Saturday, February 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

SAD, Cong woo Christians

Majitha, February 16
Though the election is not being held in Bihar but the glimpses of caste and creed are discernible in this rural constituency during the electioneering. The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress held huge rallies of different sections of the Christian Front to mobilise the weaker sections.

Leaders of the two parties, while addressing their respective rallies to woo the Christians claimed that they were the ‘real friends’ of the Christians. They accused each other for attacks on Christians in the recent past.

Both parties tried to exploit government employees and ex-servicemen who are in good number in the constituency. While the SAD organised a rally of ex-servicemen at Chawinda Devi, the Congress held a rally of ex-servicemen at Tahli Wal today.

Addressing ex-servicemen, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said: “You have been fighting the external enemy, now it is the time to defeat the internal enemy on February 19 by voting against the Congress”.

During this election both parties have held a number of rallies in gurdwaras, temples and even churches to exploit the religious sentiments of the voters.

The two-week long campaign would end tomorrow in the evening. 

Both parties today spared no efforts to mobilise the voters. Mr Badal who had already covered all villages of the constituency today launched door-to-door campaign in Majitha. However, Capt Amarinder Singh, could cover only 100 villages as the Congress had launched the campaign late.

Mr Moti Lal Vora, senior Congress leader and in charge Punjab affairs, will come to Amritsar to address the party rally at Majitha.

However, the SAD and the Congress have mobilised voters to organise big rallies at Majitha tomorrow as a “show of strength”. The ruling party rally will be addressed by film actor Dara Singh, and Chief Ministers of Haryana and Himachal.

Parnit Kaur, wife of Captain Amarinder Singh who was scheduled to leave for Delhi tomorrow to attend the Parliamentary session said she would be camping here till the polling. She said she had taken this decision in view of the ‘muscle and money’ power being used by the ruling party. She said she would raise the point of violation of code of conduct on the floor of Parliament.

Meanwhile, leaders of both parties are making ‘last ditch’ efforts to make tall promises with the voters. While Mr Parkash Singh Badal promised that Majitha would be made the model constituency after his party’s success Mr Amarinder Singh promised to launch developmental activities from this constituency if Congress came to power after the next Assembly elections.Back



SDM manhandled, poll put off
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

MAUR MANDI (Bathinda), Feb 16
The elections for the post of president and vice-president of the local municipal council were postponed today after one of the municipal councillors, Mr Nirmal Singh, tore apart the ballot papers and manhandled the SDM-cum-returning officer, Mr Sukhminder Singh.

The election process which was started under heavy security arrangements came to an abrupt end when the returning officer declared it postponed after the municipal councillor backed by a senior ruling Akali leader tore apart the ballot papers after snatching them from Mr Sukhminder Singh.

The area where the elections were conducted, was converted into no-entry zone as nobody was allowed to move on that road. However, certain ruling Akali leaders were escorted inside the municipal council hall where the election process was going on.

Just five to seven minus before the start of elections at 11 am a mob entered the hall where the municipal councillors were sitting and beat up two municipal councillors who were opposing the candidate of that group which was backed by a senior functionary of the Shiromani Akali Dal. When the ballot papers were snatched from the returning officer by Mr Nirmal Singh the former suffered minor injuries when he tried to save the same. Mr Sukhminder Singh said he was hit in the ribs and he had also suffered injuries on the right thumb of his hand.

Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, MLA, Talwandi Sabo, who was also present in the municipal council hall, to cast his vote in his capacity as a legislator, alleged the police remained a mute spectator though members of the ruling Akali Dal entered the hall with firearms. He added that he was threatened inside the hall by the Akali workers but police officials did not take any action.

He pointed out the elections for the post of president and vice-president of the local municipal council were being conducted on the directive of the Punjab and Haryana High Court but the district administration deliberately postponed them when it came to know that Akali candidates would not be able to get elected.

He alleged that policemen who were deployed in large numbers in and around the town did not allow the Congress workers to enter the city while on the other hand, the Akali workers entered the municipal council hall freely. The Tribune team was also stopped at the entry point of the city by Sub-Inspector Sukhchain Singh and only allowed to proceed further after long persuasion. Traffic was not allowed on certain roads in and around the office of the municipal council.

Mr Sukhminder Singh when contacted said he had written in his report sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaspal Singh, that action needed to be taken. He added that Station House Officer (SHO), Maur Mandi, had also been directed to register criminal cases against the guilty persons. He added the elections were postponed as there was danger to peace.

He said the new date of elections would be announced by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaspal Singh. Back

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