P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD to release poll manifesto today
Tribune News Service

Dhuri (Sangrur), April 20
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), today stated that the SAD would release its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections at Ludhiana tomorrow.

However, Mr Badal declined to give details of the poll manifesto at this juncture. He claimed that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would have to go behind bars as he and his government were “corrupt”. He said Capt Amarinder Singh had been levelling corruption charges against the Akalis, but his own Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, had levelled such charges against him. Mr Badal said the Chief Minister should come forward to order an inquiry into these charges.

Mr Badal was here in connection with an election rally organised for Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, the SAD candidate from the Ropar (reserved) parliamentary constituency.

Among others who attended the rally included Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, general secretary of the SAD, Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, the Dhuri MLA, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, the Sherpur MLA, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, general secretary of the SAD, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, SAD candidate from the Ropar Lok Sabha seat, Chaudhary Abdul Gaffar, a former Punjab minister and Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, district president of the SAD.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhalwan, an SGPC member, and Mr Iqbal Singh Jhoondan, a senior SAD leader, were among those who addressed the rally.


Kanwaljit accuses CM of promoting corruption
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 20
Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD candidate from the Patiala Parliamentary constituency, has accused the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of promoting corruption and nepotism in the state during his two-year regime.

He alleged that the present government had failed on all fronts and its only contribution was generation of unemployment and reverting back positive decisions taken by the Akali Dal government for the welfare of people in the state.

Addressing a series of meetings in 12 villages of the Dakala Assembly segment, near here, today he claimed that Mrs Preenet Kaur, wife of Capt Amarinder Singh and MP in the just dissolved Lok Sabha from Patiala, had not uttered even a single word in Parliament during her five-year term. “What can the people of the Patiala constituency expect from a person from the royal family who never met them after getting elected” he questioned.


Preneet wins over dissidents
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 20
After a slow start and dissidence within the party, Congress candidate Preneet Kaur seems to be getting her act together by ensuring the presence of disgruntled Congressmen at election rallies. The Congress candidate’s campaign is also set to get another boost with Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, slated to attend a rally being organised by the party in the city on April 22.

The Congress candidate had suffered a setback last week when party legislator Raj Khurana virtually instigated people at a public function not to vote for the Congress candidate. This, coupled with the total absence of Mrs Bhattal from the constituency, had also affected her campaign.

Now even as Mrs Bhattal is set to join the election campaign, there are indications that Mr Raj Khurana, may also be won over. Mr Khurana, who was spewing venom against “feudals” a short while back, claimed that he would campaign for the party if asked to do so, during an interaction with TNS recently.

There is some improvement in the Ghanaur constituency also. Here the party was divided into three groups - one of party legislator and minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa, another of zila parishad vice-president Thekadar Madan Lal and a fringe group of wine contractor Balwinder Singh Safdipur.

While Mr Randhawa was earlier touted to be lukewarm towards the campaign of Mrs Preneet Kaur, Mr Safdipur was stated to be very “disappointed” with the party for a variety of reasons. The Congress candidate was able to get all three leaders, who had vowed to campaign separately for her, on a common platform yesterday at Ghanaur.

Meanwhile, sources said Mrs Preneet Kaur had also started getting help from supporters of SAD leader and former Patiala MP Prem Singh Chandumajra. The Akali leader, who has won twice from the constituency, was replaced with Capt Kanwaljit Singh this time by the party.

Sources said Mr Chandumajra had been sulking since more than a fortnight as he had been completely ignored by Capt Kanwaljit Singh. They said Mr Chandumajra had not been approached to campaign in Patiala by the SAD candidate and was presently campaigning in other constituencies.

They said due to this, Mr Chandumajra’s supporters were veering to the Congress campaign. The sources said nearly 50 supporters of the Akali leader joined the Congress candidate’s poll campaign at Sheikhupura village in the Ghanaur Assembly segment yesterday. The workers, including former sarpanches and panches, were presented ‘siropas’ on the occasion by Mrs Preneet Kaur.

The Congress was meanwhile trying to put up a good show on April 22, when a rally was being organised by the party in the Vir Haqiqat Rai School ground, its Central Election Office in charge Sant Ram Singla disclosed.

Mr Singla, who is also the Chairman of the Mandi Board, said after the rally, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh would proceed a procession which would move to the office of the Deputy Commissioner to file the nomination papers of Mrs Preneet Kaur.


Superintendent of Police ‘campaigning’ for Preneet
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 20
The district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked the Chief Election Commission (CEC) to take action against Mr Gurnam Singh Mehra, Superintendent of Police, posted as Commandant, Commando Training Centre, Bahadurgarh, for openly canvassing for Ms Preneet Kaur, the Congress candidate from the Patiala constituency.

SAD district president Kashmir Singh Mavi alleged that Mr Mehra had got an assurance that after the elections, he would be posted as Senior Superintendent of Police in charge of the district. He said Mr Mehra organised a public function at his official residence in support of Ms Preneet Kaur last week. He said the commission had issued specific instructions that no public function should be organised in any government building or residence provided by the government.

The SAD leader said Ms Preneet Kaur not only attended the function hosted by Mr Mehra, but also took his help for her poll campaign. He added that this amounted to a corrupt practice under the Representation of People Act.

Mr Mavi further alleged that hundreds of people, including staff and members of the commando force, were invited to the function. He said at the function, Mr Mehra delivered a speech in favour of Ms Preneet Kaur and appealed to the people to support and vote for her.


Despite contest, Cong will win, says Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 20
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, said in a press conference here today that though the contest between the Congress-led secular front and SAD-BJP combine was going to be tough in the Lok Sabha elections, yet the majority of seats would be won by the Congress.

He said 60 to 70 per cent promises made by his party during the last Assembly elections in Punjab had been fulfilled and the remaining would be implemented very shortly. He said the Congress would take up corruption issue in the poll. Corruption cases against 300 government officers and politicians were in various stages of investigation.

Replying to a question, he said he had made sincere efforts to root out corruption from the government machinery in which he had succeeded to some extent. He sought cooperation from the public in this regard.

While briefing achievements of his government he said the PSEB, which had been running under a loss of Rs 1,750 crore, had started earning profit. It had earned profit of Rs 100 crore during 2003-2004.

Later, while addressing a joint election rally of CPM-Congress workers at Roshan Ground, Capt Amarinder Singh criticised Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, former Congress MP from Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency, for resigning from the party and contesting on BSP ticket now.

Mr Harkishan Singh Surjeet said the NDA government led by the BJP was posing a great threat to the unity and integration of the country. 


Amarinder fails to attend rally
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Disappointment prevailed among the Congress and the CPI workers when they came to know that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was to address a joint workers’ rally here on the occasion of filing of nomination of alliance candidate, Ms Kushal Bhora, had cancelled his programme at the last moment.

The Chief Minister, who flew from Hoshiarpur in a chopper after attending a function in connection with the nomination of the Congress-CPM alliance candidate, Mr Darshan Singh Matoo, for attending the Bathinda function, reportedly diverted his flight towards Patiala. After attending the rally at Bathinda, the Chief Minister was to meet the head of a religious dera.

After waiting for the Chief Minister in the local Circuit House, the Congress-CPM joint leadership, including Dr Joginder Dyal, state secretary, CPI, Mr Hardev Arshi, former deputy leader of the opposition, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Chairman Markfed, and Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman, high-powered finance committee, Punjab, along with others went to the office of the returning officer to file nomination papers of Ms Bhora and later attended the rally.

Ms Bhora, in the affidavits submitted along with her nomination papers to the RO, claimed that she owned two houses — one in Bathinda town and another at Malerkotla. She said that she also owned 50 gm gold and was having Rs 2,30,261 in her bank account. She added that she was to pay Rs 4.71 lakh to a bank in the loan account.

When asked why the CPI had entered into an electoral alliance with the Congress when the Congress leader got two MLAs of the CPI defeated and take them into the Congress fold, Dr Dyal said the next Assembly elections would provide answer to this question.

Meanwhile, residents of some localities of this town had a tough time as the vehicular traffic was closed on a section of Mall Road by the police, which was deployed in a large number.


Factionalism may mar Cong chances
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 20
Factionalism among Congress leaders of the district may mar the chances of party candidates in the area in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The chasm among the Congress leaders is such they are openly venting ire against each other on political stages rather than campaigning for the party candidates.

The most recent incident was a statement issued by the vice-president of the District Congress Committee, Mr Rajiv Bhanot, alleging that the Minister for Grievances, Transport and Cooperation, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, was helping a former Congress MP’, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, who was now contesting the elections as a BSP candidate from the Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency.

At a meeting held at Nurpurbedi, the area of Mr Sharma, members of the District Congress Committee, including the president, Mr Amarjeet Singh Saini, and supporters of Mr Sharma openly levelled allegations against each other in the presence of the CPM Secretary, Mr Harkishen Singh Surjeet, who had come three to garner support for his party’s nominee, Mr Darshan Singh Mattu.

Mr Saini and his supporters had to leave the meeting in a huff even after the minister supported allegations levelled by the supporters on the latter.

Many block Congress-level leaders and municipal councillors of the Nangal and Ropar municipal council openly attended a meeting organised by Mr Channi and pledged suppot in his favour. Four Congress leaders from the Nurpurbedi area also joined the BSP in Mr Channi’s favour recently.

Sources said many more were likely to join the BSP in his favour. On April 23, when Ms Mayawati would address a rally for the party’s candidate at Hoshiarpur. Mr Channi was also openly claiming that most of the Congressmen from the Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency were supporting him as they were averse to the Congress surrendering theseat to the CPM.

Sensing trouble, the senior leaders of the Congress in the district, including the Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), Mr K.P.S. Rana, have issued warning that any Congressmen found supporting Mr Channi would be expelled from the party for a period of six years. However, the warning has had little effect on the Congressmen, who are either levelling allegations against each other rather campaigning for the CPM candidate from the area.


CPM-Cong candidate files nomination
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, April 20
Mr Darshan Singh Mattu field his nomination papers as the CPM-Congress candidate for the Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency here today. He was accompanied by Mr Harkishan Singh Surjeet, General Secretary, CPM, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, PPCC, Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mr Romesh Dutt Sharma, Minister for Removal of Grievances and Pensions, local leaders of the CPM and the Congress and workers of both parties. They came to the office of the District Election Officer in a procession from the Roshan ground, where a rally was held before the filing of nomination papers.

Tight security arrangements had been made in the bazaars through which the procession passed. Heavy police force had been deployed in and around the district courts complex, where the office of the District Election Officer is located. Mr Sadhu Singh also filed his nomination papers as an Independent candidate.

Mr Mattu has only Rs 2,500 in hand and his wife has Rs 1,000, according to an affidavit furnished by him along with his nomination papers. His wife has gold ornaments weighing 60 grams. He has an LIC policy for Rs 50,000 and a jeep. He has four acres of agricultural land and 1.5 kanals of non-agricultural land in his village, Garhi Matto. He has a seven-marla house in the village. The cost of his agricultural land is Rs 24 lakh. Loans of Rs 1 lakh of the Punjab and Sind Bank, Garhshankar, and Rs 30,000 of the Cooperative Society, Garhi Matto, are outstanding in his name.


UCPI to support Cong-CPI combine
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 20
The Punjab unit of the United Communist Party of India (UCPI) has decided to support the Congress and Communist Party of India (CPI) candidates to ensure the defeat of SAD-BJP nominees from all parliamentary constituencies in the coming Lok Sabha poll in Punjab.

The decision was taken at a meeting held here yesterday. Senior leaders of the party from eight districts in the state attended it.

Mr Sukhinder Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary of the Central Committee of the party, presided overit. In a press note issued here today, he said the meeting felt that though the senior leaderships of both the Congress and CPI had made seat adjustments but they had failed to make any strategy to knit a front of all secular forces which wanted to defeat the SAD-BJP combine in the elections.

Mr Ranjit Singh would look after the party interests in the Chandigarh constituency said Mr Dhaliwal would campaign throughout the state.


Khanna blames Cong for ’84 riots
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 20
Union Minister of State for External Affairs and BJP candidate from Gurdaspur Vinod Khanna at a rally at Niarri village in Dhar block near here today said people especially Sikhs had not forgotten when Sikh were killed and their property was destroyed in anti-Sikh violence in 1984. The Congress has fielded those leaders allegedly responsible for anti Sikh violence riots.Now the party has fielded leaders like Mr Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar.

Mr Khanna questioned Congress candidate Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder own contributions of the state government for the construction of Naushehra bridge and civil airport at Pathankot. He promised a stadium for Gurdaspur.


Sehajdharis’ body backs Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Punjab Sehajdhari Sikh Federation today urged all Sehajdhari Sikhs to vote for the Congress in the state and elsewhere in the country.
Addressing a press conference at Punjab Congress Bhavan here, Mr Paramjit Singh Ranu, president of the federation, said that the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP had played a major role in denying the right to vote to the Sehajdhari Sikhs in the SGPC elections.

He said that the victory of the BJP was not in the interest of the Sikhs. The RSS had been interfering in the affairs of the Sikhs in many ways. The minorities were feeling unsafe in the BJP-led NDA rule at the Centre, he added.


Cong-CPI flags removed from roundabouts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
The Returning Officer ordered the removal of plastic flags of the Congress-CPI combine from roundabouts and electric poles after the Shiromani Akali Dal complained about this violation of the Model Code of Conduct to the election observers and to him today before noon.

Though the Returning Officer ordered the removal of plastic flags of the Congress and CPI from roundabouts and electric poles immediately after he got the complaint, the same were removed only after the joint rally held by both the parties here was over.


Corruption to be poll plank of SAD(A)
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, SAD (Amritsar), today said that corrupt practices indulged in by politicians would be the main poll plank of his party.
Mr Mann, who was here today in connection with the filing of nomination papers of his party candidate, Mr Sarbjit Singh, from the Bathinda (reserve) parliamentary constituency, said that while corruption by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was a blot on the face of the Akali and Sikh culture, the Congress was not behind in this respect, “as it made one of its corrupt ministers Rajinder Kaur Bhattal the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab”.

The Akali leader, while addressing a big rally, claimed that Mr Badal and his associates brought disgrace to the Akali and Sikh culture, while the SAD (Amritsar) saved the real culture of the Akalis. He also claimed that by carrying out development in Sangrur, the SAD (A) had set up a role model in Punjab. A large number of persons accompanied Mr Sarbjit Singh to the office of the returning officer (RO) when he filed his nomination papers.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarbjit Singh, in the affidavits submitted along with his nomination papers before the RO claimed that though criminal cases were registered against him in different police stations, he had not been convicted by any court so far. He added that he was having one-third share in a house situated in Mohali worth Rs 25 lakh, one-third share in a house situated at Noida worth Rs 10 lakh and one-third share in an industrial plot situated in the Industrial Area, Mohali worth Rs 5 lakh. He said he was having a few hundreds rupees in his two bank accounts. Mr Bhagwant Singh filed his nomination papers as the covering candidate of Mr Sarbjit Singh.


CPM candidate files papers as Independent
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 20
Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri, a candidate of the CPM, Punjab (Pasla group), today filed his nomination papers as an Independent for the Sangrur parliamentary constituency in the current Lok Sabha elections before the Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Sarvjit Singh. He filed two sets of papers.

Along with the nomination papers Mr Barri also submitted two affidavits with regard to his property and cases, if any, pending against him. In his affidavit, relating to the cases, he stated that there was no case pending against him in any court.

With regard to his moveable and immovable assets, Mr Barri stated that he and his wife had assets and cash worth about Rs 23 lakh. He said he had Rs 20,000 in cash, Rs 8,750 at the Katron branch of the State Bank of Patiala, two FDRs worth Rs 48,000 each, a scooter, 7 acres of agriculture land worth about Rs 18 lakh at Barri village and an ancestral house of 1 kanal worth Rs 3 lakh. He further stated that his wife had Rs 5,000 in cash, one joint FDR with him worth Rs 48,000 and 30 grams of gold ornaments worth Rs 15,000.


18 file papers today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Eighteen candidates, including members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Akhil Bharatiya Sangharsh Dal (ABSD), today filed their nomination papers for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The total number of candidates has now risen to 42 in Punjab.

According to sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), the papers from Amritsar were filed by ABSD candidate Baldev Singh Rathore and Ms Geeta of the Bharatiya Gaon Taj Dal (BGTD).

From Taran Tarn, Mr Manoj Kumar of the ABSD and Mr Rajwant Singh of the BGTD filed their papers. Mr Devi Dass Nahar of the BSP filed his papers from Jalandhar. Mr Pawan Kumar Tenu of the BSP filed his papers from Phillaur. From Hoshiarpur, Independent candidate Sandhu Singh and CPM candidate Darshan Singh filed papers.

Three Independent candidates, Mr Bobby, Mr Abdul Sakur and Mr Mohinder Lal, filed their papers from Ludhiana. Independent candidate Sukhdev Singh filed his papers from Sangrur.

SAD (Mann) candidates Sarabjit Singh and Bhagwant Singh filed their papers from Bathinda along with CPI candidate Kaushalya Dev. From Faridkot, Mr Navneet Kumar of the Shiv Sena (Bal Thackarey) filed his papers. Mr Manoj Kumar of the Akhil Bharatiya Shiv Sena filed his papers from Ferozepore along with Independent candidate Inderjit Singh. 


Zira files papers as Independent
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, April 20
Former minister and rebel Akali candidate Inderjit Singh Zira today filed nomination papers from Ferozepore Parliamentary constituency as an Independent. Mr Zira, a staunch Tohra supporter, had resigned from the Cabinet of Mr Parkash Singh Badal when Tohra and Mr Badal had parted ways.

Earlier, he went to Gurdwara Gamni Sahib, Vajidpur, to seek blessings and then came to the office of the Deputy Commissioner to file nomination papers before the returning officer, Mr Ranjit Singh.

Mr Manoj Kumar also filed his nomination as an Independent. He is associated with the Shiv Sena.

With today’s nominations the total number of candidates who have filed papers goes up to four.

Meanwhile, the election observers for this constituency, Mr G.V.V. Sharma, Mr K.K. Khandelwal and Mr Chattan Rigzin, expenditure observer, reached here at the PWD Rest House and took stock of the preparation made for the Lok Sabha poll. The observer held a meeting with the returning officers. They later visited the National Informatics Centre on the premises of the DC’s office.


4 more enter poll fray
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 20
Four more candidates entered the poll fray in Amritsar and Tarn Taran Lok Sabha constituencies here today. Two filed nominations from Amritsar, namely Mr Baldev Singh Rathore of the Akhil Bhartiya Sangharsh Dal (ABSD) and Ms Gita of the Bharti Gaon Taj Dal (BGTD). The number of nominations for Amritsar has risen to five.

Two candidates filed their nominations from the Tarn Taran constituency, namely Mr Manoj Kumar Duggal of the ABSD and Mr Rajwant Singh of the BGTD.

Mr Baldev Singh, in his submission, has declared Rs 90,000 in cash, Army insurance of Rs 1,50,000 and a Rs 2,00,000 medical benefit scheme, a scooter and joint jewellery worth Rs 70,000. The wife’s ownership of a suburban building is worth Rs 3,00,000.

Mr Duggal has declared that he has Rs 85,000, deposits in a cooperative bank at Attari, jewellery worth Rs 55,000 and a building (commercial/residential) worth Rs 2,50,000.

Mr Rajwant Singh has declared that he possesses a tractor, 16 acres at Sidhwan village worth Rs 2.25 lakh per acre and a building (residential/commercial) values at Rs 4 lakh.


BSP candidates file papers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 20
Mr Pawan Kumar Tinu and Mr Devi Dass Nahar, the BSP candidates from the Jalandhar and Phillaur (SC) Parliamentary constituencies, filed their nomination papers in the office of the district returning officer here today.

Mr Pawan Tinu and Mr Nahar alleged that both the Congress and the NDA had failed to come up to the expectations of people and had done nothing for the uplift of poor and downtroden. Mr Tinu’s father, Mr Ram Lal, filed his papers as his covering candidates.


BSP promises to ‘generate’ sources of employment
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 20
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will generate sources of employment for at least one crore unemployed youths within three months after the constitution of new Parliament if voted to power in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. The party will also lay stress on creating a casteless society to protect the interests of all sections of the society.

This was stated by Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri, president of the Punjab unit of the party, while talking to mediapersons here today. He, accompanied by the convener of the state unit of the party, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, came to file the nomination papers of party candidate Sant Ram Mallian from the Faridkot Parliamentary constituency.

He disclosed that the party was contesting poll from 325 constituencies in the country.


BSP to approach EC on code violation
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 20
The state convener of the Bahujan Samaj Party and former MP, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, today stated that the party would approach the Election Commission regarding violation of the code of conduct by the ruling party, which was working overtime to influence voters through sops.

Talking to newspersons at the central election office of the party’s Phillaur parliamentary candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu here, Mr Kainth said the party was faxing its complaint about the code violation to the EC. Senior BSP leaders Parveen Banga, Ashok Sandhu, Harbhajan Balalon, and Ram Murti Khera were present. 


Poll observers  for Patiala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 20
Mr C. Chandran and Ms Sunaina Tomar have been appointed general observers and Mr V.K. Mangotra has been appointed Expenditure Observer for the constituency.

This was stated by the Returning Officer for the Patiala Parliamentary constituency, Mr Tejveer Singh, here today.

Mr Tejveer Singh said the Election Observers would stay at Circuit House. Any one desirous of meeting them can contact them at Circuit House or phone numer 2215970.

Earlier, the Special Observer for Punjab, Mr G.S. Patnayak, also held a meeting with the Returning Officer and senior police officers to review the election preparations for the constituency.


3 observers for Sangrur seat
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 20
The Election Commission has appointed two general observers and one expenditure observer for the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency for the elections.

Mr Sarvjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said yesterday the Election Commission appointed Mr Jatindra Nath Swain, from Tamil Nadu and Mr Devashish Gupta, from Ranchi (Jharkhand) election observers (general) and Mr M.M. Dubey, Additional Commissioner Central Excise, Rohtak, as expenditure observer.


Section 144 imposed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 20
To maintain law and order during the Parliament elections to be held on May10, Mr. S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate, today issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 IPC on carrying of fire arms, ammunition, and sharp-edged weapons like knife, kirpan etc. However, these orders would not be applicable to police, paramilitary forces, Army, persons having these weapons for purely religious purpose and persons who have been provided security cover by the government. These orders will remain in effect till May 30.


Gujrals pay obeisance at Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 20
Former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral today claimed that pro-SAD-BJP wave was sweeping Punjab and the combined was likely to win all 13 seats in the coming Lok Sabha elections next month.

Accompanied by his son, Mr Naresh Gujral, candidate from the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, and talking to mediapersons after offering prayers at the Golden Temple, Mr Gujral said the people in Punjab had been disillusioned with the Congress government in the state and would vote for the SAD-BJP alliance.

Commenting on the outstanding loan of Rs 8,500 crore as claimed by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the former Prime Minister refuted the reported statement and affirmed that the total amount had been waived off. He said the Chief Minister was needlessly raking up the issue at the time of elections.

Mr Gujral said their entire campaign was being focused on the issue of positive performance of the NDA government and would sweep the poll. Answering question about whether he would campaign for BJP candidates in other constituencies, Mr Gujral said he had not been approached by them and would consider their request in case they asked him to do so.

Later, Mr Naresh Gujral, SAD-BJP candidate from Jalandhar, said he had requested the Election Commission to deploy central paramilitary forces as he had no faith in the Punjab police which had been totally politicised. He said the Congress was misusing government machinery and he had already lodged a complaint with the Election Commissioner.

Mr Naresh Gujral added that the Congressmen in the constituency were distributing Rs 1,100 as pension to some persons in total violation of the Model Code of Conduct. He said the government had already stopped social schemes like old-age pension, shagun, etc. He said his main poll plank was to focus on the issue of development and the progress achieved by the NDA government.

Mr Naresh Gujral said he had already covered 300 villages during his campaign. He would file his nomination papers tomorrow and he had come to the Golden Temple to seek blessings. 


Laser shows to tell Sikh history
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, April 20
Oscillating between the past and the present and between antique and modernity, Amarjeet Singh, involved in promoting of Sikh history, has found a unique way to blend the two — laser shows to tell the history of Sikhism. After presenting the first-ever laser film show on “Tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa” at Anandpur Sahib, the artiste is all set to capture the life history of four sons of Guru Gobind Singh.

The show is meant for the tercentenary celebrations of the martyrdom of “Sahibzadas” (sons of Guru Gobind Singh). “This laser show will be an improved version of my last show as I am going to use ultra-modern technique of advanced computer backup of laser beams and dynamic sound to recreate the story of Sahibzadas and their sacrifices,” says Amarjeet Singh, a city-based film producer.

“I have finalised the script and the sequences,” says Amarjeet who is the producer as well as director of the show. A 40-minute show which will be presented to a large number of audience would approximately cost about Rs 8 lakh.

To create the laser images with three dimensional effects, the technical help has been sought from a foreign-based company. “A team of about 25 people will be working on this project, looking after the technical side that includes recordings of script, music and creating special audio visual effects,” Amarjeet informs.

With a diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication to back him up, Amarjeet feels confident enough to handle the creative side of this complicated project all by himself. The premiere of the show will be held at Fatehgarh Sahib, on the eve of martyrdom of Sahibzadas before it travels to the foreign countries.

Amarjeet, a promoter of Sikhism, has already a few documentaries and tele films to his credit. His documentary like “Amar Khalsa” and telefilms like “Maharaja Dalip Singh” and “Sanjha Dukh” on the Indo- Pak relations has already got him acclamation in the critic circle. But what motivated him to shift his focus from bright arc lights to brighter laser lights?

“Way back in 1998, I had an opportunity to work with Daler Mehndi on a stage show. It was the images created by the laser on the stage that gave birth to the idea of creating something using that technique,” he says. Well, the glamour part of the show got fizzled out in front of his love for Sikh history. 

Amarjeet Singh (inset) and a scene from his laser show “Tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa.”


Badal seeks contempt proceedings against CM
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 20
The counsel for former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today moved an application in the court of the Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, seeking directions against the use of property of the corruption and disproportionate assets case registered against Mr Badal and his family during electioneering. They also pleaded for the initiation of the contempt proceedings against Vigilance officials and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh in this regard.

The counsel alleged that the Chief Minister flagged off the vehicles used for showing the VCDs prepared by the Vigilance in the case across the state.

Mr Badal and his family were being displayed as convicts despite the fact that the matter was sub-judice for which proper legal action should be initiated against the Chief Minister, the counsel maintained.

The judge issued the notice of motion to the state of Punjab and fixed April 24 as the date for hearing on the application.


CM’s apology sought for violating ‘maryada’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Bhai Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, today stated that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh should apologise before the Akal Takht for violating Sikh “maryada” at a function organised to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev at Sarai Naga village in Muktsar district on April 18.

Mr Nandgarh, talking to TNS, pointed out that Capt Amarinder Singh and his party colleagues sat on the stage despite the fact that a photo of Guru Angad Dev was lying on a platform set up below the stage at that function. He said Capt Amarinder Singh and his colleagues violated the Sikh “maryada” even though a “bir” of Guru Granth Sahib was also placed on the stage.

Bhai Nandgarh said the action of Capt Amarinder Singh and his associates had hurt the religious sentiments of Sikhs. He said he would take up the matter with the Jathedar of Akal Takht.


Mann’s Akali Dal hails sops for prisoners
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 20
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann today hailed various sops announced by the Punjab Chief Minister at Khadoor Sahib on April 18, especially the general amnesty to prisoners aged 70 or above and one-year remission in the sentence of other prisoners. Talking to newspersons here, party general secretary Jaskaran Singh Karan Singhwala asserted that the relief was a right step at the right time. He criticised political parties like the SAD and the BJP for finding faults with the announcements.

Mr Kahan Singhwala asked the Chief Minister to include in the remission prisoners undergoing sentence under the NDPS Act and dowry-related cases, besides the undertrials who have been in jail for the past five to 10 years.

He also urged the Chief Minister to modernise jails for making them real “sudhar ghar” by discontinuing outdated khadi work by inmates and imparting them computer education. He demanded that a medical and engineering college should be opened for youths undergoing sentence in jails so that they could enter good professions after their release.

Mr Kahan Singhwala said the party candidate from Ferozepore, Bhai Dhyan Singh Mand, would file his nomination papers on April 22.


Sikh leaders call on Pak PM
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 20
Various Sikh leaders, including Sanmukh Singh Mokha of the SGPC, Harbhajan Singh Matharu of the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, International Bhai Mardana Yaadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, Dr Pritpal Singh, head of the America Gurdwara Committee, Sham Singh, president Pakistan Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, met Mr Zafarulla Khan Jamali, Pakistan, Prime Minister, and Mr Pervez Elahi, Chief Minister, Pakistan Punjab, and gave them a memorandum regarding their demands during the Baisakhi celebrations at Panja Sahib.

This was stated by Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar in a press note issued here today.

Mr Bhullar said the Sikh leaders, in a memorandum given to the Prime Minister demanded to observe the 400th martyrdom day of Guru Ajrun Dev in 2006 at Dera Sahib Gurdwara, kar seva at Chuna Mandi, birth place of Guru Ram Das, starting the Amritsar-Lahore bus service, besides release of Sikh youths in Pakistan jails.

He said the Pakistan Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Punjab had assured them to solve their problems on a priority basis. He claimed that the Prime Minister had assured to give permission to a 20,000-Sikh jatha on occasion of the 400th martyrdom day of Guru Ajrun Dev in 2006 at Dera Sahib Gurdwara and also to release a postal stamp with a picture of Dehra Sahib Gurdwara.


Pilgrims from Pak honoured at Roza Sharif
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 20
The delegation of Pakistani pilgrims to Roza Sharif were honoured by the local MLA, Dr Harbans Lal, and by Vaid Hari Krishan, president, District Congress Committee, today. Hundreds of Congress workers accompanied these leaders to welcome their guests. The Congress leaders offered “siropas” to all members of the delegation.

The leader of the delegation, Mr Meer Haji Treen, former union minister and deputy leader, thanked the local Congress leaders and workers for giving them such a rousing welcome and honour. In their address, they appreciated the hospitality extended by the local district administration as well as by the people, of the area. They said people of both countries wanted to live peacefully and free trade and frequent visits without any restrictions. They said it was only due to the public pressure from both the countries that the leaders have decided to strengthen the strained relations.

They extended invitation to the people to come to Pakistan and assured that the people of Pakistan would love them and respect them. They said recent concluded cricket series was a living example as the people of Pakistan have congratulated the Indian team on their victory and appreciated the good performance of the Indian team.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Harbans Lal welcomed all pilgrims on the behalf of the Congress party the Punjab Government. He said the Congress has always worked for strengthening communal harmony. He said his party was not doing it for the first time but it was their moral duty to extend all possible help.

He said the recent visit of the Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh, to Pakistan and meeting his counterpart there was a part of improving the relations and starting trade through Wagah border.

Mr R.N.Sharma, president, Citizen Welfare Council, Sirhind, also honoured the pilgrims and offered flowers and sweets to them.

The delegation was taken to Sirhind main bazar in buses by the district administration, where the pilgrims from Pakistan did brisk shopping.

The shopkeepers at Sirhind had been waiting them and it was after five years that they had come to pay homage at Rauza Sharif.


Tur not allowed to address devotees
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 20
An unpleasant situation arose yesterday at Manjit Sahib Darbar Sahib Hall, on the occasion of Amavasya when Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur rebel SAD candidate from this Lok Sabha seat and his elder brother, Lehna Singh Tur former MP along with their 20 armed supporters tried to capture the religious stage to address the sangat. Sevadars of Sri Darbar Sahib foiled their effort.

Mr Arjan Singh manager, Darbar Sahib, said that Tur brothers came to Darbar Sahib, Manjit Hall with armed supporters and tried to capture the religious stage. Sevadars asked them if they had permission from the manager or some other authorities they misbehaved with them. Mr Arjan Singh when came to know of the matter, came to the spot and defused the situation. The devotees faced inconvenience.

Mr Tarlochan Singh Tur said that he wanted to express his religious views. He said that he had not got permission from the authorities.


Water supply to remain curtailed till April 28
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Even though the summer is yet to reach its peak, the city has been facing acute water shortage as the Bathinda division of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board has curtailed water supply to a major part of the city since April 14.

Official sources said water supply had been curtailed due to the closure of the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal, which was a major source of water for the local water works. The water supply will remain curtailed till April 28.

Residents have started waking up in the wee hours as the board is supplying drinking water from 3 am to 6.30 am. The water supply during evening hours is from 5 pm to 7 pm. Through residents are getting water supply for a few hours, they are finding it difficult to collect enough water to meet their daily requirements.

For those living in areas which are on a higher level than the normal plinth level of the city, the problem has been compounded as most of the times they fail to get even a few buckets of water due to low pressure. They cannot fetch adequate water by using electrical motors due to unscheduled power cuts.


Appeal to Sikhs to adopt villages
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 20
A Washington-based Sikh organisation, the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) has appealed to Sikhs worldwide to adopt villages and support needy children for education in the name of Guru Angad Dev, second Sikh Guru.

SCORE appealed to Sikhs in the world to involve in improving life and the educational system in Punjab.

During his stewardship of the Sikhs, then in its infancy, Guru Angad Dev gave the Sikhs a new script for Punjabi language. Guru Angad Dev started schools and developed the Gurumukhi script to make education available within the reach of the downtrodden and the underprivileged at that time.


Road safety to get top priority, says DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 20
The district administration in collaboration with the District Transport Department and the district police has started a traffic awareness programme to meet the challenges of increasing mishaps. “The law forcing agencies can not control it at their own, rather everybody had to take responsibility and had to obey the traffic rules at his own. Only then road accidents can be stopped,” said Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a gathering after inaugurating the learners driving licence camp.

He said the district administration would give top priority to the road safety through educative as well as enforcement methods. He said he would urge the SSP to start a separate educative wing of the traffic police, which would visit the schools, colleges, truck unions and transporters offices to educate them about the traffic rules. He appreciated the efforts of district transport department in organising such a seminar and camps.

Addressing the gathering, Ms Poonam Deep Kaur, DTO, said the driving licences in the district would be issued only after taking proper driving test, so that the only genuine drivers could get the licence. She said that driving licence was a valuable document and in foreign countries it is easy to get an MBBS degree but difficult to get a driving licence. She said traffic awareness camps were being organised at the subdivision and block levels with the help of social organisations and the people were educated about the traffic rules. She urged the parents not to allow their minor children to drive the vehicles without having driving licence. She said driving license camps were being organised at the block levels so that the people should not waste their time, energy and money to get the learning driving licenses.


Fleecing by cable TV operators alleged
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Members of the Residents Welfare Society (150 yards) Urban Estate Phase-II, Bathinda, have alleged that cable TV operators had been charging unreasonable amount from consumers though people in other cities have been paying less for cable TV connections.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr Shekhar Garg, secretary of the society, pointed out that apart from Rs 250 per connection being charged from each consumer the operators have been providing only a few channels to them for the past 20 days. The complaints lodged with the cable operators in this regard failed to get any positive response.

He said that roads in the Phase-II of the Urban Estate were in bad shape and had been causing problems to pedestrians and motor vehicle owners. 


SGPC member gets 10-year jail
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 20
Mr Karnail Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, Bathinda, today sentenced Sadhu Singh Ragi, member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs 1 lakh for smuggling narcotics.

Delivering the judgement, Mr Karnail Singh held that in case, Sadhu Singh Ragi failed to pay the fine, he would have to further undergo imprisonment for a year. Jagsir Singh, accomplice of Sadhu Singh Ragi, was also sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.

Sadhu Singh Ragi, who had been smuggling narcotics in Bathinda and Barnala areas under the patronage of a section of politicians of the SAD-BJP government, was arrested by the district police on May 28, 2002. A case under the NDPS Act registered against him in was Dialpura police station on May 27, 2002.


High Court
Chahal case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 20
A Division Bench of the High Court has dismissed the public interest petition filed by the World Human Rights Protection Council seeking an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) into the recent mishap involving the car of Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, Media Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister.

Taking up the petition, the Bench comprising Mr Chief Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Amar Dutt dismissed the petition.

In its PIL, the human rights body had said that due to the high profile of those involved in the car, a fair investigation was not possible. Therefore, it requested, the case be handed over to the CBI for proper investigation.

The petitioner had pointed out that the car, belonging to Mr Chahal and being reportedly driven by his son, hit the scooter from behind, resulting in the death of a woman pillion rider. However, despite this no FIR was registered against those riding in the car, it had said, adding that the young boy, Amandeep Singh, driving the scooter has been booked by the police. 


Action sought against SP 
Our Correspondent

Ropar, April 20
The counsel of a former Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, today moved an application in the court of Special Judge, Ropar, seeking legal action against the Superintendent of Police (Vigilance), Mr Surinder Pal Singh, for threatening his counsel in the court.

Mr Kahlon, who had been booked by the state Vigilance Department in a case of corruption, today alleged that the SP (Vigilance), Mr Surinder Pal Singh, openly threatened his counsel on the court premises during the proceedings of the case against him yesterday. The SP openly argued with his counsel during the proceedings of the case and threatened him with dire consequences in the presence of the judge, he alleged.

He also pleaded that the SP should be stopped from intervening in the court proceedings and legal action should be initiated against him.


Arhtiya looted, shot dead
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 20
Two unidentified miscreants killed an arhtiya (commission agent) and looted Rs 3.20 lakh from him in broad day light today near the sadar police station here.
According to information, Suresh Kumar (40), a resident of the nearby Chakdana village, and an arhtiya at the local grain market along with Ranjit Singh a farmer of Urapur village, were returning to the grain market on his scooter after withdrawing Rs 4 lakh from the local Indian Overseas Bank.

He paid a sum of Rs 80,000 to the farmer and the remaining amount of Rs 3.20 lakh was lying in his bag. When they reached near the railway crossing at Karyam Road at about 1 p.m. the two miscreants, who were also on a scooter, came near them and one of them shot at the head of Suresh Kumar and decamped with the bag containing money. Suresh Kumar was brought to the local Civil Hospital, where he died. The police has registered a case under Section 397 of the IPC.


Missing girl’s body found
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 20
The police today recovered the body of Diksha (7), who had gone missing along with her sister Asha (5) on Sunday, from a river near Khadoor Sahib. Diksha and Asha, daughters of a Rasta Mohalla resident, Gobind Ram, had gone missing from the local Nehru Garden.

Meanwhile, the body of an abducted girl, Simi, the eight-year-old daughter of an NRI, Jagdish, was last night found stuffed into a TV cabinet in a house in Shahid Babu Labh Singh Nagar. She was allegedly raped before being murdered. The police detained Raj Kumar, a TV mechanic, and Mohammed Sonu, a tailor from Bihar and an old tenant of Jagdish, in this connection. They were today produced in a local court, which remanded in police custody till April 24.

Mr Rakesh Kaushal, the SP (city), said preliminary investigations into the case of Simi had revealed that the accused had abducted the child on Sunday to get a ransom of Rs 2 lakh from her father. He said the two killed her when she tried to raise the alarm.


Punjabi University affiliation for law college 
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 20
Punjabi University, Patiala, has accorded affiliation to the local Baba Farid Law College for starting law classes from the coming academic session.
Granting temporary affiliation for one year under various conditions the university authorities had made it clear that violation of any kind would be dealt with seriously. The authorities added that the building of the institution should not be utilised for any other purpose.

The college authorities were told that they would have to seek permission again for continuing the classes for second year.

Mr Inderjit Sekhon, chairman of Baba Farid and Gurdwara Godri Sahib Society, said the society had completed the necessary formalities in this regard for the smooth sailing of the institution. Giving details in this connection he said nine faculty members, including the Principal, had already been recruited, the institution complex had been completed and a library equipped with the latest books had also been set up. Moreover, a special fund of Rs 50 lakh had also been reserved for giving a better look to the library. He further added that a special member of the institution would be visiting the Bar Council of India soon to submit other related documents.


Eng students excel at TechDisha
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 20
At the recently held National Level Technical Competition TechDisha, organised by Punjabi University, Amandeep Singh and Manmeet Singh of Baba Banda Singh Bahadhur Engineering College (BBSBEC) bagged the first prize, respectively, in paper presentation contest.

The head of the Electronics Department, Prof Lakhwinder Singh, said there were 400 entries for the contest and 36 students were shortlisted for the final round.

He said Jagnoor Singh, first year student of ECE department, bagged second prize in debate and Aarti prashar of the Electrical Department bagged second prize in dance competition of ‘TechDisha’. 

Informing abut the performance of students other than cocircular activities, he said Sukhjinder Singh, first year student of ECE stood first in the college by securing 87 per cent marks in the university examination held in December.


Guru Angad Dev anniversary celebrations over 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 20
The 500th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Angad Dev, organised by the Gurdwara Parbandhak Committe of Punjabi University, concluded on the university campus here today.

On the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, released a book written by Dr Jodh Singh on the life and teachings of the Sikh Guru. Mr Boparai distributed prizes to the students who took part in a calligraphic competition in Gurmukhi script. In the primary category, Rajveet Kaur bagged the first prize while Lalit Kumar and Manpreet Kaur got the second and third prizes, respectively. In the middle group, Kulwinder Singh, Ravinderdeep and Ravinder Kumar bagged the first, second and third prizes, respectively. In the senior secondary group, Sheery Walia, Durga Unyal and Rajita were given cash prizes and university dictionaries.

Dr Jodh Singh said Guru Nanak Dev handpicked Guru Angad Dev to be his successor, knowing that he alone would be the right person to lead the fledgeling faith.

Last evening, wrestlers Sukhdev Singh, Jaivir, Hardeep Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Jatinder, Samunder Singh, Omvir, Rampal, Sarvar and Sandeep Kumar, who participated in wrestling competitions, were awarded Rs 5,000 each by the Dean, Academic Affairs, Mr U.C. Singh and the Dean, Colleges, Dr S.P.S Virdi. Dr Jasbir Kaur, Secretary, Gurdwara Parbandak Committe, Punjabi University, proposed a vote of thanks. 

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