Saturday, January 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD-BJP common programme awaited
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Though the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party are all set to release their manifestos for the February 13 assembly elections, their leadership is yet to meet to finalise a “common minimum programme”.

“We hope that we will have a meeting with the Shiromani Akali Dal leadership shortly to discuss and finalise a mutually acceptable or common minimum programme,” says Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, maintaining that all that was promised in “our last common minimum programme” has been implemented. The Common minimum programme acts as a balance between urban and rural sectors to ensure uniform growth and development of the state.

“In fact, it is the BJP which started its election campaign on a good note getting overwhelming response to its rath yatra. Some of the parties, including the Congress, were criticising us for starting our campaign so early. But now they themselves are planning a rath yatra. “One of the significant achievements of our ‘rath yatra’ has been that our workers at the grassroot level have been activated. At most of the places, it got overwhelming response with people braving the cold weather to receive the ‘yatris’ and the state leadership of the party,” says Professor Rinwa claiming that his party would “maintain, if not improve,” its tally of the 1997 elections.

“The list of candidates approved by the party high command not only includes a number of new faces but also gives due representation to various sections of society. We have given the party ticket to women, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes , teachers and ex-servicemen keeping in view various factors, including ‘winnability’ and image of the candidate,” he said.

Professor Rinwa said the party workers at the grassroot level were so enthusiastic that “our campaign started picking up even before others started.”

Unlike other parties, resentment shown by the aspirants who could not be accommodated was “minimal” compared to other parties. “Overall there is satisfaction over distribution of the party ticket,” he said maintaining that this was another factor which was in favour of the BJP.

Taking about the stand of the party over the Sutlej Yamuna link canal, Professor Rinwa said that there was no “surplus water in Punjab” and as such there was no question of allowing any water to be given to any other state.

“The BJP fully endorses the stand taken by the Punjab Government and its main alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal, in filing a review petition in the apex court. You cannot starve your own children by giving your bread to someone else. Punjab has its own requirement of water which was the lifeline of farmers of the State,” he added.

Professor Rinwa said final touches were being given to the election manifesto which would be ready in a day or two.


Zamindar-Dalit divide hard to circumvent
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
Mr Ram Singh, Mr Jeet and Mr Ramu are a perfect picture of inter caste interaction of present day Punjab. All the three seem perfectly at ease with each other when a journalist approaches them on the outskirts of Mardaheri village near Dakala in the district where Mr Ram Singh is getting some rooms constructed close to the road.

The ease with which they seem to be interacting with each other, however, ends as soon as politics is discussed Mr Ram Singh, the Jat farmer, when asked about the performance of the Badal Government says ‘’ it has done a lot for farmers besides other segments of society. Mr Jeet, a member of the Scheduled Castes, however, immediately interrupts him to say the government has done nothing for the downtrodden.

This conversation probably sums up the political position in Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts during a quick survey and could be the position elsewhere also. Long seething differences refuse to go. Even though the weaker sections have been given some concessions, including Rs 5,000 under the ‘’shagun’’ scheme for marriages of their daughters, they are still averse to voting for the Akalis, which is still perceived as a party of ‘zamindars’.

Besides caste equations, what comes out more often in most villages is the unfair allotment of the common village land which is mostly controlled by the ‘zamindars’. While this ensures that no shamlat land is available to the weaker sections to till, intense cropping in all common lands in villages is leading to Dalits facing problems even in answering the call of nature.

Mr Ram Singh tries to give the government a clean chit by relying on logic saying “Mr Badal is not responsible if the sarpanch did not allot land to you for building of houses” adding the performance of the government should be seen by the public works done by it saying the manner in which streets had been bricklined and drains established in the village was there for all to see. ‘’Even you have managed to come here easily due to the interest taken by Mr Harmail Singh Tohra, former Public Works Minister before Mr Badal parted ways with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra’’, he told The Tribune team.

However, all this and similar arguments in other villages in the district do not rub in with members of the Scheduled Castes, who feel they should have got much more from the present government. On the other side farmers are, by and large, happy with the Akali government. The party has earned a large amount of goodwill amongst the farming community by giving free power facility to farmers for agricultural operations. This, coupled with the efficient manner in which the government has handled successive procurement seasons, has gone well with the farming community.

Mr Badal may have done a lot for farmers and the Congress party may have a record for improving the lot of the Dalits, but this will not necessarily mean in transferring votes of both sections to the Akalis or the Congress. Mr Dharampal Singh of Kheri Barna in the district, feels Mr Badal has done a good job, and praised the manner in which farmers had been benefited and peace had been brought back to the state. However, in clear contrast he voted for the Congress candidate, Mrs Preneet Kaur in the last Lok Sabha elections. “I perceived the “Rani” to be a better candidate than both the Akali candidates and voted for her”, he said adding the better candidate could still get his vote even though he was naturally inclined to vote for the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Similar sentiments were expressed at Sirhind, where even though people were otherwise Akali minded, they felt inclined to vote for a better candidate because of the personal interaction. “While the policies of the government towards different sections of society will decide their general leanings, people have also started laying stress on the choice of candidate put up by the parties and his track record vis and vis interacting with them and being available for their small-time works”, said Arvind Gogi, a resident of Sirhind.


Chances even for Akalis, Cong
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, January 18
This erstwhile princely state has always proved to be a mixed bag for the two major political parties — the Akali Dal and the Congress — who, however, could never claim it to be their stronghold.

While two assembly segments, Kapurthala and Phagwara, have proved to be Congress strongholds, the other two, Bholath and Sultanpur Lodhi, have traditionally been citadels of the Shiromani Akali Dal with Akali stalwarts like Mr Sukhjinder Singh, the late Atma Singh and the late Balwant Singh retaining them most of the time.

Bholath has the distinction of being the highly publicised assembly segment due to the political feud between the family of Mr Sukhjinder Singh and a close associate of the Chief Minister, Bibi Jagir Kaur. While Mr Sukhjinder Singh, former associate of Mr Badal has been a familiar figure in the segment for a long time, now it is the turn of his son, Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira. Interestingly, while Mr Sukhjinder Singh retained the seat as an Akali leader, Mr Khaira has been the Congress nominee since 1997, when his father parted ways with Mr Badal. Though Mr Khaira had lost to Bibi Jagir Kaur in 1997 by a huge margin, he is now back in full steam and is hopeful of victory, particularly after Bibi Jagir Kaur was embroiled in the controversy shrouding the death of her daughter Harpreet. On the other hand, the supporters of the Bibi are confident due to considerable clout among the Lobana community, which is dominating in the segment. While there is no visible revolt against the Bibi, the Congress can face some problem as the party has denied the ticket to Mr Jagtar Singh Multani, another Lobana leader, a former Punjab minister and president of the All-India Lobana Sikh Sabha. Mr Multani was close to the late Beant Singh and had won the seat in 1992. Mr Multani is in a defiant mood and has shot off a letter to the AICC chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, alleging that the party had denied due representation to the Lobana Sikhs, who constitute 10 per cent of the state’s population. He has also urged Mrs Sonia Gandhi to review the decision. He has openly alleged that money played a big role in ticket allotment.

Phagwara, which has been a traditional Congress bastion, also presents a picture of internal strife as far as the party is concerned, as the leadership has fielded a comparatively new and lesser known face in Balbir Raja Sodhi, a businessman and a close confidant of senior Congress leader, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, after ignoring former minister Joginder Singh Maan, a protégé of former Union Minister Buta Singh. Agitated over the party decision to allot the ticket to a “novice” like Mr Sodhi, Mr Maan, who has considerable influence in Jat and Mazhbi Sikhs, is said to have decided to put up a banner of revolt by contesting the seat as an Independent. If this materialises, it could give a fillip to the sagging morale of the SAD-BJP candidate, Mr Swarna Ram, who, otherwise, could face the anti-incumbency factor, which is sweeping through the Doaba region of Punjab. In 1997, Mr Swarna Ram had defeated Mr Maan by about 26000 votes. The BSP has decided to field Mr Ashok, while the Shiv Sena candidate is likely to be Mr Harinder Bhagat.

Sultanpur Lodhi has been a traditional Akali seat, now retained by Punjab Minister Bibi Opinderjit Kaur, daughter of the late Atma Singh, who has been ruling the roost for a long time. This seat has one similarly with Bholath. Both Congress candidates, Mr Khaira from Bholath and Mr Rajanbir Singh from Sultanpur Lodhi, are sons of former senior Akali leaders. Mr Rajanbir Singh of the Congress is son of the late Punjab minister, Mr Balwant Singh. While the Bibi is sitting comfortably after the reported truce with rival Jaimal Singh, president of the Sultanpur Lodhi Municipal Council, Mr Rajanbir Singh may face some internal strife and the stigma of being an “outsider” for his long absence from the constituency from where he had also contested in 1997.

Kapurthala, another traditional Congress bastion, may see a one-to-one contest between Mr Raghbir Singh, the Punjab minister and senior Akali leader, and Rana Gurjit Singh Sodhi of the Congress, known for his proximity with the PPCC chief, Captain Amarinder Singh. Though Rana appears to be strong after rumours that former Punjab minister and Congress leader Gulzar Singh has finally thrown his weight behind him, he will have to tread cautiously.


CPM blames Badal government for all ills
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
Holding the SAD-BJP government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal responsible for bringing Punjab to the brink of the financial bankruptcy, the CPM has attacked the ruling alliance on the issue of corruption, unemployment, suicide by farmers and “sale” of posts. Making the failures of the SAD-BJP government the main theme of its 13-page manifesto, the CPM has appealed to voters to ensure the victory of the CPM and other secular parties in the fray. Declaring the “communal” SAD-BJP alliance its main “enemy”, the CPM has stated it would extend support to possible winnable candidates of secular parties in the areas where it has not fielded its own nominees. Urging for the restructuring of Centre-State relations, the CPM has asked for more powers to the states to strengthen the Indian federal system. It has asked for the immediate transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and justice to the state in the distribution of river waters. Taking a policy stand on this issue, the CPM has sought the solution of the river waters within the framework of the Rajiv-Longowal accord.

The CPM has sought steps to ensure the balanced and rapid industrialisation of the state and abandoning of the anti-people economic policies being pursued by the state government and the Centre. It has demanded more investment in the public sector and adequate allotment of funds and loans to save the small-scale industrial sector.

Recognising the importance of the agriculture sector, the CPM has urged for waiving of the Rs 5800 crore loans against farmers. It has vouched for the continuation of the minimum support price for various foodgrains produced by farmers. It has sought protection for farmers against the WTO regime and appropriate duty measures to stop cheap agricultural imports. It has demanded a minimum of Rs 5000 per month for industrial labour and ending of the contactor system.

The party has demanded special employment schemes like food for work, old age pension, plots to construct houses and streamlining of the public distribution system. The CPM sought more funds for raising the standard of education in rural areas.

Talking about political issues, the CPM has stated that the Badal government had failed to get Chandigarh for Punjab and resolve other political issues pending for the past three decades. In fact, the SAD had exposed itself on these issues by not taking up these at any level. The central leadership of the BJP is not ready to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab as is clear from the statements made by the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani. The SAD has supported the enactment of acts on the distribution of river waters in Parliament which go against the interest of Punjab, says the CPM manifesto. 


Victimised’ GND varsity Lecturer quits
Says ‘proper’ action not taken against guilty
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 18
An alleged victim of “sexual harassment” who was working as a Lecturer in one of the departments of Guru Nanak Dev University has resigned, thereby putting the authorities concerned in spot.

Confirming the resignation, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, however, said she had not assigned any reason in her letter. He said he had not received any complaint written by her to the Governor-cum-Chancellor of the university, copy of which had been mailed to the Vice-Chancellor in which she had given details of harassment by the former and present Head of the Department.

It may be mentioned that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had already taken suo motu action regarding certain cases of sexual harassment on the basis of two reports published in The Tribune. The university had been directed to submit its reply by January 21.

Earlier, following a complaint of the Lecturer, the Vice-Chancellor had reportedly directed the Senior Professor to resign. However, in his resignation, he had stated that he was “unable to continue” as Head of the Department on health grounds.

In her complaint to the Chancellor, the Lecturer had mentioned that she had to quit under protest as “proper” punishment was not given to those guilty. The complainant said she had joined the department as Lecturer on an ad hoc basis on September 4 last year. The then Head of the Department made “personal remarks of sexual nature and made advances”. She further alleged that “when I objected, he started sending me letters that I am not taking my classes”. The matter was brought to the notice of the Vice-Chancellor and Dean and he was removed from headship. She alleged that the new Head of the Department being a friend of the former head, “resorted to take revenge”. She said the new head even went to the extent of terminating her services.

She claimed that the charges against her that she was not attending the department were found to be “baseless” and she was reinstated from back date, adding that ‘circumstances forced me to resign”.

She has sought investigation in the cases related to sexual harassment.

However, when contacted, the former Head of the Department claimed that the complainant was not taking classes regularly. “When I took some action, she started levelling baseless allegations,” he claimed. He also said he was not forced to quit as Head of the Department on the basis of the complaint but had resigned on his own on health grounds.

The Vice-Chancellor said the resignation of the Lecturer had been accepted.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor has placed Mr Parmanand, Personal Assistant to Dean (Academic Affairs), under suspension following a preliminary inquiry by Mr S.S. Chhina, Security Officer, in connection with admissions to the MCA course.


CM seeks 174-cr relief for the displaced
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
In its bid to extend help to those who have migrated to safer places following tension on the Indo-Pak border, the Punjab Government has sought compensation to the tune of Rs. 174 crore from the Centre.

Thousands of residents of about 600 villages falling in Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozepore districts have been rendered homeless as they had to migrate to safer places for fear of war or for use of their fields by the Army causing huge financial loss to them and the labourers.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during his public rallies throughout the state had been clearing that he had taken up the matter with the Centre and apprised it of the situation in the border areas and problems being faced by people there.

The Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, has written a formal letter to the Defence Secretary, saying the state needed atleast Rs 174 crore, for disbursal among affected people in the shape of compensation. Mr Arora has already visited the affected areas for assessment of the ground situation. The letter, containing, the compensation disbursal proposal, said hundred of acres of the crop had been affected in about 600 villages falling in the three districts. The proposed compensation for damage to the crops should be Rs. 610 per quintal. The average yield of wheat crop has been assessed between 15 and 18 quintal per acre If in Gurdaspur, the average yield has been fixed at 15 quintal per acre, it has been estimated to be around 18 quintal per acre infertile lands of Ferozepore and Amristar districts.

The sources, said there was heavy migration, up to 95 per cent in about 50 villages of Amritsar district alone. The presence of the Army and their heavy vehicles could cause havoc to the crops. The Punjab Government has proposed that each of the displaced labourer should be given a compensation at the rate of Rs 80 per day. The sources maintained that another factor, apart from the fear of war, which was triggering migrations was large presence of jawans in the border villages and people, particularly elders, were averse to their long stay there for social reasons.


2 Babbar Khalsa activists arrested
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 18
The Ropar police has arrested two activists of the Babbar Khalsa who were allegedly trying to revive the activities of its group in the state. The SSP Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, while talking to this correspondent said the two accused were arrested during a routine naka near Rasoolpur village. On a tip-off a police team led by the Inspector, Mr Gurmail Singh of the local CIA branch, laid a naka near the village.

When a Maruti (CHK-9685) was signalled to stop, the two occupants of the car fired at the police party. The policemen, however, overpowered them without sustaining any injury.

Those arrested have been identified as Darshan Singh of Makaropur village and Gurpal Singh of Fatehpur village in Bassipathana. Two .38 bore Weblescot revolvers with nine cartridges have been recovered from the accused.

The SSP said after interrogation it was found that Darshan Singh was a close associate of a dreaded terrorist Amarjit Singh Jalandrian who was killed in a police encounter. After being released from Nabha Jail on April 24, 2001, he allegedly tried to revive the Babbar Khalsa outfit in the state. He also admitted that in order to revive terrorism in the state, Wadhwa Singh, the leader of the Babbar Khalsa outfit was constantly in touch with the Pakistani authorities. He was also trying to contact the ex-cadres and supporters of the outfit in the state, who could be motivated back into terrorism, the SSP said.

He also said more clues regarding the terrorist activists of Punjab were expected after further investigation into the case. A case under Sections 307/34 of the IPC and Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act had been registered against the accused.


Cong men quit over ticket issue
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, January 18
The Congress received a big jolt today when many office-bearers of the Hoshiarpur district and city units resigned from the party in protest against its failure to allot ticket to Mr Sunder Sham Arora, member, PPCC, from the Hoshiarpur Assembly segment.

At a meeting at the residence of Mr Arora, Mr Balraj Pal, Mr Surinder Pal and Mr Baldev Singh Bal, all secretaries of DCC, Mr Kasturi Lal, Mr Ashish Gandhi, Mr Baljit Singh, Mr Jaswinder Singh and Mr Avtar Singh, all secretaries of the city Congress, Mr Rakesh Marwaha and Mr Sanjay Sud, general secretaries of the city Congress, Mr Jatinder Kumar Saini, Mr Ashok Kumar, Mr Sohan Lal and Mr Ashok Chaudhry, all joint secretaries of the city Congress, Mr Sodhi Ram Bangar, Mr Arun Handa, Ms Paramjit Kaur and Mr Rajesh Happy, all vice-presidents of the city Congress, Mr Amit Bajaj, Mr Rajpal Kuthiala and Mr Romesh Kapur, all executive members, and 25 ward presidents of the city, along with their supporters, resigned from the primary membership of the Congress and announced their support to Mr Arora. Mr Arora will contest from Hoshiarpur as an Independent.

Congress workers, pro-Congress sarpanches and panches and leaders of various organisations who were present at the meeting also announced their support to Mr Arora.

Later, Mr Arora told mediapersons that out of 76 panchayats of the segment, sarpanches and panches of 55 panchayats were with him.

NAWANSHAHR: The local MLA and president of the district unit of SAD, Mr Jatinder Singh Kariha, and senior SAD leader Hardev Singh Kahma have joined hands in protest against the allotment of party ticket to Mr Resham Singh Thiara from Nawanshahr, with Mr Kahma deciding to contest as an Independent.

Meanwhile, Mr Surinder Jhalli, general secretary of the district unit of the Congress and a loyalist of Mr Kartar Singh Sekhon, president of the Congress district unit, resigned from the party and announced his support to Mr Kahma in protest against the denial of party ticket to his political mentor, Mr Jhalli made the announcement on the occasion of the inauguration of the election office of Mr Kahma on Friday. 


75 nominations filed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
A total of 75 new nominations to various Assembly constituencies were filed today, as per information released by the state election commission.

The Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Ms Usha R. Sharma, in her daily briefing today said that the Election Commission had cleared the transfer of four Inspectors-General of Police, two D.I-Gs, seven Superintendents of Police and 28 Deputy Superintendents of Police. The list has been sent to the state police for necessary action.

The commission has also given its approval to shift 15 Public Health and 10 Irrigation department executive engineers.

Meanwhile, the number of complaints alleging violation of the code of conduct have been received from several constituencies. Ms Sharma said the Commission, this time, had revised the criteria for declaring a polling station ‘’sensitive’’. Instead of four categories earlier, now there would be just two types of polling stations, ‘’sensitive’’ and ‘’normal’’ . As per this classification, out of a total of 10,525 polling stations, the number of ‘’sensitive’’ is 3,628. The list is headed by Jalandhar with 439 ‘’sensitive’’ stations.


PMLD, RJD release lists of candidates
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 18
The Punjab Masih Lok Dal (PMLD) today released a list of candidates for the Assembly elections.

Father Roby and the senior vice-chairperson of the PMLD, Ms Usha Sidhu, said at a press conference that Mr Satpal Sidhu, Mr Majid Masih, Master Bachan Masih and Mr Lawrence Chowdhry would contest from Dinanagar, Gurdaspur, Batala and Dasuha, respectively.

The party also released its manifesto which includes issues related to reservation quotas of BC, SC and ST, electricity connections to be free from security charges, 200 units of free power to those below the poverty line and special subsidy for farmers.

The manifesto also resolves to give the border area residents a priority for the ITI admissions.

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janta Dal, Punjab, also released the first list of candidates for Amritsar district. Mr Mukhtar Singh from Verka constituency, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhullar from Amritsar north, Mr Onkar Singh Dhotia from Amritsar west, Mr Harmeet Singh Lali from Amritsar south, Jathedar Jasbeer Singh from Amritsar central. Mr Kulbeer Singh from Jandiala, Mr Varinder Singh from Rajasansi and Mr Beer Singh will contest from Attari.


CPI asks Cong to curb dissidence
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Budhlada, January 18
“The Congress has to come down heavily to quell the large scale dissidence in various parts of the state following the distribution of assembly ticket,” says Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI.

He was in the city today and accompanied Comrade Hardev Arshi, the Cong-CPI candidate for the Budhlada Assembly constituency, to file his nomination papers. Present on the occasion were hundreds of CPI and Congress workers. However, conspicuous by their absence were the senior leaders of the local Congress.

Dr Dayal also said free and fair elections in the state were possible only if President’s rule was imposed. “How can free play be ensured where the Chief Minister is flouting all democratic norms with impunity and votes are being purchased with money? Officers have been instructed to browbeat Opposition workers into supporting the ruling regime. 


Dhindsa flays Cong remarks on SYL
Our Correspondent

Sunam, January 18
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals and Secretary General of the SAD, today, criticised the AICC treasurer and in charge of Punjab election affairs, Mr Moti Lal Vora, for his statement that if the Congress was voted to power in Punjab, it would complete the SYL Canal.

Mr Dhindsa said this on the occasion of filing the nomination paper by his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa for the Sunam Assembly constituency. Mrs Harjeet Kaur, wife of Mr Sukhdev Dhindsa filed her nomination paper as covering candidate for Mr Parminder Dhindsa.

Mr Dhindsa reiterated that the SAD would file a review petition with regard to the SYL Canal issue in the Supreme Court.


JD(U) releases list of 20 nominees
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 18
Mr Sukhchain Singh Tuli, Chairman, Parliamentary Board of the Punjab unit of the Janata Dal (United) in a press note issued here today released a list of 20 Janata Dal (United) nominees who would contest ensuing Assembly elections in Punjab on February 13.

According to Mr Tuli this decision was taken at a meeting of the selection committee held at Ludhiana recently.

Mr Jaspal Singh Kapoor will be JD(U) nominee from Amritsar (South). Dr Amarjeet Kaur will contest from Amritsar (North), Mr Amritbeer Singh Gulati from Patiala, Mr Sukhchain Singh Bedi from Rajpura, Mr Labh Singh from Ghanaur, Mr Mehar Singh Devgan from Ludhiana (rural), Mr Sanjeev Kumar Sharma from Ludhiana (East), Mr Anoop Singh Badru from Ferozepur city, Mr Ranjha Singh from Lambi, Master Chuni Lal from Malout, Mr Yashpaul from Dhuri, Mr Harjit Singh Mann from Bhadaur (reserve), Mr Karnail Singh from Jalalabad, Mr Surinder Sharma from Kapurthala, Mr J.D. Nanda from Gurdaspur, Mr Sarwan Singh from Chamkaur Sahib, Mrs Gurmail Kaur from Kharar, Dr Dhani Ram from Anandpur Sahib and Mr Rajinder Kumar from Barnala and Mr Vikram Singh from Jalandhar city. 


Randhawa, Mann file papers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
Senior Congress leader and a former minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, and a former District Congress (rural) chief, Mr Harinderpal Singh Mann, who resigned from the party to contest as an independent, filed their nomination papers here today from Ghanaur and Samana Assembly constituencies, respectively.

Both Mr Randhawa and Mr Mann entered the city today at the head of huge cavalcades to file the papers. Mr Randhawa was accompanied by the Patiala MP Ms Preneet Kaur. After filing his papers, Mr Randhawa said he was confident of being returned from the Ghanaur seat. He said he had provided the youth of the area with a large number of employment opportunities.


I’m not an outsider: Bir Devinder
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 18
The Congress candidate from the Kharar seat, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today said he was trying to sort out differences with the dissidents in the party, who had sought the party ticket from Kharar. Mr Singh, who kicked off his campaign in the town, said he would try his best to bring the dissidents back into the party fold.

He said it was the party which had given identity to the leaders. Talking to mediapersons, he said the AICC treasurer, Mr Moti Lal Vohra, had assured him that the decision of allotting the ticket to him would not be reviewed. Replying to the charge of being an outsider, he said that he had taken a house in the town and would continue to be among the people of the constituency.

Listing his priorities, he said he would work for revival of closed industrial units like Punwire, launch development schemes and put pressure on the government to amend the Periphery Act. He said the occupants of the housing board flats would be allowed to increase the covered area of their houses by amending the bylaws. He dismissed any threat from the dissidents fighting election on a ticket of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Mr Singh said he was keeping an eye of the officials of the administration who were trying to help the SAD candidate from Kharar. “ The administration should hear to the voice of the masses and adopt a neutral approach”. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today visited the Phase 7 party office which was inaugurated by a former president of the local civic body, Mr H.S. Billa. Later he opened another election office in Phase 3B2 here.

Our Correspondent from Kharar adds: While inaugurating an election office at Kharar, the Congress candidate from Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today said he was not an outsider as he belonged to Bassi Pathana. He said the dissidents protesting against his candidature would become silent on their own. He further said he had stood against terrorists when militancy was at its peak. He said he was a staunch Congress worker and would not do anything against the wishes of the high command.


Protest against ‘outsider’ nominee
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 18
To protest against the allotment of ticket for the Kharar assembly constituency by the Congress to “an outsider” about 2,000 supporters of Mr Harnek Singh Gharuan, a former MLA and member of the PPCC, marched in a procession in his support here today.

Among others, the rally was led by Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur, wife of Mr Gharuan. The rally started from the office of Mr Mehar Singh, president, Block Congress Committee, Kharar, who recently resigned from the Congress, and passed through various parts of Kharar. A large number of panches, sarpanches and prominent persons took part in the rally.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Natrajan Kaushal, general secretary, who recently resigned from the Congress, alleged that although 68 per cent population favoured Mr Gharuan, the ticket had been allotted to an outsider, Mr Bir Devinder Singh. He said that in spite of assurances given to them, the ticket was denied.

He said that Mr Gharuan would contest the Kharar seat as an Independent and this would be for the first time that an Independent candidate would win the Kharar seat.

He said that Mr Bir Devinder Singh had already lost two elections. He said that residents of Kharar would never accept him.


Brahampura files nomination papers
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, January 18
Mr Ranjit Singh Brahampura, Minister for Co-operation, Punjab, today filed his nomination papers here. Mr Brahampura is the SAD candidate from Naushehra Pannuan. Besides Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur, MP, hundreds of supporters were with Mr Brahampura when he filed his nomination papers.


Party poll offices opened
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 18
The SAD general secretary and the Finance and Planning Minister of Punjab, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today opened two election offices at Lalru and Dera Bassi for the forthcoming elections for the Banur assembly constituency.

The minister was given a warm welcome by party workers when he reached within the Dera Bassi municipal limits on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway. He was escorted to the election office near the State Bank of Patiala on the highway.


Sacked panchayat secys’ plea
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 18
Members of the Farag Panchayat Secretaries Union led by its state president, Mr Ravinder Singh, were stopped while trying to reach the venue of a public meeting of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, here today.

Talking to the mediapersons, Mr Ravinder Singh said services of 545 panchayat secretaries, who had been in service for almost six years, were terminated by the state government following an order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The secretaries were agitating for their reinstatement, he said. The police took three demonstrators into custody following which the agitating secretaries also staged a dharna and blocked the traffic before the Mansa City police station.

Unemployed B.Ed teachers also raised slogans against the state government when the cavalcade of the Chief Minister passed near the bus stand today. Mr Badal addressed a series of election meetings at Mansa, Budhlada and Sardulgarh in the district today.


Kirtan darbar by SPICMACAY
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 18
More than 2,000 students from all over Punjab participated in “Gurmat sangeet kirtan darbar at Manzi Sahib Diwan Hall in the Golden Temple complex here today.

The kirtan was organised by SPICMACAY in collaboration with the SGPC to mark its silver jubilee celebrations.

Traditional “tanti” instruments like surmandal, tanpura, sarangi and the diliuba used by Bhai Nirmal Singh, Bhai Jaswant Singh and Bhai Suba Singh.

Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, General Secretary SGPC, said it was a step in the right direction. 


Acting Jathedar of Damdama Sahib

Bathinda, January 18
Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Manjit Singh here today took over as acting Jathedar of Damdama Sahib, the fifth takht of Sikhs. Damdama Sahib Jathedar Kewal Singh had resigned last week after he was refused bail by a local court in a murder case. Jathedar Kewal Singh had been facing a charge of murder in connection with the death of his daughter-in-law Sharanjit Kaur. PTI


BKU leader among 6 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 18
Six persons, including Mr Budh Ram Bishnoi, organising secretary of the district unit of the BKU, were injured when a motor cycle and scooter collided on the Karakhera-Raipur link road here yesterday. Mr Bishnoi got multiple injuries and his condition at civil hospital here was stated to be serious. Other injured were identified as Mr Mehamjit Singh, Mr Vakil Singh, Mr Billu Ram, Mr Jagdish Chander and Mr Bal Ram Singh.


69 observers deployed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 18
A total of 69 observers is proposed to be deployed in the 117 Assembly constituencies of Punjab going in for elections in February. The Election Commission has sent 17 observers in advance for coordinating EVM arrivals and their movement within the state.

While an average of four observers per district will be deployed in the 17 districts of the state, in some small districts there will be two to three observers. Each observer will generally cover a minimum of three Assembly constituencies. Of the 69 observers, 42 would be general observers and 27 expenditure Observers. general observers are drawn from the IAS and expenditure observers are drawn from the IRS and Customs & Excise Service.

In the four states going to the polls, a total of 428 observers are proposed to be deployed. This includes 36 observers for byelections.


Four central observers  for Muktsar
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, January 18
Four central observers have been appointed for the district for conducting the February 13 elections. These are Mr Sanjeev Saran (electronic voting machines), Mr N.R. Banerjee and Mr T.S. Appa Rao (both general observers) and Mr Rajesh Kundan (expenditure).

Mr Babu Lal, District Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a meeting of polling staff and members of political parties said here today that Mr Saran had arrived in the district. If anyone wanted to meet him in connection with the elections he could contact him at Gidderbaha Rest House. He could also be contacted at phone number 01637-31824, he added.

Those who attended the meeting included Mr Sanjeev Saran, central observer, Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, Mr Rahul Bhandari, ADC (D), Mr Vikas Garg, Election Officer (Malout), Mr Bhupinderjeet Singh, Election Officer (Muktsar) and Mr Amrit Talwar, ADEO.

Mr Babu Lal said 582 polling booths had been set up in the district. Out of these 457 were in the rural area while the rest in the urban area. As many as 2,688 presiding and polling officers had been appointed.

For educating the polling staff about the use of EVMs and polling process, two polling rehearsals would be held at Muktsar, Malout, Lambi and Gidderbaha at the respective Assembly segments, he added.

He said as per the instructions of the Election Commission all printing press owners in the district had been asked to give information regarding the material published by them in connection with the elections.

Mr Babu Lal said no one would be allowed to deface the public property by writing slogans or pasting posters, paintings, cut-outs etc on it.


80 polling stations supersensitive
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 18
The District Electoral Officer has identified at least 80 supersensitive polling stations in the five assembly segments — Morinda, Kharar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and Nangal — in the Ropar segment. The number of sensitive booths in the Ropar district were 117.

The number of non-sensitive polling stations in the Ropar district are 340. According to information available, the maximum number of supersensitive polling stations, 21, were in the Morinda assembly segment. The supersensitive polling stations in Kharar, Chamkaur Sahib, Anandpur Sahib and Nangal were 12, 19, 18 and 10, respectively.

In the Kharar assembly segment, the number of polling stations were 121. The total number of polling booths were 203.

Meanwhile, on the directions of the Election Commission, the district police is regularly monitoring the election-related offences. The ASP, Mr Kalpana D Nayak, said a special check was being kept on the distribution of liquor among voters by political parties. A check on the arms licence holders was also being undertaken.


Ban on posters
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 18
In view of the forthcoming Assembly elections, the Sangrur District Magistrate, Mr Sarvjit Singh, has ordered that no person shall deface public or private property by pasting posters or painting slogans without a written consent of the owner.

The District Magistrate has also ordered that no person will use loudspeakers atop vehicles or otherwise without the written permission of the authorities concerned.

No permission will be given for time between 10 pm and 7 am. Permission will also not be granted for the use of loudspeakers near educational institutions and hospitals.

The carrying of firearms has also been banned. These orders will remain in force till February 28.


Policeman’s wife found murdered
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 18
The wife of a head constable, Mr Paramjit Singh, was today found murdered at their residence.

According to sources, Mr Paramjit Singh reached the Nangal police station, where he was posted, at about 8.30 a.m. after leaving his two children at school. His wife, Tripta Devi, was alone at their residence in Nangal township.

When the children returned from school at about 1.30 p.m. they found the house bolted from inside. After the door was forced open with the help of neighbours, Tripta Devi was found lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood.

The police later found a hammer stained with blood from the roof of the house.


Sacked ASI held on theft charge
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 18
The Bathinda Police has arrested a dismissed policeman for his alleged involvement in the theft of vehicles.

Police sources said the accused Shashi Atwal, an ASI with the Punjab Police, who was dismissed from service for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of narcotics by the district police authorities, was arrested today. Two stolen vehicles were also recovered from his possession.

Shashi Atwal was booked by the police for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of narcotics alongwith another ASI, Surinder Thakur. Both accused were arrested and placed under suspension. They were later dismissed from service. The District police chief, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, said a case had been registered in this connection and further investigations were on. 


Punjab to have 5 more Navodaya Vidyalayas
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 18
Punjab will have five more Navodaya Vidyalayas in Mansa, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana and Faridkot districts this year, said Mr S.P. Gaur, Commissioner, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, while laying the foundation stone of the regional office building in Sector 31 here today.

The vidyalayas, mainly meant for rural students, had been doing a great job with 87 per cent result success, said Mr Gaur, adding that this year the school authorities were targeting at 95 per cent result success.

“To achieve our target we have already implemented the system of holding two pre- board tests and on the basis of the results the weak points of students are later taken care of by experts with individual attention,” he added.

The vidyalayas, which emphasised on the overall personality development of the students had also introduced a migratory system for class IX students in which they got an opportunity to study in the state of their choice for one year, Mr Gaur said.

The vidyalayas were providing better infrastructure than most public schools and though every year more than five lakh students sat for the entrance test, the authorities had been following strict guidelines in the admission policy, said Mr Gaur. Of the total students were 78 per cent belonged to the rural category, 23 per cent SCs and 15 per cent STs, he added.

Mr Gaur later spoke on “Inter-personal relationship — a key to success” at an orientation programme for principals which was organised by Navodaya Leadership Institute in Sector 25 here. The orientation programme was attended by 31 principals from all over the country.


Admit migrants’ wards, schools told
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, January 18
The district administration has urged the government to change the dates of examination of primary, secondary and senior secondary classes keeping in view the large-scale migration of people from the border areas.

According to an official press note issued here today, Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, said: “He has requested the Secretary Education, Ministry of Punjab, to change the dates of examinations so that the prospects of students do not get affected.”

In an order passed by the administration today, all school heads of the district have been asked to accommodate children of migrated families in their respective areas of short stay. School heads have also been asked not to take any kind of tuition or admission fees from these students.


Varsity told to stop appointments
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 18
The Punjab Education Department issued a notice here today to Punjabi University to stop all appointments in view of the model code of conduct for the Assembly elections.

Sources said a communication in this regard was received by the university management from the Secretary Education. The notice asked it to put all appointments on hold, including those in pipeline under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS).

The university management has been conducting interviews ever since the model code of conduct was enforced. The university administration had earlier said it had asked for a clarification from the State Election Commission on the issue. Following this, the university had put a clause in all appointment letters that the appointments were subject to ratification by the SEC.

Meanwhile, the university Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, said the Secretary-Education had sent him a copy of the code and there would be no promotion or appointment till the elections continued.

The VC, also said the university could not take cognizance of the model code of conduct until it received instructions in this regard. He said only a few appointments had been made after the promulgation of the model code.

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