Wednesday, January 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Badal, Amarinder file papers as 484 candidates enter poll fray
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and some members of his Council of Ministers, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Commitee (PPCC) chief, Capt Amarinder Singh; the leader of the BJP Legislative Party, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon; and the Bahujan Samaj Morcha chief, Mr Satnam Kainth, were among the 484 candidates who filed their nomination papers for various Assembly seats in Punjab on the fifth day of filing of nominations today.

The number of nominations filed so far touched the 450-mark this evening as more reports were still pouring in. Until the start of nominations this morning, only 153 candidates had entered the fray . The nominations close tomorrow. The scrutiny of nominations will take place on January 23 and January 28 is the last date for withdrawal of nominations.

A visible show of strength by taking out candidates in huge processions and over enthusiasm of party workers marked the resumption of filing of nominations after a break of two days. Though the length of the processions taken out by candidates and their supporters were far bigger than the permitted limits, the Election Commission has decided to take cognizance of all those who violated the norms.

At numerous places all over Punjab, vehicular traffic came to a standstill as the candidates and their processions were stopped, garlanded and even weighed in “ladoos”. The majority of the candidates started only after performing religious ceremonies besides paying their obeisance at historic gurdwaras, temples, mosques and even churches throughout the state.

Members of the general public were put to a lot of inconvenience in old towns with narrow streets and heavy vehicular traffic. According to an estimate, of the 484 candidates who filed their nominations, more than 200 of them had 50 or more vehicles in their processions before they moved to the offices of their respective Returning Officers. Normally, the Election Department makes video recording of all candidates filing their nomination papers.

Even the “rebels” and “dissidents” made a big show of their “strength and popularity” to serve a “last-minute warning to the top echelons of their respective parties” for reconsidering their decisions.

At places, the candidates, including the PPCC chief, were virtually mobbed and profusely garlanded by over-enthusiastic party supporters and workers en route, who threw security norms to the winds. The PPCC chief was weighed against “ladoos” at several places. Capt Amarinder Singh filed his papers from Patiala Town assembly. He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Perneet Kaur, MP, son, daughter-in-law, and daughter besides other family members, including brother and senior leaders of the Patiala District Congress Committee.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, accompanied by his wife, Mrs Surinder Kaur, and son, Sukhbir, filed his papers from Lambi constituency. Mr Badal, cheered by hundreds of his supporters, party leaders and workers, arrived in his wheel chair and went to the office of the Returning Officer amidst shouting of “Bole so Nihal, Sat Siri Akal”.

Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Cabinet Minister for Industries and Local Government, also came in a big procession to file his nomination papers from the Rajpura seat. Besides the SGPC chief, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar , a large number of BJP workers were present when Mr Tandon filed his papers.

In Tarn Taran, the Punjab Excise Minister, Mr Adesh Partap Singh, filed his papers for the Patti seat as a SAD nominee.

Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu filed her nomination papers as the SAD nominee for the Chamkaur Sahib Assembly seat. Others who filed their nomination papers in Ropar today included SAD nominee for Anandpur Sahib, Mr Tara Singh Ladal, and Mr Shamsher Singh Rai, a dissident Congress leader for Chamkaur Sahib seat. Mrs Sandhu is a Minister in the Council of Ministers of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

At Samrala, Mr Amrik Singh of the Congress was taken in a huge procession from historic Ranwan Sahib gurdwara. At Qila Raipur, Mrs Gurdial Kaur Khangura filed her papers as a Congress candidate. In Faridkot, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, also a Congress candidate, filed his papers.

Seven nomination papers were filed at Samana. Prominent of these were Mr Brahm Mohindra of the Congress and Mr Surjeet Singh Rakhra of the SAD.

Mr Jagdish Sawhney of the BJP filed his papers from Batala after he was taken out in a huge procession by the SAD-BJP workers from Dharampura Bazar. In Phagwara, the Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Ch Swarna Ram, was among seven candidates who filed their papers. Mr Joginder Singh Mann of the Congress also filed his papers from the same constituency.

Dr Harbans Lal (Congress), Mr Randhir Singh Cheema, a rebel SAD leader, and Mr Didar Singh Bhatti (SAD) were among the 14 candidates who filed their nomination papers at Fatehgarh Sahib. All these three candidates came in huge processions to the office of the Returning Officer.

In Kapurthala, 36 candidates filed their nomination papers. Prominent among them was Mr Malwinder Singh Chahal, a Congress rebel, besides Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, the Congress candidate for the Bholath seat.Back


Cong to change 3 nominees
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 22
The Congress is understood to have decided to change three candidates in Punjab.

Though there has been a strong demand for change in over 10 seats with several contenders camping at the AICC to narrate their grievances, the high command has remained tightlipped. However, tomorrow being the last date of filing nominations, it is learnt that the high command has decided to change candidates in Phagwara, Amritsar Central and Raja Sansi constituencies.

While the party ticket from Phagwara is now believed to have been given to Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Prof Darbari Lal is the likely party candidate from Amritsar Central and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sukhsarkaria from Raja Sansi.Back

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