheila Rathi from the Bahadurgarh constituency. Mr Rathi, it may be recalled, has been convicted on a murder charge by the Additional Sessions Judge and is currently on bail.
While Mrs Sheila Rathi filed her nomination papers as the candidate of the INLD, her husband had filed his papers as a covering candidate. But, the nomination papers of Mrs Rathi were not found in order and rejected. Thus Mr Nafe Singh became the party candidate again from Bahadurgarh.
Interestingly, the number of candidates in the fray from the five assembly constituencies of Jhajjar district has decreased drastically mainly because of hike in the amount of security deposit from Rs 250 to Rs 5000. As against 114 candidates in the 1996 assembly elections, the five constituencies this time have only 41 contestants.
Badli, a strong hold of the INLD, has only six candidates while Bahadurgarh has the highest number of 11 in the district. Both these constituencies border the union Capital.
Among the candidate in
the fray, 23 belong to different national and regional
political parties and 18 are contesting as Independents.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Mr Sharad Pawar
has put up its candidate only in the Badli constituency,
while the BSP, HVP, INLD and Congress are contesting all
Preparations on for PMs Hisar
HISAR, Feb 8 Preparations are in full swing here in connection with the scheduled visit of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Beharee Vajpayee, on Feburary, 11. He is scheduled to address a public meeting here in support of Indian National Lok Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party candidates.
Party sources disclosed here today, that Mr Vajpayee would seek votes for the INLD-BJP candidates contesting from various Assembly segments of Hisar, Bhiwani and Sirsa parliamentary constituencies. The rally is being organised in the Old Government College grounds.
Besides the alliance partners, the district administration is also busy in making arrangements for his visit. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by the Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and several other senior National Democratic Alliance leaders.
On the other hand, the
Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, is likely to visit
Hisar around February 17. The party leaders said while
the tour had been finalised, the exact date was yet to be
Farooq, Naidu to address voters
CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 The INLD office secretary, Mr Dharambir Singh, said that the Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, would address public meetings at Hisar and Panipat on February 11. Similarly, leaders of NDA like Dr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, and Mr Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, would address election meetings in support of the candidates of INLD-BJP in Haryana next week.
He said Dr Abdullah would address public meetings in the Mewat area which include Hodal, Hathin, Ferozepur Jhirka, Nuh and Sohna on February 14. Mr Chandrababu Naidu would also address about half a dozen public meetings at Bahadurgarh, Meham, Hansi, Uklana (Barwala), Kaithal and Kurukshetra on February 17. The Chief Minster, Mr Om Prakash Chautala and prominent BJP leaders like Mr Om Prakash Grover and Mr Ram Bilas Sharma would also campaign for the candidates of the both parties.
Mr Dharambir said the
INLD supremo Mr Chautala, had already addressed big
public meetings which were being attended by all sections
of society. Mr Chautala would also address public
meetings on February 9 at Tarori (Nilokheri), Nissing
(Jundla), Barwala, Sisai (Ghirai), Hansi, Kharhar,
Satroad Khurd. He will also address public meetings on
February 10 at Adampur, Naggal, Shahbad, Kalawad
(Hassangarh), Samalkha and Thanesar.
Sonia threat to India: Uma
REWARI, Feb 8 A former Union Minister and BJP MP, Ms Uma Bharati, has alleged that the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, is totally ignorant of Indian culture and civilisation and is the greatest threat to India.
She made this statement while launching the election campaign of Mr Shiv Rattan Singh, the BJP nominee from Rewari constituency, at Dharuhera today. She said that assembly elections in Haryana, Bihar and Orissa were important because the electorate had to give its verdict on whether a Congress-led government was acceptable to them or they were in favour of coalition governments, led by the BJP and others.
She appealed to the people of Rewari to make Mr Shiv Rattan Singh victorious as each vote in favour of the BJP-INLD candidates would strengthen the Vajpayee Government at the Centre.
Panel to support parties
favouring quota for Jats
SONEPAT, Feb 8 The Haryana Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti has decided to vote for those political parties in the Assembly elections which will ensure reservation for the Jats in the government jobs after coming into power in the state.
Mr Tara Chand Mor, co-convener and spokesman of the samiti, told mediapersons here today that such political parties and groups wanting their support must to include the issue of Jat reservation in their election manifestos. The samiti, he said, would also consider extending support to some Independent candidates who were dedicated to the cause of Jat reservation, honest and have a clean image.
He said the samiti had not put up its own candidates as it was functioning as a non-political organisation and its main aim was to get reservation in government jobs for the Jats of Haryana on the pattern of Rajasthan and Delhi.
Mr Mor accused the President of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Mr Om Parkash Chautala, of denying reservation in government jobs to the Jats of the state and said that Mr Chautala had done irreparable damage to the community who would not tolerate it.
I was asked to
contest from two places
CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 Mr Rambilas Sharma, Leader of the BJP in the dissolved Haryana Assembly, has said that he has been asked by the party leadership to fight simultaneously from two constituencies in Haryana.
The decision by Mr Sharma to seek election from Ballabgarh in addition to Mahendragarh, which he had represented in the dissolved House, was widely interpreted as a "panic reaction" by Mr Sharma, who was anticipating defeat at his old constituency.
Talking to the TNS, Mr Sharma claimed that he had been asked by his party to file his papers from Ballabgarh as well. "There are four BJP candidates from Faridabad district, the party thinks that if I also contest from Faridabad district, it will boost the morale of the other BJP nominees," Mr Sharma said.
Asked whether the BJP would join the government if the INLD-BJP alliance managed to secure a majority, Mr Sharma replied in the affirmative. However, when asked whether the BJP would claim the post of Deputy Chief Minister, he said it would be the prerogative of the Chief Minister to decide if he wanted a Deputy Chief Minister or not.
On the BJPs
climbdown to 29 seats from its initial demand of 35
seats, he said the 29-61 seat sharing between the INLD
and the BJP was a satisfactory arrangement.
"Personally too 29 is a lucky number for me",
Regularise colonies, says candidate
AMBALA, Feb 8 The Indian National Congress candidate for the Naggal Assembly segment, Mr Nirmal Singh, today, assured a group of residents of the unauthorised colonies that he would try to ensure that these were included in the municipal limits.
Mr Nirmal Singh said there were 46 unauthorised colonies in the Naggal Assembly segment and the residents of these areas were facing a lot of problem. "These do not have basic facilities and the authorities are repeatedly threatening that they would demolish these colonies," he said.
The INC candidate said action should have been taken against the colonies when these were being set up. "Now, when people have invested their hard-earned money to set up homes there, it would be wrong to demolish those. I would try to give them as much assistance as possible to improve the civic conditions there," he said.
Mr Singh said the
problem of residents of these colonies was one of the
several he had been working to solve. "I have been
constantly working to redress the grievances of the
people of my area and my hard work would ensure that I
win this election," he said.
Mullana foresees statistical
AMBALA, Feb 8 The Indian National Congress candidate for the Mullana Assembly constituency, Mr Phool Chand Mullana, said development would be his top priority. He even cited statistics to prove that "this was his turn to win the election".
Talking to newspersons here past night, Mr Mullana said he had won the election every alternate time from Mullana since 1972. "I have got elected from Mullana in 1972-77, 1982-87 and 1991-96. As I had lost the 1996 election, I am confident of winning this time," he said.
Mr Mullana said development of the constituency would be his priority. "During my earlier tenures as an MLA from Mullana, I had undertaken several development programmes in the area. However, from 1996 onwards, development has come to a standstill. I will ensure that Mullana again moves on the path of progress," he said.
The INC candidate said he had tried to make the Barara subdivision get approval for a Government College and the construction of roads. "However, none of these efforts could see the light of day as I was no longer the MLA," he said.
BJP leader of Haryana
CHANDIGARH, Feb 8 The Haryana unit of the BJP today expelled former chairman of the Municipal Council of Ambala, Nirmal Vij, for opposing the party nominee, Ms Veena Chhibber, for the Ambala city Assembly constituency.
College honours students
AMBALA, Feb 8 The annual prize distribution ceremony of Dev Samaj Girls College, Ambala city, was held here today.
Students were given prizes for academics, sport, cultural activities and other extra-curricular activities.
Students who were given prizes for their names figuring in the 1998-99 merit list of Kurukshetra University include Nishu Jain, Rajvinder, Vina Chawla, Payal and Preeti. Students who did well in the Haryana Education Board examinations include Indu Sharma, Neha Maharishi, Sweeti Arora and Avneet, a press note issued here said.
In sport, members of the college basketball team, including Rajinder Kaur, Sonia, Twinkle, Shakuntla, Poonam, Arti, Mukta, Amandeep, Anita and Anjali were given prizes. The NCC cadets Mamta, Anisha and Deepika, besides the NSS volunteer Neetu Aggarwal were also honoured by the Deputy Commissioner of Ambala, Mr Ram Niwas.
The Indian orchestra team-members for the youth festival Preeti, Hanisha, Romi Preeti Madan, Kusum, Veena and Prem Kapil were honoured. Prizes were also given to Anju Langyan for western vocal music, Anuradha for mono acting and Manmeet for light vocal music. For their achievements in the western song contests, Sureena, Neha, Puja, Ritu and Rupali were given prizes.
On the occasion,
Principal of the college, Ms Shashi Sharma said the
college was established at Lahore in 1934 and it was
subsequently set up at Ambala city in 1948. She said
students of the college had not only excelled in
academics but had also done well in sport and
One killed in jeep-train
HISAR, Feb 8 One person was killed and three were injured when a Jeep carrying them collided with a passenger train in Hisar district yesterday, the police said today.
The accident took place between Gaibipur village and Naya Gaon village.
It is reported that a jeep carrying activists of the INLD from the Barwala constituency met with an accident with Hisar-Ludhiana passenger train at an unmanned railway crossing, killing one person on the spot.
Rs 3 lakh looted
HISAR, Feb 8 Three car-borne armed miscreants looted Rs 3 lakh from employees of a factory near Rawalwas Khurd village, 30 km from here, the police said today.
According to police sources, the employees were carrying the amount in a Metador when the robbers forced the Metador to stop. The robbers snatched the amount at knife point.
violating poll code: Mulana
party in protest
Chautala vows to
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