N C R   S T O R I E S


About 50% voters seal fate of 129 candidates
First citizen first in voting also
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
One out of every two eligible voters is estimated to have exercised his franchise by the close of polling in NCT of Delhi this evening where, according to the Chief Electoral Officer, no untoward incident was reported from any of the seven Lok Sabha constituencies or the lone Assembly constituency where the by-election was held simultaneously.

About 45 to 50 per cent of the 87-odd lakh electorate turned out to seal the fate of the 129 candidates that includes the likes of Jagmohan, Vijay Goel, Sahib Singh Verma, Smriti Irani, Anita Arya, Lal Bihari Tiwari and VK Malhotra of BJP and Sandeep Dikshit, Ajay Maken, Krishna Tirath, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, RK Anand and Kapil Sibal of INC.

Deputy Election Commissioner A N Jha told newspersons at the end of the polling that NCT of Delhi had a poll percentage of 41 per cent till 4 pm but the figure was expected to touch 50 per cent at close of polling. The voter turnout was slow in the beginning but picked as the day progressed and it became brisk during the last two hours.

Till an hour before the closing time, Chandni Chowk, where BJP’s Smriti ‘Tulsi’ Irani is taking on Kapil Sibal of INC, had recorded the highest turnout of 43 per cent. Sadar, where Jagdish Tytler and Vijay Goel are in the fray, followed with 42 per cent turnout. Outer Delhi, Karol Bagh and East Delhi recorded more than 39 per cent turnout. On the other hand, South Delhi, where BJP’s VK Malhotra is locked in a fight with RK Anand of INC, witnessed the lowest polling of 32 per cent. Low turnout was also recorded in New Delhi, which has Jagmohan of BJP and Ajay Maken of INC in the fray, with only 35 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise.

President APJ Abdul Kalam was among the first ones to cast his vote while INC president Sonia Gandhi, a former prime minister VP Singh, Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishnamurthy, Harkishan Singh Surjeet of CPI (M) and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit exercised their franchise within the first three hours.

Among the early voters, elderly people were in a majority who came to avoid the heat and rush later in the day. Many morning walkers also reached the polling stations directly from their jogging tracks.

SS Bhatnagar, 89 years old, who was helped by his servant, was the first to cast vote at St Mary’s School, Safdarjung Enclave in the South Delhi constituency.

A 79-year-old social activist was among those who reached early in the morning at a polling booth in the Karol Bagh constituency. The woman said she never fails to exercise her franchise. Mr KB Lal, a retired government employee, said he never cast his vote while in service as he felt that the government employees need to be impartial.

Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra nee Gandhi and her husband Robert also cast their vote. On the possibility of INC forming the next government, she said she was hopeful that the party would do well. “We have put our heart into the campaigning. Three days remain for the results. Let us see.”

Prominent among Independent candidates, writer Shiv Khera and disabled rights activist Javed Abidi also cast their votes. Khera and Abidi are contesting in the South Delhi and New Delhi constituencies, respectively. A new entrant to the BJP and late Sanjay Gandhi’s son Varun turned out to vote at a Maharani Bagh polling booth.

Polling began on a dull note but picked up as the day progressed. The seven Lok Sabha constituencies reported 20 per cent polling in the first four hours. The low poll percentage till noon was attributed to the heat and people deciding to go out of station to enjoy their extended weekend that spread over three days.

About 9,042 polling stations were set up; 1,058 of the polling stations were declared sensitive and 278 polling stations hypersensitive. About 3.50 lakh more voters had been added to the electoral roll after the Assembly election last year.


Truant officials to get stick
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 10
The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, Mr M. R. Anand, has ordered disciplinary action against 65 officials and employees of various government offices, schools and other institutions who had failed to turn up in the election rehearsal held on May 8.

Of these, 30 belonged to Sonepat district and 35 others belonged to Rohtak district. The officials and employees belonging to Sonepat district include Mr Ram Niwas, Mr Mohinder Singh, Mr D. R. Malik, Mr Rajesh Kumar, Mr Ram Karan, Mr Satpal Singh, Mr Rohtas, Mr Dayanand Sharma, Mr Howa Singh, Mr Raja Ram, Mr Banwar Lal, Mr Ram Niwas, Mr Rajbir Singh Mr Bhim Singh, Mr Jai Singh, Mr Gobind Lal, Mr S. P. Shaukeen, Mr Sita Ram, Mr Anjum Ansari, Mr Siri Pal, Mr Chattar Singh and Mr Sube Singh Saroha.

According to another report, as many as 30 officials and employees of various government departments, educational institutions and banks failed to turn up for the election rehearsal held at Gohana, a sub-divisional town in this district. The SDM-cum-Assistant Returning Officer, Mr Munish Nagap, has sent a report to the Returning Officer in this connection recommending action against them.

Meanwhile, officials of the Excise Department have challaned three liquor shops which were found open in this city in violation of the order of the District Magistrate banning the sale of liquor between 5 pm on May 8 and 5 pm on May 10.


Both English and country liquor flowed freely in Noida
Our Correspondent

Noida, May 10
It is openly acknowledged that there was no scarcity of liquor in the area though liquor vends remained closed for three days as per the Election Commission’s directions. Some of the political activists admitted that the flow of liquor could decide the trend of voting, and thus the outcome of the election.

According to sources, both quality English liquor and country liquor were available. Though senior police and administration officers are not involved in liquor distribution, they were sitting pretty and did not reportedly take any action against those supplying liquor from door to door.

Liquor was especially distributed among jhugi clusters, backward area and remote villagers. Some of the vends had downed their shutters, but liquor was being supplied from back doors.

In the past, liquor vends used to be closed for the election day only. But this time the Election Commission had directed the district administration to order liquor shops to down shutters 48 hours before the polling and ensure that the liquor sale is not permitted.

The DM had issued strict orders for compliance of Election Commission orders by Excise Department sleuths 48 hours before the polling. Anybody violating these orders could get his licence cancelled. The DM said the Excise Department will take strict action under excise law against those found storing liquor or keeping their liquor shops open.

Police had been ordered to keep strict vigilance on the liquor vends. At the time of liquor contract, an agreement is signed for keeping the shop closed by five days. But the administration can get the vends closed any time they want, contractor said. No concession is given for depositing revenue with the government during the days liquor shops are ordered to be closed, said a liquor contractor on condition of anonymity.


Smriti ‘teased’ by political workers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
The police are looking into the complaint of TV star and BJP’s Chandni Chowk candidate Smriti Irani that some political workers misbehaved with her inside a polling station in Pratapura and then at Bazar Sitaram.

Smriti Irani today lodged a complaint with the police against the Congress workers for teasing and threatening her.

Smriti said, “They not only misbehaved but also tried to intimidate and threaten me. They thought that being a woman candidate, I will not protest. But I feel that a woman should protest against such cases, irrespective of the incident happening at home, work place or anywhere else.”

“I had immediately complained to the polling official present there, but since they pleaded helplessness as it was not related to polling, I decided to complain to the police and the SHO of the two areas then recorded my statement,” added Smriti.

Smriti confident of a positive result in her favour, said these incidents by the Congress workers have only showed that they were frustrated with the popular support she was getting.

In fact, she said she wanted to raise the political consciousness among people of the country, especially among the women to bring a change.


It passes off peacefully save for minor hiccups
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
The Delhi Police today heaved a sigh of relief and patted on its back as the polling to the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the national Capital passed off peacefully except for some minor incidents. As the entire Delhi Police force along with the Central paramilitary forces was deployed in full strength, the political parties were only engaged in allegations and counter-allegations in some areas.

Delhi Police Commissioner Dr K. K. Paul today said, “The polling went off very peacefully due to the professionalism of the Delhi Police force and cooperation from other security agencies. Considering the sensitive nature of the elections, we had made all possible measures to maintain the law and order intact in the city.”

According to the police, four cases were registered, 10 persons were arrested, 278 persons detained, 113 vehicles and 11 cycle-rickshaws impounded in different parts of the city.

In East district, as many as 20 persons were detained under 65 Delhi Police Act. In North-East district, one case of impersonation was registered. In New Usmanpur, one person was arrested and four persons were detained under DP Act. In Central district, eight persons were detained and one vehicle was impounded and in North district, 25 persons were detained and 12 vehicles impounded.

In North-West district, 25 persons were detained and 23 vehicles impounded; in South district 54 persons were detained and 34 vehicles impounded; in South-West district, one case was registered in Najafgarh under Section 323/325 of IPC.

Three persons were arrested in Dwarka under Section 107/151 of IPC. Two persons were detained and nine vehicles impounded in the district. In West district, two cases were registered, four persons arrested, 141 persons detained and 32 vehicles impounded. However, no case was reported in the New Delhi district.


Poll arrangements irk disabled voters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
Despite the Supreme Court order for providing special facilities to enable the disabled cast their ballot without difficulty, most of the polling booths in the Capital had poor arrangements.

Reaching the EMVs to cast their votes proved quite a challenge for them who either had to take help or in some cases even return without exercising their franchise. While reports of shoddy arrangements at the booths came from most parts of the city, at Modern School in the South Delhi constituency, the wooden ramps were not even fitted properly making the passage difficult for the disabled. Having raised his voice for providing an easy access to the polling stations, Independent candidate from New Delhi constituency and disabled rights activist Javed Abidi too complained of slipshod arrangements. Abidi said he was helped by the media persons present in the Katwaria Sarai booth in Outer Delhi constituency to reach the EVM.

Claiming that there was no separate queue for the disabled voters, he added that the presiding officer seemed to be unaware of any EC directives in this regard. Citing examples of the apathy towards the disabled, Abidi said a disabled person, Meher Singh who uses a three-wheel scooter, was prevented from taking his vehicle to the polling station by the police. He was asked to return without casting his vote. It was also pointed out that the police beat up two deaf young voters in Lajpat Nagar when they could not respond to the queries of the officials. ‘’I am an educated and aware person, so I could fight for the facilities, but think of those disabled who are ignorant and oblivious of their rights,’’ Mr Abidi said.

“When in the morning I saw excellent arrangements at booths where VIPs like President Kalam and Sonia Gandhi were to cast vote, I hoped more facilities would be there this time for disabled voters. But the scene at other polling stations was highly disappointing for me,” he added.


Two more central observers for Sonepat
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 10
The Election Commission of India has posted two more central observers for keeping a strict vigil during the counting of votes on May 13 next in the Sonepat parliamentary constituency that has been declared sensitive.

This action followed a series of complaints made by certain candidates of the political parties apprehending irregularities and malpractices in the counting of votes.

The Election Commission, it may be recalled, has already appointed three central observers, namely Mr Padamvir Singh, Mr T. S. Krishnamurti and Mr V. Subboraj, in this constituency for ensuring free and fair Lok Sabha elections in this constituency. Moreover, a special observer, Mr G. S. Patnaik, had also visited the constituency and reviewed the arrangements for holding the elections and the security of the electorate in this constituency.

The Election Commission has distributed voters’ list among the four candidates of the national political parties, the BJP, the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and the INLD, free of cost whereas two other candidates, Mr Jagbir Singh Malik and Mr Jagdish Rai Aggarwal, had purchased this voters’ list at a cost of Rs 17,764 each.

The remaining 14 candidates have failed to purchase the same on account of high cost of the voters’ list.

The contesting candidates are supposed to supply the voters’ list to their agents appointed by them for sitting outside the polling booths for rendering help to the electorate who come for casting their votes. It is stated that the BJP candidate, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, had distributed the voters’ slips to the electorate in this city appealing to them to vote in his favour. All other candidates had failed to distribute such slips among the voters who were annoyed and said that these candidates had no need for their votes and they would exercise their franchise in accordance with their conscience and wishes.


65 pc turnout in Sonepat, bogus polling at a few places
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 10
Amid reports of booth capturing at a few places and bogus polling in the closing hours at large number of booths, polling, by and large, remained peaceful and nearly 65 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise.

Though one death has been reported from Baroda village in the Baroda assembly constituency but it took place before commencement of the polling and some old enmity is stated to be one of the reasons also. The victim has been identified as Raj Kumar, son of Harlal.

One member of the polling party at Thar Malik village, Jeevan Dass, reportedly died of heart attack while on election duty. His body was brought to the local civil hospital by the police.

There was an attempt of booth capturing on a polling booth at Murthal village, parental village of INLD MLA Suraj Mal Antil, by some armed anti-social elements who indulged in threatening the voters by brandishing countrymade weapons. They even reportedly tried to terrorise a team of mediapersons who reached the village after receiving information. However, when it was reported to the Superintendent of Police by one of the mediapersons on mobile the former sent at least three police vehicles in the village and himself reached the spot.

Meanwhile, Ms Sudha Malik, wife of Congress candidate Dharampal Singh Malik. She alleged one of the members from the MLA’s families threw a bottle at her. A complaint has been lodged with the election observers and the returning officer.

The women turnout at the polling booths was very significant but during visits to Karewri, Juan, Kasanda, Khanpur, Puthi and Badwasni, it was seen the polling agents of the parties were accompanying up to the EVMs and guiding them to press the particular button. There were also reports of police personnel in their respective villages attempting to force bogus voting, as alleged by the BJP officer-bearers in Gohana office.

The police bandobast” was up to the mark and hardly any four-wheelers except buses and trucks on national highways were seen plying on the roads. The highest alert was maintained in Sonepat, Gohana and Gannaur towns where even the people going to Delhi and moving on two-wheelers were subjected to harassment by the police personnel deployed at the police nakas in the towns.

According to reports from the Julana assembly constituency, a large number of complaints have been lodged with the election observer and the Deputy Commissioner, Jind, by the BJP polling agents against booth capturing by one Mukesh who is reported to be on parole, at pistol point in Dhairon Khera village, bogus polling in Shamlo Khurd, Shamlo Kalan, Gatoli, Kanana. As alleged by the BJP despite timely information to administration and police authorities no police force was sent and police personnel on polling duty remained mute spectators to poll rigging.

Shamlo Kalan is the hometown of the DGP (on leave), Mr M. S. Malik, whose wife Krishna Malik is contesting on the ruling INLD ticket from thev Sonepat parliamentary constituency. It has been alleged that no one was allowed to become the polling agent of the other candidate.


11 injured in poll clash
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 10
At least 11 persons, including three women, were injured in a clash between two rival groups at Baroda village about 45 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the clash was over casting of votes in favour of a particular candidate. The injured were identified as Kamla, Tejpal, Suresh, Ashok, Raj Kumar, Devinder, Jatinder and Bhagwani. All the injured persons were rushed to the Community Health Centre at Gohana. The condition of Tej Pal and Suresh is stated to be serious.

Lathis, Jelleyes and other deadly weapons were used freely in the clash. On receipt of information, a large contingent of police arrived on the spot. Further investigations are in progress. The police have registered a case and no arrest has been made in this connection. This is the first election clash in the district.

According to another report, additional police and paramilitary forces were deployed in Bidhal, Bichpari and Nooran Khera villages in Gohana sub-division, which fall in the Sonepat parliamentary constituency as a precautionary measures as these villages belonged to the candidates contesting on the BJP, Congress and INLD tickets.

The Election Commission has also sent fax message to the district and police administration not to allow the plying of any vehicle without the permission of the authorities concerned in the constituency. The village of Bhainswal has also been declared a hypersensitive village.

Meanwhile, five companies of paramilitary forces additional police and home guards personnel were deployed in the constituency for ensuring free and fair elections.


Poll day: Smuggled liquor seized
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
The Delhi Police seized smuggled liquors and a Maruti van from Singhu Border. Driver of the van has also been taken in police custody.

The police said that all the borders of the Capital had been seized 24 hours before the polling day, considering that liquor could be smuggled and unwanted elements could enter Delhi in support of certain political parties for poll rigging.

All vehicles were thoroughly checked at border during the Maruti van was asked to stop. Instead of stopping the vehicle the driver tried to speed away it.

The police on Singhu Border chased the vehicle and also flashed a message to the Central Police Control Room for alerting the other PCR vans. The van was stopped near Bhalsawa Chowk and it was searched. During search of the vehicle, 22 cartons of illicit liquor, containing 960 quarters of different brands and 24 bottles of beer, were recovered. The driver of the van, who was identified as Jitender, and a woman Geeta were handed over to the Alipur Police.

In another incident, two cartons of illicit liquor of Mastana brand were recovered from Aaya Nagar and two persons, Prem and Tony, were arrested. In the third incident, 180 quarters of liquor of different brands were seized in Dwaraka. In this case no arrest has been made.

The suspect was going in a two-wheeler. He was driving the vehicle speedily. The police asked him to stop the vehicle but he did not follow the police direction. The police chased him.

The two wheeler driver abandoned the vehicle behind a heap of marble stones. The liquor was kept in a bag. The scooter has been seized, the police said.


Rajesh Pilot’s village boycotts voting
Our Correspondent

Noida, May 10
Low turnout for voting in Ghaziabad and Noida was witnessed today.

Mr Umesh Srivastave, SP Cit, Ghaziabad, said that polling passed off peacefully except an incidence of stone throwing in Bet Hajipur village, in which a police inspector was injured. Noida also witnessed peaceful polling, informed CO, SR Yadav.

The average turnout of voters was around 30-40 per cent in cities, whereas in rural areas, it was nearly 45-55 per cent.

In Vaidpura, the native village of Rajesh Pilot, around 2,000 voters, boycotted polling in protest of the neglect of their village by authorities.

The irked villagers said that even basic facilities like power, education and health had remained neglected for years, despite repeated complaints.

Boycotting from this village came as a great setback to the Congress, which is considered to have a substantial vote bank in Vaid Pura. Congress candidate, Devi Dayal, was seen persuading the voters to take part in the elections, but to no avail.

For Khurja seat the main contest is between Ashok Pradhan of BJP, who is seeking the mandate for the fourth term, and the BSP candidate Ravi Gautam.

For the Hapur- Ghaziabad seat, it is a triangular contest between Ramesh Chand Tomar of BJP, Tarlok Tyagi of SP-RLD and Surinder Prakash Goel, Congress MLA.


Evicted slum dwellers brave heat, hunger and thirst to cast vote
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
This could well be a lesson for the educated urban dwellers who found it cumbersome to travel a few meters to cast their vote. Hundreds of people who have been relocated to the far-off areas in the city travelled kilometers to exercise their voting rights.

Whether it was an incentive promised or the sheer will to assert their choice, these people travelled for over two hours in the relentless heat to the constituencies they were registered in. A case in point was the 300 people who have been relocated from Sarojini Nagar area of New Delhi to Narela three months ago.

These people made it to the polling stations despite the heat and the distance. The fact that most of them would also have to go without proper food and water also didn’t seem to be a deterrent.

The Election Commission had recently directed that arrangements be made to bring the evicted slum dwellers to the places they earlier resided. The directive was made following Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit taking up the issue with the Commission.

But the trek to the polling stations was not entirely a cakewalk as the DPCC J J Cell vice-president Sonia Chowdhary complained that the police stopped their vehicles and prohibited them from entering the polling booths.

Earlier, BJP candidate and Union Minister Jagmohan had complained that his Congress rival Ajay Maken was bringing ‘’bus-loads of people to vote.’’


Hundreds of names missing from electoral list
Tribune News Service

Noida, May 10
For those who wanted assert their right to vote, it was a rude shock to see their names missing from the electoral list. Hundreds of voters in Noida returned home disappointed on finding that their names were missing from the electoral rolls, even though most of them owned an Election Identity card.

Senior election officials too failed help and the disappointed people were asked to lodge a “ proper complaint” so that “small problems” could be corrected before next elections.

In some cases, while the names of some members of the same family were present in the rolls others had been unceremoniously dropped.

A resident of sector 34 said while the names of his wife and son were present, his own name was missing.

Some complained that the Resident Welfare Associations (RWA), which were entrusted with the job of drawing up the lists, had not performed the job well.


Only 20 per cent arms deposited with police despite
EC guidelines
Our Correspondent

Noida, May 10
In spite of the Election Commission guidelines, only 20 per cent of the licensed arms in Noida were deposited with the police. This precautionary step was taken to check misuse of arms during campaigning and on the polling day.

The administration had directed all the licencees to deposit arms in the respective police stations. Only security guards deployed for the security of factories were exempted from this.

According to sources, the Noida administration does not have complete record of all those having licences for arms. Many of the licence holders have not got their weapons registered with the authorities in Noida and Ghaziabad.

Since the police have no record of all such licences, the administration and the police are not in a position to proceed against these people.

Only 1,000 arms were deposited in the Noida police station against the total number of licensed weapons running into several thousands.

According to the District Magistrate, Mr Santosh Kumar Yadav, a campaign will be launched after the elections to determine how many people have been issued the licences and how many out of them had failed to deposit those with authorities during the elections. Action will be taken against those found guilty, the DM added.


Water, not voting, mattered to them
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
Asked to choose between water and voting, it was no surprise that for some it was water which came first.

Residents of the Govindpuri jhuggi cluster of South Delhi decided to stay put in queues for water then line up to cast their votes for the Lok Sabha elections here today.

Their contention, “Votes will not quench our thirst”. Plagued by erratic water supply the residents chose not to exercise their votes but instead voice their anger and try as how best to get more from little. Little being the additional tankers that were sent to supply water, needless to say, an election stunt, which the residents rejoiced in.

“The only tubewell in the area has been lying dry for quite some time and no political party has bothered to get it repaired. During electioneering we received four tankers instead of the usual two but still we were not interested in going to the polling booth”, said a resident.

Similar scenes were repeated in other parts of the city where water is in short supply.

In the Sanjay Colony (jhuggi cluster) of Okhla Phase-II where a large number of voters complained about water scarcity residents chose to give the polling booths a miss.


A long trudge & the scorching sun killed their enthusiasm for voting
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
They left home only to return without casting their votes. Certain women living in Mayur Vihar Phase III trudged back home after being told that their polling station had shifted from MC Primary School in Kondli to Vidya Bal Bhawan School a few kilometres farther. The scorching sun was another demotivating factor.

Technology’s not an issue

A 105-odd-year-old woman voted in the New Delhi constituency. She came to the polling booth in Nirman Bhawan (where Sonia Gandhi and her children also cast their votes) on a chair carried by her son and younger relatives. Asked whether she was comfortable in handling the EVM, she said she had made an effort to learn it.

Family goes to vote

At a certain booth, members of three generations came to vote. Mr S. Roy Chowdhury, a retired government servant, came to the Modern School polling booth with his daughter Aloka (40) and her niece Anuha Tagore (21). His daughter was supporting him while Anuha was bubbling with enthusiasm to cast her vote.

Water first for this voter

Wing Commander S. C. Gupta lives in Sector C-8, Vasant Kunj, which falls in the Outer Delhi constituency. He stayed home in the early hours to fill his water tank. “Water is supplied for just one hour a day between 6.30 am and 7.30 am … we have come to exercise our franchise only after making sure our tanks are filled,” he said.

Some things never change

Wing Commander S. C. Gupta’s wife, in turn, said water being a scarce commodity in the area it ranked higher in their scale of priorities over voting. “We have no alternative these days as all politicians are the same. They come here seeking votes but never address our perennial problem of acute water shortage,” she complained.

It’s an open secret

Former Prime Minister V. P. Singh was candid about who he voted for. When reporters asked him as much, he said he had already made his preference known but explained nevertheless that in the absence of any candidate of the Third Front, the choice was between the BJP and the Congress. Since he could not vote for the BJP, he voted for the INC.

Better late than never?

At some polling stations (like Kalindi College in Patel Nagar, Karol Bagh constituency), polling was delayed by a few minutes due to glitches in the functioning of EVMs but at Katuria Public School, a polling station in the Outer Delhi constituency, polling was delayed because the EVM reached later than the polling staff !

It’s a challenge

The ramp at a polling station in Kinari Bazar in the Chandni Chowk constituency was so steep that the physically challenged would rather climb the stairs. “Jo bhi ispe chadega, ulta girega (whoever tries to climb this will fall),” said a polio-stricken Ram Lal outside the polling station at the 150-year-old Atma Ballabh Jain Dharamshala.

Unbelievable but true!

Indu Devi, aged over 70, came to her polling booth in Jehangirpuri in the East Delhi constituency but realised that she had left her voter’s ID card at home, which was half a kilometre away. She walked back the entire distance on her walking stick, fetched the card and came back to vote. “Slight problems like these cannot deter me,” she said.

Tragedy averted

A ceiling fan fell on the presiding officer’s table at a polling booth in East Delhi this morning. No one was injured in the incident, a polling official said.

The incident occurred at Rashtriya Sarvodaya Kanya Bal Vidyalaya polling booth in East Vinod Nagar. Several voters were present in the room when the fan fell.


Life’s hard knocks
Six killed in accidents on NH 1
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 10
Six persons were killed and eight injured in a series of accidents that occurred on the National Highway 1 and other state highways last evening. A youth, Sanjay (19), of Kheri Damkan village was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a tractor at the bus stand of Lath-Jauli village, about 30 km from here, last evening. In another accident, Jaiveer of Mundlana village fell down from a tractor and was killed on the spot at Gohana town, 35 km from here, last evening. The police have sent the bodies of the victims for a post-mortem examination. They have also registered cases.

One person was killed and seven injured when the Maruti van in which they were travelling was hit by a truck on the GT Road near Liwaspur village, about 12 km from here, last evening. The van was on its way to Hardwar from Sameypur Badli village. The injured Luxmi Chand, Surya Devi, Rahul, Shalu, Suresh and Sheela, were rushed to a trauma centre in Delhi but the doctors there refused to treat the patients of Sonepat and hence they were admitted to Lok Narain Jai Prakash Hospital, Delhi, for further treatment. The ambulance van was provided to them by the Janhit Samiti of Sonepat.

A youth, Sandeep, was killed on the spot when he was hit by an unknown vehicle while crossing the GT Road near Kundli village, about 25 km from here, last night. The driver of the vehicle, however, managed to escape immediately after the accident.

Meanwhile, the police have recovered the body of an unknown man (48) lying on the GT Road near Nathupur village, about 15 km from here, last evening. The police believe it to be a case of accident and have sent the body for postmortem.


Seminar on climate change
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
Climatic change, which includes draught, flood, extreme temperatures and other natural hazards, has been affecting the poor in developing countries as most of them are dependent on natural resources. It has become common knowledge that the capacity to respond to climate change is the lowest in developing countries.

To discuss the climatic change issue, Environment experts from India and Germany will take part in a day long workshop on `Climate Change adaptation in India’ being organised on May 12 to discuss climate change and its effects on natural and human systems.

The workshop is being organised by the Indo German bilateral Project ‘Watershed Management’ under the German Technical Agency to generate awareness of adaptation among Indian farmers affected by climate change. The use of adaptation offers a practical response strategy to the key problems of the global environment and the needs and problems faced by the poorest.

Dr Hoff from Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research Telegrafenberg, Germany And Dr Kalipada Chatterjee, Development Alternatives, New Delhi will be the key note speakers during the workshop.

Mr A K Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture will be the chief guest and Dr Hayfa, Director GTZ will address the delegates.


Creating awareness through cartoons
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
Taking the aid of cartoons to convey serious messages has been a successful formula for effective communication. This is precisely what Public Relations honcho Dr. Ajit Pathak who is also a cartoonist to boot has done.

Through a specially created series on the election issues, Pathak has tried to create awareness amongst the people. These posters, which have been presented to the election commission, highlight the importance of exercising the right to vote, duty to elect the right candidate and respecting the ethical considerations in the contest and publicity campaigns.

These informative cartoons were presented to the spokesperson of the Election Commission, Mr AN Jha. Also present on the occasion were Mr Shivrup Tiwari, National Vice President, Public Relations Society of India, and Rajesh Kumar, Chairman, Delhi Chapter, PRSI.

Speaking about the cartoons, Pathak said that the network of PRSI across the country is propagating the message to highlight the ethical issues in political communication. Pathak, who is currently employed with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, also claims to be the first Indian to acquire a doctorate in Public Relations.


Youth held for murdering partner in crime
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, May 10
The Kharkhauda police have arrested a youth, Surinder, in connection with the alleged murder of his friend, Sanjay. He has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by a judicial magistrate.

The duo were friends and used to commit crime jointly. A few days earlier, their relations became strained and the victim, Sanjay, started extracting money from the alleged assailant, Surinder, through blackmailing. When Surinder declined to give him the money he threatened him with dire consequences. Surinder had no alternative but to yield before him. Thereupon, he decided to kill him.

Woman attacked by neighbours

A woman, Dhanwati, sustained injuries when she was attacked by some neighbours at Barona village, about 15 km from here, on Sunday evening.

The woman was immediately hospitalised and is stated to be out of danger. The police are still investigating into the case. However, no arrest has been made in this connection.

Kavi sammelan held

Prominent poets recited their poems at a kavi sammelan organised by the Adbi Sangam Haryana in Deepak Mandir here on Sunday night.

Dr Rana Ganauri, a noted poet of Panipat, was the chief guest on this occasion. Dr A. V. Bharati “Adik” general secretary of the Adbi Sangam, monitored the sammelan.

Dev Raj Dilbar, Bodh Raj Zaffar, Bharat Deepak, Parmanand Bedharak, Manju Bala, Jugul Jyoti and Vikas Sharma Raj were among those who recited their poems at the sammelan.


Fighting for the minorities

Mr P.S. BawaA member of the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC), Mr P.S. Bawa, has tried to make the Commission people-friendly. Soft spoken and friendly, Mr Bawa has for the first time roped in several Non Government Organisations (NGOs) to help him to mitigate the problems of the minorities in the national Capital.

Proactive in his approach, Mr Bawa believes in reaching out to the people rather than wait for them to come to him or the Commission with their problems. His aim is to make the Commission people-oriented.

Mr Bawa joined the Delhi Minorities Commission last year and since then has tried to make the Commission popular with the people.

As a result, he is satisfied that people have started coming to the Commission with a number of queries and problems.

His daily routine includes a fixed time in which he meets people, particularly from the minority sections to find out their problems and help them overcome it.

Soon after completing his B.Com. from Khalsa College, affiliated to the University of Delhi, Mr Bawa got involved in social works in the national Capital. Soon, the Congress party gave him a responsible post in the DPCC. A Sikh by birth, Mr Bawa believes in working for all communities.

He fought for the promotion of Punjabi and Urdu language in the national Capital.

In an effort to popularise the use of these two languages, which were recently accorded the status of second language in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, he appealed to the authorities to make extensive use of these two languages in the official communications.

In a conversation with the NCR Tribune, Mr Bawa explains his work and mission.

What has been your contribution to the minorities as a member of the Delhi Minority Commission?

I joined the Delhi Minority Commission in October 1, 2003, and since then, I am making efforts to make it people- oriented. I meet the youths of different minority groups and appeal to them to come to the Commission with their problems.

Earlier, they hardly knew about the Commission. Now they have started coming to the Commission with their problems. Their problems are worked out with the efforts of the members.

The Commission has engaged a number of NGOs and individual action groups to study the problems of the minorities.

The NGOs and action groups have become the ear and eyes of the Commission.

Earlier, unfortunately, the attitude of the members of the Commission was to sit in the office, with the result that they had no interaction with the people.

Now, the Commission has started ‘Jan Sunwai’ to listen to the problems of the minorities.

So far it has held several ‘Jan Sunwais’ at Sultanpuri, Lakshmi Nagar and Jama Masjid, some of the minority dominated areas of the city.

What are the major problems faced by the minorities in the national Capital?

It is difficult to divide the problems strictly into major and minor. The minorities have suffered a lot in our society and as such the government has established the Minorities Commission. They have loan and building related problems. Their applications for loans to start businesses are rejected on petty grounds. These people often approach the Commission and we try to work out the problems.

The Commission also provides loans for other purposes. Sometimes the youths of Backward Classes among the minorities are refused admission to schools and colleges on flimsy ground. These institutes demand certificate to prove that he or she is from the backward caste. In such circumstances, the Commission has played a very important role in helping them out of their problems.

Even though the Delhi Government has declared Punjabi the second official language, it is still not being taught in government schools. Are you taking any initiative to rectify this situation?

With the effort of the members of the Delhi Minority Commission, Punjabi was accorded the second official language status in the national Capital. In some schools, the teaching of Punjabi has already started.

However, for the teaching of Punjabi language in all the schools of the Capital, the department concerned has to appoint the teachers in adequate numbers. The process of appointing Punjabi language teachers has been initiated. I hope that in the near future proper arrangement for teaching of Punjabi language will be made.

Earlier, sign boards on DTC buses and at the Inter State Bus Terminus were written only in English and Hindi. However, with my persistent efforts now signboards on DTC buses and at the Inter State Bus Terminus are written in Punjabi and Urdu languages.

I have also asked the government to encourage official communications in Urdu and Punjabi. If someone writes a letter in Urdu and Punjabi, the reply will be made in the same language.

Moreover, I also monitor issues related to Punjabi language, culture and politics at the international level.

Sometimes back the Government of France declared that students of Sikh community would not be allowed to wear turbans in educational institutions. I wrote a letter to the Ambassador of France in New Delhi protesting against this declaration. Thereafter, the Government of France moderated its policy on the issue.

With our efforts, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, also wrote a letter to the French Ambassador in connection with the Sikh issue in France.

Could you tell us how you begun your political career?

Since my college days I was active in politics. I was very active in the students union of the Khalsa College, Delhi University, during my graduation.

In 1996-97, the then Lt-Governor, Mr Tejinder Khanna, constitute a Citizen Ward Committee to look into the problems of the people of the national Capital. The entire national Capital was divided in nine districts and I worked in one of them.

Later, the Lt-Governor appointed me as the chief of the Citizens Ward Committee (CWC). Often, we had residents coming to the office of the Citizens Ward Committee with their problems related to telephone connection, ration card, allotment of flats in DDA and similar problems with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

The Citizens Ward Committee was constituted to sort out such problems of the residents. The committee members helped the residents to sort out their problems.

While working with the CWC, I came into contact with lot of people, which only encouraged me to intensify my work with the masses.

At present, I am also the secretary of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC). I am actively involved in the ongoing election process, campaigning hard for my party.

I am active with the party cadre. My only aim is to strengthen the position of the Congress party in the national Capital.


Wipro ‘applying thought in schools’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 10
After making inroads into various fields, Wipro is now ‘Applying Thought in Schools’. The initiative is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.

The company offers that the programme was, “ triggered when Wipro realised that even the best people leaving our education system do not bring basic life skills to the workplace”.

While Wipro has already imparted close to 2,00,000 hours of training to over 2,800 teachers, principals and parents, it is conducting a similar programme in the Capital on May 12. The programme is being conducted for various school principals in Delhi.

Spread over two years, the teacher programme aims to transform “the teacher into a reflective practitioner” through workshops and school based support. It helps teachers appreciate that knowledge is built through an evolving process.

The leadership programme works with school leaders to prepare them for their role in leading this transformation. The parent programme helps parents appreciate the purpose of education and the process of learning. It also gets them to reflect on their part in their child’s education and development.

The company claims that over the past three years, the initiative has engaged with various stakeholders to enable change. It adds that the partnering with the experts in education has helped them incorporate international research and the best teaching practices from across the country to the enrolled schools.

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