Whether it is the Congress or SAD-BJP alliance, old faces have been trusted again to win Jalandhar for their respective parties, reports Deepkamal Kaur
Even as the BJP is yet to disclose the name of its candidate from Jalandhar South constituency for the forthcoming Assembly elections, there already are at least 14 candidates from various political parties who are contesting for the second consecutive term this time.
The 14 names include eight Congress sitting MLAs, four last-time Akali contestants, one last-time BSP contestant, who is now fighting from the SAD (B) ticket and a BJP old timer.
The eight sitting Congress MLAs include Ms Gurkanwal Kaur from Jalandhar Cantonment, daughter of former CM Beant Singh, the only women Congress candidate from the district and perhaps the only candidate from this seat to have managed to get a Congress ticket for the second time. The contest this time is presumed to be tougher for her for she would be facing Mr Jasbir Brar, Manpreet Badal’s cousin, a first-time contestant and an advocate by profession.
Seven other Congressmen repeating the contest will be Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee from Jalandhar South, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lally from Adampur, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra from Nakodar, Ch Jagjit Singh from Kartarpur, his brother Ch Santokh Singh from Phillaur, Mr Gurvinder Singh Atwal from Noormahal and Mr Avtar Henry from Jalandhar North, who had won the elections with the biggest margin last time, defeating his BJP rival, Mr Suresh Sehgal, with 22,367 votes.
This time, the ticket has gone to Mr K.D. Bhandari, a first timer, leader of the Opposition of MC House and brother-in-law of Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, state BJP president.
The only new Congress contestant this time is Lieut-Col C.D. Kamboj from Lohian who had virtually been acting as an MLA as all grants for development of the constituency were being received by him rather than Mr Ajit Singh Kohar, an Akali MLA.
Mr Brij Bhupinder Singh, former MLA and last-time Congress contestant, had been quite optimistic of getting back the seat and he had been putting up in Delhi for the past one week. He had remained at loggerheads with Lieut-Col Kamboj all these years as he had been claiming that the grants be rather passed through him.
The Akali candidates being repeated are Mr Gurdeep Singh Bhullar from Noormahal, Mr Sarwan Singh from Phillaur, Mr Sarabjit Singh Makkar from Adampur and Mr Ajit Singh Kohar from Lohian.
Also in the SAD list is Mr Avinash Chander from Kartarpur who had fought from the same constituency last year as a BSP candidate. A BJP candidate, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, will also be putting up a contest from his old seat, Jalandhar Central, from where Mr Tajinder Bittu, Improvement Trust Chairman, has been fielded as against Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, last year candidate. His rivals from the party had opposed the decision as they had pointed out that the constituency had been largely dominated by Hindu voters.
Going by the last time’s election record, Mr Kohar, the only SAD winner from Jalandhar, had got maximum votes to the tune of 48,787. His last-time rival, Mr Brij Bhupinder Singh Lally, too had been polled 43162 votes, the second-largest number of votes cast for a candidate (He is out of contest this time). Lohian has had the second-largest number of electorate, 1,42,196, and also had the largest number of valid votes cast from any constituency last time i.e. 97,112.
The candidate to have won with the minimum margin was Ch Jagjit Singh, representing Kartarpur constituency, whose immediate rival, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, had lost with a narrow difference of 4,123. This time Chaudhary who had been polled 39,010 votes will be fighting against Akali’s Mr Avinash Chander, who had contested elections last time from the same seat as BSP leader and had lagged behind with 10,158 votes.
The last year’s BSP candidate, who had polled maximum votes, was Mr Pawan Tinu from Kartarpur SC seat, who had recently been expelled from the party. He had bagged 21,381 votes. He is yet to announce anything about his role in elections.
After Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, the only prominent women candidate from Jalandhar was Mr Hardev Kaur, who had fought as a BSP candidate from Jalandhar Cantonment seat. She had managed 11,020 votes.
With the release of the Congress list of candidates, battlelines have been drawn on three of the total four seats of Kapurthala district while the party is yet to announce its candidate for the Phagwara (SC) seat.
Interestingly, old rivals are facing each other on Bholath and Sultanpur Lodhi constituencies of the district. MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur (SAD) is facing DCC president Sukhpal Singh Khaira for the third time in Bholath. Similarly, Raghubir Singh (SAD) is contesting against MLA Sukhjinder Kaur Rana, who had defeated him in October 2004 by-election.
Three main political parties, the Congress, the SAD and the BJP, have mostly reposed faith in the old guard at least as far as this district is concerned. The SAD-BJP combine has re-fielded old candidates on all the four seats of the district.
SAD MLA Bibi Upinderjeet Kaur is retrying her luck for the third time in row from Sultanpur Lodhi, whereas the BJP refielded its lost candidate Swarna Ram from the Phagwara (SC).
The Congress has replaced its last-time candidate, Rajanbir Singh from Sultanpur Lodhi seat, and named a new face Navtej Singh Cheema, a former DCC chief. No candidate from Phagwara (sitting MLA Joginder Singh Mann) has figured in the first Congress list.
As far as the results of last six elections are concerned, Bholath and Sultanpur Lodhi seats are considered as strong citadels of the SAD. In fact it won five of the last six Assembly elections since 1977 on both the seats. The Congress could win from these seats only in 1992 when the SAD had boycotted elections.
However, the Congress has a slight upper hand in the remaining two constituencies of Kapurthala and Phagwara (SC). The Congress won four (1980, 1985, 1992 and 2002) of the last six Assembly elections in Phagwara (SC), whereas it won four (1985, 1992, 2002 and 2004 by-election) of the last seven, including 2004 by-election, Assembly elections from Kapurthala.
A former SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, and Khaira are contesting against each other for the third time in a row from Bholath. Bibi defeated Khaira in 1997 and 2002. While she secured 53,168, Khaira could get only 25,141 votes in 1997. Thus, Bibi had registered her victory by a huge margin of 28,027 votes. However, the margin of victory was reduced to 11,378 votes in 2002. Bibi got 41,937 and Khaira 30,559 votes in 2002.
Similarly, former transport minister Raghubir Singh and Sukhjinder Kaur Rana are facing each other for the second time on Kapurthala seat. Sukhjinder (47890) defeated Raghubir (34600) in October 2004 by-election. Former minister Raghubir Singh had won from this seat twice in 1980 and 1997 by getting 50.80 and 46.52 percent of valid polled votes, respectively.
Despite all controversies and mud-slinging against the sitting Congress MLA from Jalandhar Cantonment, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, the ticket came back to her for the second time. The seat had the maximum number of contenders, including her brother, Mr Tej Prakash, Punjabi University Vice Chancellor’s wife and former minister Swaran Singh’s daughter, Ms Satwant Kaur Boparai, and Improvement Trust Chairman, Mr Tejinder Singh Bittu.
A safe Congress ticket, many stalwarts, including the PPCC President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, were said to have been eyeing the seat.
Flood of Chinese toys
The Chinese manufacturers have made inroads into the Indian market. Like many other consumer products, the Indian toys are now not seen in shops . The inexpensive Chinese toys have replaced them fully. The Indian middle class, who used to think Leo and other branded toys out of their range, are now buying these Chinese toys. The wholesaler and retailers here claim that at least 90 per cent of the toys market has been taken over by the Chinese producers.
They say the Indian manufacturers, who initially tried to face them by lowering their price and focusing on quality, are now selling the Chinese toys themselves. A large number of Indian manufacturers have already closed their units.
Mr Rajiv Kumar, a gift shop owner on the Banga Road, said, ''The Chinese are offering a large variety of battery operated toys at less than half the price of Indian toys. One could purchase a big toy car 'Next Power' for just Rs 80 that would not be available for even Rs 250 from the local manufacturers. A simple mobile toy which would be sold by Indian manufacturer for Rs 20 to Rs 25 per piece would be sold for just Rs 10 to Rs 12 by their Chinese counterparts.''
He said in fact there was no competition at all. The quality of plastic toys was so good that Indian counterparts could not even dream of.
He felt that unlike other goods, the toy market was price-sensitive where the parents would buy cheaper products feeling that child would ultimately break it. So the quality was not an issue.
The Chinese, he added, had always been sensitive towards market demands and had been customising their products to meet the requirements. "For instance, they started flooding the Indian markets not just with cute little dolls, but ones that would sing hit numbers from Bollywood blockbusters.
The traders claim that the entry of the Chinese toys since early 2000 has totally changed the domestic market. Mrs Rajni Chawla, who had come to the market to buy toys for her daughter, claimed the schoolchildren were asking for these toys due to additional features and better look.
Mr Rajiv Kumar said the reason behind the phenomenal success of these toys was not hard to comprehend. The goods were inexpensive and within the reach of a common man. They looked attractive and were "durable" also.
Little wonder, displayed in the shelves are Baby toys, telephones, scooter, dancing dolls, metal fighter, roadster car, batman, and spiderman.
Just a thought
Known for short and rough temper, I often end up hurting myself in the process of getting even with others. My torn shirts and broken zips are proof of several showdowns I have had with people at home and outside.
Unlike my brother, I would always go for anything appealed to me at that instant. More often, the stuff I fancied would be the least durable.
While in school, my brother and I were to buy raincoats .I chose a bright one and he bought a sober, costly one. My coat cracked in Shimla rains. His survived till he outgrew it. The raincoat lay along with my brother’s other unwearable stuff in the junkroom for many winters. In one spring-cleaning operation, the raincoat was neatly packed by mom and handed to a charity in New Delhi.
As I grew up and was in a position to subsist of my own, I bought food, shelter and clothing with an eye on here and now. Even when I was in a position to buy durables, I continued to opt for perishables.
As the markets were flooded with all kinds of goods, my earnings also increased. However, they did increase enough to make me a veteran of the use-and-throw culture.
I buy gel pens, but don’t throw the spent ones. I buy refills to save a few rupees. On seeing the upcoming malls in and around Jalandhar and Amritsar, I fear that very soon I would be lost in one of them. As long the purchasing power of teeming millions like me continues to slide vendors of cheap goods are here to stay.
Since home is central to our living, people like me have to depend on the services of professionals from plumbers to doctors. It has become more and more difficult to have the services of skilled professionals in the Doaba region as most are headed to the West or the Gulf. The ones still working here end up lining in front of travel agents which dot markets in the region.
Much before the start of the winter, I bought an instant geyser. With great difficulty, I was able to locate one electrician named Biboo. After several reminders, he showed up and did small repairs and promised to return the next day with a drill to fix the geyser. The winter is about to slip into the spring, but Biboo hasn’t returned. As a result I have to brave the chilly tap water when deodorant fails to repress my stink.
I am not the lone brave heart in this chilly weather who has to wash off his dirt in cold water. Since the start of Kumbh, many like me are being inspired to go under the cold shower. My colleagues tell me that one feels warmer after a cold water bath.
Biboo, a god of small jobs, is in great demand. There are a 100 jobs for electrician like him. He has come all the way from Orissa along with his family and to live a better life in a slum here. Last I heard of him was that his son was down with high fever and he had changed several doctors, but to no avail. A god of small jobs was being poorly served by angels in white. That is the way of life in the global village. We can now construct a 7-star mall in a jiffy but it takes a couple of reasons to fix a geyser. Or even cure a poor man’s child of a common ailment. Specialists are on call while general practitioners have vanished.
A galaxy of artistes, including sitarists Saeed Khan and Sahitya Nahar, vocalist Aviraj Tayade, thumri specialist Kumud Diwan and ghazal singer Zameer Ahmed, mesmerised students, staff and music buffs at a two-day seminar on “Music: Job-oriented performing art” at Banarsi Dass Arya Girls College. The seminar concluded on Thursday.
Hailing from the traditional music family of Delhi gharana, Sayeed Khan spellbound the audience as he weaved magic through the strings of sitar playing various raags and bandishes. His son, Adnan Khan, accompanied him on the stage and both of them played sitar in tandem. A disciple of Ustaad Zafar Ahmed Kahn of New Delhi, he said he had taken his initial “taleem” from his father, Ustaad Waheed Khan, who taught him classical vocal.
The performances were mingled with a seminar which consisted of lectures and paper presentations of experts from the field of music, dance and theatre.
Deliberations in the technical session came from R.S. Tiwari, Director, All-India Radio, Jalandhar, Mr D.P. Malik, music teacher, Dr S.L. Mishra and Doordarshan Director S.S Rehman.
Old students of the physiotherapy department from Lyallpur Khalsa College organised a reunion party to form their alumni association.
Dr Harpal Singh, Associate Professor, Orthoapedics Department, DMC Hospital, Ludhiana, delivered a lecture on arthroscopic, replacement surgery and osteoporosis.
Thirteen students of Class X and eight from Class VIII from Swami Sant Dass Public School have cleared the state-level NTSE examination held this year.
Amanjot, Arpit, Atul Kohli, Gaurav Sharma, Gurpreet, Himanshu, Jatin Dalia, Lakshaya, Mohit Bahri, Rahul Minia, Rinkle Malik, Yuvraj Kalia and Gagandeep from Class X and Ankit Narang, Antriskh Sareen, Anurag Attri, Gagandeep Deval, Nitish S. Paul, Sidakpreet Singh Chawla, Vishakha and Nikhil Joshi have cleared the test.
Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Kapurthala, celebrated its annual prize distribution function on Saturday. Dr Upinderjit Kaur, MLA, was the chief guest.
Cultural performances were presented by students.
Lyallpur Khalsa Collegiate Senior Secondary School released the maiden issued of its magazine “Ankur” on Thursday. The magazine was released by Mr Balbir Singh, a former MP and president of the school council. Prof G.S. Samra, director, said the magazine would provide an opportunity to the students who have a flair for writing.
The PCM SD College for Women will hold a UGC-sponsored seminar on “21st century manager: A perspective” on January 20. Mr V.K. Mahajan, Deputy Secretary, UGC, will be the chief guest. The participants will discuss changing practices in work culture, procedures, policies, regulator mechanism and trading.