L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Rebel Bagga files papers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
Rebel Congress leader Madan Lal Bagga today filed his nomination papers amid much fanfare as an independent candidate from the Ludhiana North constituency.

His nomination was awaited with much interest after he openly expressed his resentment against the party's choice of candidate from this constituency. With the filing of papers the fight in the North constituency gets interesting as Mr Bagga, who has a significant supporter base, can tilt the mandate, feel residents.

The morning witnessed a rush of supporters at his residence in Salem Tabri where he performed a pooja. His supporters, who started gathering from early morning, kept raising slogans in his favour. The candidate also inaugurated his campaign office in Daresi.

When the Congress did not give him the ticket, he threatened to contest as an Independent. His nomination also put to rest doubts being raised on the validity of his claims to contest the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Among those who expressed their solidarity with him were Congress councillors Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Satpal Beri. Congress leaders like Pushpinder Bhanot, general secretary District Congress Committee, Mr Satpal Lamba, Mr Raghuvir Singh Toor and Dr Dharampal Gautam were also present.



Punjab Votes ’07
DCC recommends action
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
With the Congress councillor from ward number 4, Mr Madan Lal Bagga rebelling against the party's decision by filing his nomination as an Independent today, the District Congress Committee reported the matter to the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, recommending disciplinary action against him.

The DCC chief, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, told Ludhiana Tribune that he had shot off a letter to Mr Dullo informing him about today's development. He said if the high command deemed it fit to take action against Mr Bagga, they would inform the latter about it. He can be thrown out of the party for six years, added Mr Sharma.

‘‘He is fighting as an Independent. But he had fought the councillor's election under the banner of the Congress. We have to inform our senior party leaders about his activities’’ added Mr Sharma.

He said Mr Bagga had been a respected Congress worker. ‘‘He should have helped the party candidate from the Ludhiana North constituency, Mr Rakesh Pandey. Now he is going to affect the votes of Mr Pandey.

Mr Bagga was flanked by Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu, councillor of ward number 48, Mr Satpal Beri, councillor of ward number 61, Mr Satpal Lamba, Block Congress President and Mr Ranjit Singh Toor, Block Vice President. Interestingly Mr Ashu was seen with Congress candidates from the four constituencies, when they were singing chorus of unity two days ago.

Mr Bagga said he had filed his papers as an Independent. He said he had not submitted his resignation to the party as yet. ‘‘If they will question me I will reply to them.’’ he said.

Today's development has created furore in Congress circles in the North segment, where the party has fielded sitting MLA, Mr Rakesh Pandey. Political pundits said Mr Bagga's rebellion was likely to cost Mr Pandey dearly, who is already fighting allegations of inaccessibility. Mr Bagga's contest can strengthen the hands of BJP candidate from North, Mr Harish Bedi, as the former is being supported by a number of councillors in the area. Mr Bagga is known for his influence among people of his area. 



Aliwal takes on mentor Badal
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, a two-time Member of Parliament from Ludhiana, is preparing for a decisive battle aimed at ensuring that his erstwhile mentor, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, does not come to power.

Mr Aliwal, who recently resigned from the SAD(B) has joined the Shiromani Akali Dal, constituted after the merger of Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), Shiromani Akali Dal 1920 and Shiromani Akali Dal (Majha) as its acting president.

Mr Aliwal, who has been coordinating the electioneering of the newly constituted party, asserted that they would hold the balance of power after the polls.

He said the name of the party would be Shiromani Akali Dal, while clarifying the one led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal was registered with the Election Commission of India as Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).

Mr Aliwal, one time close confidant of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, is believed to have been alienated from the SAD(B) due to the close proximity of his rival, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, to Mr Sukhbir Badal.

For a long time he was believed to be feeling "sidelined and marginalised". Given the current influence of Mr Dhillon in SAD(B), he felt little space in the party, thus announcing to quit at the end.

With Mr Dhillon getting elected to Parliament, Mr Aliwal felt that there was no space left for him in the party.

He was hoping to get the party nomination either from Ludhiana rural or from Jagraon.

He did not get from anywhere. Ultimately, he decided to quit the party with which he was associated for about three decades.

Mr Aliwal refused to comment on any particular leader in SAD(B). He maintained that he was feeling suffocated for a long time.

With no secure future in sight, he opted for the new SAD, which he claims, would make a difference in these elections and would be in a position to play a decisive role in the formation of the government after the results are declared.

He said they had already worked out a broad-based alliance with the two Left parties, the Lok Bhalai Parti and the Jan Morcha.

Besides, they were holding negotiations with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) to project a strong third alternative to the people who have rejected both the SAD-BJP alliance as well as the Congress.

He said the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann may also merge with SAD.



NRI body wants Cong back in power
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 22
The India Overseas Congress (Canada) has decided to impress upon the Congress party to augment education and health services if it returns to power in the state after elections. The organisation will also explore the possibility of establishing a foundation for achieving the desired purpose.

Mr Davinder Singh Garcha, president, IOC (Canada), a native of Dehliz Kalan village, near here, said the Congress party, if it returns to power, would be asked to give priority to education and health services. “As quality education and good health were prerequisites for generating good opportunities in India and abroad, the government should lay more emphasis on these two sectors, which have remained ignored till now,” remarked Mr Garcha while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

Claiming that about 200 members of the organisation had landed in the state to strengthen the campaign of the Congress candidates, Mr Garcha said the number would cross 500 by the start of the last phase of the electioneering.

Though Mr Garcha dithered to comment on the quantum of financial support to various candidates in the state, he admitted that the association would help the parent party through all means. “As we have been funding various projects during normal days, the organisers and beneficiaries of these projects will now reciprocate by supporting our candidates. It is no less than funding the candidates and the party,” said Mr Garcha.

Besides those who had synchronised their visit with the election process, a large number of NRIs were in touch with their friends and relatives in Punjab to impress upon them to support Congress nominees at various Assembly segments.



Aggarwal Sammelan gives oust Congress call
Our Correspondent

Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, president, Punjab Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan, addresses a news conference in Ludhiana on Monday.
Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, president, Punjab Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan, addresses a news conference in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: I.V.

Ludhiana, January 22
The Punjab Pardesh Aggarwal Sammelan has decided to put its weight behind, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bhartiya Janata Party alliance in the Assembly poll.

Addressing a news conference here today, the state president of the Aggarwal Sammelan, Mr Amrit Lal Aggarwal, said after detailed deliberations over the coming Assembly elections, the state executive had come to the conclusion that in the larger interests of Punjab and Punjabis, hands of SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal should be strengthened and the Congress ought to be defeated in the poll.

Lambasting the Congress government, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, he said every one knew that people from different sections of society had suffered under the Congress regime. Business, industry and trade had been ruined, the state was rocked by countless scandals and the government had virtually mortgaged the interests of the people with big business houses.

Mr Aggarwal alleged that senior functionaries of the Congress government were hand in glove with big industrial houses, land and liquor mafia, who had thrived during last five years while the common man had borne the brunt of unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities. "The items of daily need like pulses, wheat flour, sugar, kerosene oil, edible oils and electricity have literally gone beyond the reach of the people."

The Aggarwal Sammelan chief was of the view that the state be rid of the Congress and the SAD, along with its ally BJP be given a chance to form the next government. He was confident that once voted to power, the government led by Mr Badal would earnestly implement its agenda of promoting trade and industry, education, simplifying taxation structure, bringing prices under control and curbing criminal activities so that people could live in a peaceful and secure manner.

According to Mr Aggarwal, the money power had played a pivotal role in the allotment of party tickets by senior Congress leaders for the assembly elections, which was evident from the shocking instance of denial of ticket to sitting MLA Mr Raj Kumar Gupta in Jalandhar. "Several Congress leaders have amassed crores of rupees in the allotment of party tickets to opportunist and undeserving persons while the genuine contenders were ignored, he alleged."

Mr Anirudh Gupta, Vice President, Mr Surinder Gupta, General Secretary of the sammelan, along with Mr D.J. Jain, Mr Arun Goel, Mr Rajnish Jain, Mr Prem Gupta, Mr Arvind Jindal, Mr Kuldeep Singla, Mr Rajinder Kumar Gupta and Mr Vijay B. Verma were also present at the function.



Cong nominee harps on development
Our Correspondent

Khamano, January 22
The Congress government has fulfilled all its promises made in the last election manifesto. The party is working on a new election manifesto promising further development of Punjab. The Congress candidate and MLA of Samrala claimed this while addressing an election meeting at Lakhanpur village, near here.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh had put the state on the fast track of development and the SAD had no real issue to impress 

He hoped the people of Punjab would honour the development work done by the Congress government and would vote it back in power.

He said the construction of the Tehsil Complex, which had been a longstanding demand of the Khamano area residents, had started. Mr Harbans Singh Pandher, chairman, Block Samiti, Khamano, claimed that the party had got a good response during election meetings at Manderan, thikriwal, Mansoorpur, Khamano, Barwali Kalan, Barwali Khurd, Chari, Bhutta, Jafan Ucha, Japana Neelha and Amrala. Congress leader Ravinder Singh Manela, Sadha Singh Gill, Bhim Chand Shukla and Babu Singh, a former Municipal Councillor, also spoke on the occasion. 



Ludhiana police range requires over 11,000 securitymen for poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 22
Ludhiana police range comprising police districts Ludhiana, Jagraon, Khanna and Ropar require as many as 11,364 security personnel to organise free and fair Vidhan Sabha poll in the range. The authorities of the Ludhiana police range have also sought 34 companies of paramilitary forces to man the sensitive and hyper sensitive polling stations and polling booths.

According to Mr Ishwar Singh, DIG, Ludhiana police range, the candidates of the recognised political parties would be provided escort vehicles with one Head Constable and three constables, besides one NGO or one Head Constable with small weapons for the security of the each candidate. Of the total required force, there will be 623 NGOs, 2367 Head Constables and 6061 constables and 2313 SPOs and a home guard. The Ludhiana police range has at present a strength of 5849 personnel available and 5474 are being mobilised from other places.

The independent candidates will get two constables each.

Ludhiana police range will gave as many as 1324 polling stations with 2297 polling booths in the range. Of these 75 polling stations are hyper sensitive polling stations, including 21 in Ludhiana police district. There are 399 sensitive polling stations, including 175 in Ludhiana police district. The number of non-sensitive polling stations is 850 including 213 in Ludhiana police district.

The DIG said that additional forces would be deployed with the hypersensitive and sensitive polling stations and booths. Besides, there would be intensive patrolling along these booths.

Mr Ishwar Singh said that all steps were being taken to hold free and fair polling and vigil in the range had been intensified with an eye on the anti-social elements.



Candidates on appeasing spree
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
To pacify rebels many candidates are on the appeasing spree and winning over the angry workers in the run up to the Assembly elections.

Cabinet minister and Congress candidate from Ludhiana West, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, today visited two Youth Congress leaders and asked them to work for him and stop protesting against him.

Mr Johar went to former general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Rohit Sabharwal, who had been showing his resentment openly by burning the effigy of Mr Johar at Kochhar market for the past two days.

‘‘I had been angry with the minister as he had not got our works done in the past. Many development works were also lying pending and despite our telling him, he did not listen to us. But now we have joined hands as a cabinet minister walked to us. We have to consider this, ’’ said a happy Sabharwal.

Mr Johar said Rohit was a young worker and he was son of a freedom fighter. ‘‘If my children are angry with me I can always go to them and ask them to come along, ’’ he added.

Another rebel, Mr Rakesh Lite was also expressing his unhappiness over Johar's candidature. He had organised at protest at Haibowal yesterday.

Mr Rakesh Lite said after the minister visited him personally, he had decided to campaign for him. ‘‘We will get him elected with a maximum number of votes. All the misunderstandings are over now, he added.

Meanwhile certain other candidates were also exploring different options to garner support of certain Independents in the city. No announcements were although made by the filing of this report.

It is learnt that Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, Congress candidate from Ludhiana Rural was sending feelers to Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill to support him in the elections. The latter was however stated to be confined to his residence and was deciding his further course of action.

Various leaders were trying to gather support of Mr Jagdev Singh Tajpuri, a strong leader of Rural segment. He was stated to be silent. Sources said that he could tilt the mandate in the favour of a candidate supported by him.



Sardool ‘violated’ poll code
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
The SAD has accused the Excise and Taxation Minister, Mr Sardool Singh, of violating the of code of conduct. In a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner of India, the SAD alleged that several officials in the Excise and Taxation Department had been transferred after the code of conduct came into force with a view to benefiting contestants of the Congress from various constituencies.

The legal wing of the SAD stated that Mr Pal Singh was promoted and appointed as Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Ludhiana, which is his home district despite the fact that his predecessor was posted here only in July last year. "He has been transferred much before the period of three years and this illegal act has been done to help Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Congress candidate from Khanna," it was alleged.

The general secretary of the legal wing, Mr Iqbal Singh, further wrote that another officer, Mr D.S. Gill was promoted and appointed as AETC in Amritsar which is his home district. Terming his transfer as illegal, the SAD said the same had been done with a view to helping Mr Sardool Singh, who is contesting from the Jandiala Guru constituency in Amritsar. "Mr Gill also belongs to the family of 'mahants' whose dera is a part of the Jandiala Guru constituency," the complainant said, adding that the dera would facilitate garnering of support to Mr Sardool Singh.

It also termed promotions and transfers of Mr Raj Pal Singh, an AETC in Amritsar, and another officer in Bathinda with a view to helping the Congress.

The SAD leader alleged that these transfers were ordered on January 17 in violation of the code of conduct and urged the CEC to take an action against Mr Sardool Singh. It also requested the Chief Election Commissioner to order the cancellation of the transfers.



SAD candidate files nomination

Jagraon, January 22
Mr Bhag Singh Malha, SAD candidate, filed his nomination papers from Jagraon constituency on Monday. He submitted the nomination papers to Mr Gurpreet Singh Khaira, SDM-cum-Returning Officer. Mr Malha came in a procession with his supporters to file papers. The number of candidates from this constituency has now risen to three, including two Independent. OC



Viewers miss out on match, punters lose crores
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana January 22
While millions of cricket fans across the country missed action between India and the West Indies yesterday, due to non-availability of Neo Sports channel, a number of punters lost millions.

Ludhiana happens to be one of the major betting centres in the region. The punters place bets with the bookies based in different parts of the country. However, they can place bets only when they watch the action live. Because the stakes keep on changing.

Particularly in cricket, every moment offers a new stake. Moreover, the punters keep on changing their options with every over. With the sports channel mostly remaining unavailable in the region the punters would bet blindly.

They had to depend on the inputs through the telephone from the places where the channel was being telecast. Although the result of the match remained uncertain right till the end, the punters could not make the last minute changes in their options. With the result many of them are said to have lost huge money.

Quite a number of them preferred to play safe by not placing any bets. 



Designer with a difference
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, January 22
Did you know that Mallika Sherwat's costume on the New Year party was designed by Ashley Rebellow for which she was in trouble recently?, Though Ashley does not know as to why people are making such a hue and cry of it as he said she was fully covered but may be people did not like it.

Ashley is different as he says,"I neither hold fashion shows nor display my clothes in them. I am so absorbed in movies, designing clothes for my characters that I do not find time for making models wear my creations on the ramp,"said Ashley Rebellow .

He is an internationally acclaimed designer who has given a new personna to all hot Bollywood stars like Aiswarya Rai, Karishma Kapoor, Isha Kopikar, Sonali Bendre , Poola Bedi, Manisha Koirala and Hollywood stars like Nicole Kidman, Hunter Tylo etc. he has designed for movies like Kante, Company, Dor , Jo Jita Wohi Sikander , Chandani Bar, Biwi No. 1 Sarforsh and many more.

Ashley shot into prominence after giving a new look to Karishma Kapoor in Fiza and designing for all hot item numbers starting from ‘Khalas’ of Isha to ‘Babuji’ of Yana Gupta.

He said ,"Since I am in charge of the costumes of all artistes, I have a free hand. I make it a point to see that the costumes of heroes and heroines do not clash.

He was in the city for an interactive session with students of an air hostess training school. Talking to mediapersons, he said,"I have come mainly to interact with budding air hostesses.

He said the colours of the season are greens, beige and white. He likes to design clothes for Sonali Bendre and Aishwaraya Rai and in the new lot he likes to drape Ayesha Takia and Priyanaka Chopra. 



Bank staff go on strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 22
In protest against its management’s policies, employees of the Central Bank of India observed a strike today. The employees would observe strike at eight zonal level next month. They threatened to intensify their stir in March if the management did not pay heed to their demands.

The employees, who observed a strike under the banner of the United Forum of Central Bank Unions, alleged that the management was attacking trade union rights, making unilateral changes in staff related policies, harassing employees and officers and not implementing agreed decisions.

Mr G.K. Joshi, convener, said the management was “harassing and terrorising’ staff members and was denying them even basic trade union rights. “All the efforts of discussions and conciliation having failed, the union is left with no other alternative than to proceed on a strike”.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |