L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Book driver of 'killer' van, demand residents
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The situation remained tense but under control in Tajpur area of the city with protests by residents, who were demanding registration of a case against the alleged drunk driver of a Tata 407, which mowed down four, including an 11-year-old boy, and left six injured late last night.

The police succeeded in preventing a group of protesters from manhandling accused Varinder Kumar, who was nabbed in the wee hours today and was now in police custody. The residents forced the market to remain closed while seeking a compensation of over Rs 1 lakh for the next of the kin of the deceased.

The Tata 407 carrying fish had left a trail of bodies and wailing, bleeding persons before coming to a halt after hitting an electricity pole.

District Magistrate Ashok Kumar Gupta confirmed in the morning that the death toll was four while six had been injured. He dispelled rumours about the death toll to be 15 as reported by some television channels.

Kanwaljit Kaur Brar, ADC, apart from senior police officials visited the spot and asked the people to remain calm.

D.P. Singh, SP (City II), said the police had nabbed the driver early this morning. The police had also detained a transporter after obtaining the details about the ownership of the truck from the Transport Office, which was opened, especially at midnight.

Preliminary questioning of the accused revealed that he had panicked after hitting the first victim, a scooter rider (Gajinder Singh) near the Central Jail. He was returning from an evening rally of SAD-BJP candidate Hira Singh Gabria. When other workers chased the truck, the driver got nervous. In his zeal to speed away, he crushed everything which came in his way. 



Undertrials can contest elections but can’t vote!
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana January 30
Former MP and ace cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, declared a convict by the High Court, is eligible to contest elections owing to his ‘undertrial’status in the Supreme Court but hundreds of other undertrials lodged in various jails of the state cannot vote as dictated by a strange travesty of rules.

The shocking anomaly in the electoral rules, which allows an undertrial to contest elections, even from jails, but does not allow him to vote arises out of the Representation of People’s Act where in Rule 21 said that only those lodged under preventive detention can seek ballot papers but not the other undertrials.

Though a subject of immense debate among human rights activists, who see it as an infringement on the right to equality and right to vote, the unusual rule leaves hundreds of undertrials disenfranchised every elections.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer Babu Lal told The Tribune that the Election Commission goes by the rules, which do not allow undertrials in custody to vote. However, those preventive detainees lodged under COFEPOSA or other Acts can vote, as per the same rules.

Mr Babu Lal said the state government seeks a list of such detainees from the jail superintendents. Those listed are provided ballot papers.

However, inquiries from the various jails revealed that no such list has been made so far even though the requisite time of making the list within 15 days of the announcement of elections has passed.

Former Delhi High Court Judge and law reformist Rajinder Sachhar , who has been campaigning for the rights of the undertrials and removal of this misplacement in rules, ridicules in one of his articles that an undertrial if not released on bail will be entitled to stand for election but not vote. As against this in similar circumstances an affluent convict, if on bail, will have the right to contest and vote. This is, indeed, a travesty of justice.

He finds it further shocking that Section 60(b) of RPA permits a person under preventive detention to cast his vote by postal ballot. “Now a person may be under preventive detention for being engaged in a heinous offence like endangering the security of the state or smuggling. Yet special provisions are made for him to vote.”



132 in fray after 16 withdrawals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
According to Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, district election officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, 16 candidates have withdrawn their nomination papers.

Among those who withdrew their nominations were Major Singh and Dalip Singh from the Jagraon constituency, Iqbal Singh Grewal (Independent), Tehal Singh (Bahujan Kranti Party) from Kila Raipur, Ram Pal (Independent) from Ludhiana North, Avinash Davar (INC), Subhash Verma (BJP), Pritpal Singh Doabia (SAD-A), Iqbal Singh (Independent) and Rakesh Kumar (Bharti Janshakti Dal) from Ludhiana East, Avtar Singh (SAD-A) from Ludhiana Rural, Davinder Singh (SAD-A) from Payal, Sukhbir Kaur (Independent), Kulwant Singh (Independent) from Payal, Mohnihder Sigh from Koom Kalan and Darshan Singh Dad from Samrala.

Mr Gupta said the remaining candidates in the fray in Jagraon are: Mr Gurdeep Singh Bhaini (INC), Mr Gurdeep Singh Moti (CPI), Mr Bikram Pal (BSP), Mr Bhag Singh Mallah (SAD), Mr Gurmail Singh (BSP-Ambedkar), Mr Inderjit Singh (Independent), Mr Harbans Singh (Independent), Mr Jatinder Pal (Independent), Mr Narinder Singh (Independent), Mr Ravinder Pal Singh (Independent).

Those left in the fray in Raikot are: Mr Harmohinder Singh (INC), Mr Kulwant Singh (BSP), Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi (SAD), Mr Tarsem Jodhan (CPI-ML) Liberation, Mr Tarlochan Singh (CPI-ML) New Democracy, Mr Baljit Singh (Independent), Mr Rajwinder Singh (Independent).

In Dakha, Mr Amarjit Mattu (CPI-M), Mr Darshan Singh (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh (BSP), Mr Malkiat Singh (INC), Mr Kamlesh Prashad (Adarsh Political Party), Mr Gurnam Singh (Lok Jan Shakti), Mr Baldev Singh (Bharti Jan Shakti), Mr Shingara Singh (Independent), Mr Harinder Singh (Independent), Mr Harbans Singh (Independent), Mr Kartinder Pal Singh (Independent), Mr Darshan Singh (Independent), Mr Dharam Pal (Independent), Mr Baldev Singh (Independent).

In Kila Raipur, Mr Jaswant Singh (BSP), Mr Jasbir Singh Khangura (INC), Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha (SAD), Mr Shinder Singh (CPI-ML Liberation), Mr Pupinder Singh (Independent), Mr Tarsem Lal Khosla (Independent), Mr Dharamjit Singh (Independent), Mr Maan Singh (Independent).

In Ludhiana North, Mr Sachin (NCP), Mr Harish Bedi (BJP), Mr Rakesh Pandey (INC), Mr Ramanjit Badhan (BSP), Mr Davinder Singh (Jan Morcha), Mr Pardeep Jindal (Bharti Jan Shakti), Mr Mohammad Nasim Ansari (Samajwadi Party), Mr Rakesh Kumar Jain (Lok Jan Shakti), Mr Ravinder Kumar (J&K National Panther Party), Asha (Independent), Suraj Walia (Independent), Mr Harvinder Happy (Independent), Mr Jaspal Singh (Independent), Mr Madan Lal Bagga (Independent).

In Ludhiana West, Mr Harnam Dass Johar (INC), Mr Harish Rai Dhanda (SAD), Mr Kharati Lal (BSP), Mr Kanwaljit Singh Narula (Lok Jan Shakti Party), Mr Jagmohan Singh (SAD-SSM), Mr Balbir Kumar (Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party), Mr Anant Deep Singh (Independent), Mr Satish Kumar (Independent), Mr Gulshan Kumar (Independent), Mr Jaswinder Singh (Independent), Mr Davinder Kumar (Independent), Mr Ruldu Singh Parmar (Independent).

In Ludhiana East, Mr Mohinder Singh (NCP), Mr Sat Pal Gosain (BJP), Mr Surinder Kumar Dawar (INC), Ms Usha (BSP), Mr Balwinder Singh (SAD-A), Mr Maninder Singh (Lok Jan Shakti), Mr Gurbinder Sood (J&K National Panthers Party), Mr Bobby Bharti (Jan Shakti Dal), Mr Gaurav Gupta (Liberal India Party), Mr Gurbaksh Singh (Independent), Mr Lal Chand Rao (All-India Vikas Party), Mr Manjit Singh (BGT Dal), Mr Nirmal Singh (Independent), Mr Sunil Kumar (Independent), Mr Teja Singh (Independent ) Mr Varjinder Kumar Malhotra (Independent).

In Ludhiana Rural, Mr Gurmail Singh (BSP), Mr Hira Singh Gabria (SAD), Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi (INC), Mr Ram Parkash (Nationalist Congress Party), Mr Parminder Singh (Rashtriya Janta Dal), Mr Sunder Lal (Samajwadi Party), Mr Azad Sharma (Adarsh Political Party), Mr Shambhu Kumar Singh (Jan Morcha), Mr Gurdeep Singh (Independent), Mr Gurnam Singh Chauhan (Independent), Mr Hardeep Singh (Independent), Mr Jasbir Singh Thethi (Independent), Mr Kirpal Singh (Independent), Mr Kishori Lal Mehta (Independent), Mr Kunal (Independent), Mr Satwant Singh (Independent), Sheela (Independent), Varinder Singh (Independent).

In Payal, Mr Kartar Singh Bowani (CPI), Mr Gurchet Singh (BSP), Mr Tej Parkash Singh (INC), Mr Mahesh Inder Singh (SAD), Mr Harjit Singh (RSP), Mr Amrik Singh (Independent), Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh (Independent), Mr Barjinder Singh (Independent), Mr Rajinder Singh (Independent).

In Koom Kalan, Mr Inder Iqbal Singh (SAD), Mr Ishar Singh (INC), Mr Gian Singh (BSP), Mr Harjit Singh (Lok Jan Shakti Party), Mr Balwinder Singh (Lok Bhalai Party).

In Samrala, Mr Amarjit Singh (BSP), Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon (INC), Mr Jagjiwan Singh (SAD), Mr Avtar Singh (RSP), Mr Himmat Singh (SAD-A), Mr Amrik Singh (Independent), Mr Avtar Singh (Independent), Mr Amrik Singh Sekhon (Independent), Mr Gurdial Singh (Independent).

In Khanna, Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo (INC), Mr Sawarn Singh (BSP), Mr Bikram Jit Singh (SAD), Mr Amrik Singh (RSP), Mr Gurdeep Singh (Independent), Mr Dalwara Singh (Independent), Mr Piara Singh (Independent), Mr Bhajan Singh (Independent), Mr Ranjit Singh (Independent), Mr Lakha Ram (Independent).



Youth Akali leader booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The Shimla Puri police has booked Youth Akali Dal leader Simarjit Singh Bains for allegedly misbehaving with an Executive Magistrate on poll duty while SSP A.S. Rai has ordered a departmental inquiry against SHO Shimla Puri Varinderjit Singh for not taking proper action in the same incident that took place on January 26.

The action has been taken after the District Magistrate Ashok Kumar Gupta ordered a probe into the incident taking cognisance of a complaint made by Executive Magistrate Ram Lal and Malkiat Singh Dakha, Congress candidate from the Dakha constituency.

Mr Dakha had complained that banners and posters of his rival candidate Darshan Singh Shivalik were being pasted in violation of the code of conduct. The magistrate was manhandled when he intervened. The SHO alllegedly did not take proper action to the satisfaction of the complainant.

The matter had remained a thorny issue between the police and the administration all these days leading to the action against both parties.



Badal seeks support for non-Sikh candidates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal today asked a number of Akali leaders and workers to support the SAD-BJP alliance candidates, irrespective of their religion and caste.

Camping in the city throughout the day to garner votes and address rallies, Mr Badal did a tough talk with certain Akalis who were not supporting non-Sikh candidates of the alliance whole-heartedly.

Sources said a number of Akali leaders, including some councillors, were not seen in the campaign of some candidates, who had reported the matter to the party high command. They were even said to be silently working against the candidates.

Mr Badal addressed a rally in favour of Mr Satpal Gosain, BJP candidate from Ludhiana East, in the afternoon. Later he went to the rallies of Mr Harish Bedi, BJP nominee from North, and SAD candidate Harish Rai Dhanda. ‘‘He specifically named some seats and told all the leaders and workers to work in that direction,’’ said a senior Akali leader.



SAD rebel gets SAD(A) support
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 30
The SAD rebel candidate from this constituency, Mr Jagjiwan Pal Singh Gill, received a shot in the arm when Mr Devinder Singh Timberwal, SAD(A) nominee, along with his supporters announced his support for Gill after withdrawing his nomination yesterday.

The step has been taken as an effort to defeat Congress and SAD nominees, maintained the SAD(A) activists.

While addressing a gathering at a function organised here today, Mr Timberwal called upon leaders of various regional parties to join hands to help Mr Gill win the Assembly elections. “As leaders of the Congress and the SAD had been playing with the sentiments of residents of this area, we should join hands to support Mr Gill, who, if voted to power, would project our problems in the government to be formed,” said Mr Timberwal.

Mr Amrik Singh Issru, SAD(A) leader, and Mr Mangat Rai Lasara of the SAD(L) said they had decided to support Mr Gill in the wider interest of society.

Paying gratitude to the SAD(A) leaders for extending support, Mr Gill gave an assurance that if elected he would do his best to get all demands of the area fulfilled. Mr Gill added that he had been asked by the residents to contest election as rebel after denial of ticket by Mr Parkash Singh Badal. 



Badal hits out at Cong
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 30
“The Congress has done nothing for Punjab and should not be brought to power.” Stating this at a rally here today, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, challenged Captain Amarinder Singh to disclose the pace of development in the state.

Farmers of the state can only be prosperous if prices are reduced and income is increased four-fold, he said.

He disclosed that farmers were burdened with a loan of Rs 25,000 crore in the state. Promising relief to farmers whose crops had been damaged, Mr Badal said land would be acquired at the rate recommended by Deputy Commissioners. 



Cong didn't recognise my loyalty: Mahant
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 30
As loyalty has no recognition in the Congress, I decided to quit and serve people through the SAD, says Nirmal Singh Mahant, who has been inducted as political affairs committee member in the SAD recently.

His decision to side with former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar had reportedly annoyed Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a factor that led to rejection of his candidature during the earlier and the ensuing elections.

“It was painful for me to quit a party that has been served by three generations of our family. But when I got convinced that loyalty has no place in the party and ticket are auctioned instead of being allotted, I took the bitter decision and decided to serve people under the guidance of Mr Parkash Singh Badal,” said Mahant, asserting that his father Sant Ram Mahant and grandfather Bhagwant Dass Mahant had been actively involved in the congress organisation.

Accusing the Congress high command of ignoring his sacrifice and contributions for the strengthening of the organisation, Mahant alleged that he had been betrayed earlier also. “They had denied me the ticket last time also and had assured me of an opportunity when I had approached the court. Ms Sonia Gandhi and Capt Amarinder Singh had impressed upon me to withdraw the case,” he said. Terming factionalism to be the main cause of resentment among Congressmen, Mahant said,“Though Capt Amarinder tried to keep his promise by recommending my name, the high command seemed to have succumbed to the pressure of PPCC president Shamsher Dullo and Bhattal, who had been opposing me for obvious reasons.” 



Candidates get clean chit on code violation
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The district administration, after much publicity of its action of ordering inquiries into alleged violations of the code of conduct, has given clean chit to all three candidates on the basis that the “allegations could not be proved”.

Based on news reports, the Deputy Commissioner last week ordered inquiries into alleged allegations of code violations by three candidates, Mr Gurmail Singh Pehalwan of the BSP from Ludhiana (Rural), Mr Harish Rai Dhanda of the SAD-BJP combine from Ludhiana (West) and Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha from the Dakha constituency.

While in case of the BSP candidate, the basis of inquiry was news reports on traffic irregularities caused by the candidate, who brought his cavalcade and two elephants while going for filing his nomination papers. In case of Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, it was alleged that he overcrowded the Returning Officer's office while filing his papers. Mr Harish Rai Dhanda was accused of causing violation as his supporters caused traffic problems on the Ferozepore road.

The administration, which claimed that it was taking note of all violations and was considering even news reports as complaints, however, was unable to establish any violation.

“A lot of aspects were taken into account while conducting inquiry. But nothing could be established against the candidates,” said Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner.

In case of the BSP candidate, the report found that heavy traffic jam was caused as a lot of other candidates were going to file their nominations on the last day. In case of Mr Dhanda, the allegation could not be proved.

What irks city residents is the fact that traffic remained a problem on all days of filing of nominations. Newspapers also carried photographs of crowded roads. "There were traffic jams on all days, long cavalcades accompanied candidates. Flouting the code seems to be something the candidates can easily get away with,” commented a resident.



Father of Nation forgotten in Phillaur
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Phillaur, January 30
Even after “Gandhigiri” in “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” people here seem to have forgotten Mahatma Gandhi with very few people present on the banks of the Sutlej on his 59th death anniversary today.

Politicians fared no better and they too forgot the “Father of the Nation”, who had honoured the region by choosing this spot for immersing some of his ashes.

It seems if the memorial had been located in a thickly populated area, politicians would have made a beeline for it as it would have offered a huge potential for votes.

Usually a few garlands could be seen at the memorial on his birth and death anniversaries, but there were none. The memorial, which is cleaned on these two days only (and forgotten for rest of the year), has been completely abandoned this time for reasons best known to politicians.

As per the wishes of Mahatma Gandhi, an urn containing his ashes was immersed in the Sutlej, near the old railway bridge, on February 12, 1948. From then on, a fair at the site had become a regular feature. Set up in the scenic background of the Sutlej, its calm and serene environs were quite an attraction for residents and tourists visiting the place but with the deterioration of the place, very few people visit it now.

Moreover, with the passage of time the bridge near the memorial became too narrow to cope with the increasing traffic and another bridge was constructed at a distance. This shifted the focus from the memorial also.

Civil administration sources say they are helpless about the matter as the memorial is being maintained by an organisation, Vayu Raksha Brigade. However, there was no information about the address of the organisation. Earlier, a rusty board bearing the name of the organisation stood there but it, too, has disappeared.



Father of Nation remembered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
Tributes were paid to Mahatma Gandhi and other martyrs of the country at a special function organised to observe the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi at the Mini Secretariat, here, today.

District Magistrate Ashok Kumar Gupta presided over the function. Two minutes silence was observed and a police contingent presented a salute by reversing arms.

Mr Gupta said Mahatma Gandhi had led the nation through non-violent struggle to liberate the country from the British rulers and taught us the principles of truth, peace, non-violence. He added that Gandhi ji was a unique personality of the world, who practised himself what he advised the whole nation.

Among others present were Mr Pryank Bharti, ADC (D), Mr Rajiv Gupta, Assistant Commissioner (General), Mr Darshan Singh, DPRO, and Ms Anupam Kaler, Executive Magistrate. 



Stone laid in ’95 stares Dullo in face
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
This foundation stone of Ambedkar Bhawan in Salim Tabri is an embarrassment for the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief and Congress candidate from the Khanna Assembly segment, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo.

Laid by Dullo 11 years ago, who was an Excise and Taxation Minister that time, the foundation stone speaks volumes on how it was laid on the Punjab Agro Industrial Corporation's land to garner votes, especially of the Dalits. The stone was laid in the presence of the then Welfare Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh.

While it had been creating heart burn among the Dalits in the past one decade, the Vishaw Guru Ravidass Mission had moved the SC/ST Commission that directed the Deputy Commissioner to construct the bhawan if the Punjab Agro was not allowing construction there. The construction on it started a month ago near the DC's office.

However, the foundation stone laid by Mr Dullo continues to stand erect on the Punjab Agro land that also houses a foodgrain wooden crate manufacturing unit, besides a petrol filling station.

Inquiries revealed that despite the fact that the land belonged to the PAIC, Mr Dullo had laid the stone. Official source in the PAIC told The Tribune that the foundation stone laying ceremony was performed in the absence of any PAIC official on February 19, 1995, which incidentally fell on Sunday.

‘‘It was a meticulously planned game of some politicians for pleasing a section of society and including them in the vote bank. The function was organised on Sunday to avoid any resistance from PAIC officials.’’ said an official requesting anonymity.

He added that though the stone was laid, nobody came to them to take the possession of the land for the construction of the building. ‘‘That showed their seriousness towards the issue. The foundation stone still stands. We are not removing it as it is on the other side of the land. ’’

Office-bearers of the Vishaw Guru Ravidass Mission, an organisation that had fought a battle to get the bhawan, said it was after 11 years of fight that the work has finally started on the bhawan. 



729 polling booths sensitive
20.6 lakh to decide fate of 132 in Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 30
The Ludhiana Parliamentary constituency has 729 polling booths which have been identified as sensitive and very sensitive by the administration.

The 12 Assembly segments, which have over 20.6 lakh voters, including 9.79 lakh females, will have a total of 2,057 polling stations.

"There are 132 candidates in the fray, including three women. While Ludhiana Rural has the maximum number 18 Koom Kalan has the minimum number of candidates, which is five," said Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, addressing a press conference here today.

He said a staff of 10,329 would be appointed as presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and other polling staff.

In terms of number of voters, Ludhiana Rural has the highest of 4.7 lakh while Ludhiana East has the minimum number of 91,217. There are around 1.48 lakh voters in the Jagraon constituency, 1.25 lakh in Raikot, 2.87 lakh in Dakha, 1.29 lakh in Qila Raipur, 1.34 lakh in Ludhiana North, 1.37 lakh in Ludhiana West, 1.23 lakh in Payal, 1.47 lakh in Koom Kalan, 1.17 lakh in Samrala and 1.50 lakh in Khanna.

The number of polling stations would be 145 in Jagraon, 121 in Raikot, 280 in Dakha, 129 in Qila Raipur, 139 in Ludhiana North, 144 in Ludhiana West, 100 in Ludhiana East, 436 in Ludhiana Rural, 124 in Payal, 152 in Koom Kalan, 124 in Samrala and 163 in Khanna. The number of sensitive booths is the highest in Ludhiana Rural at 95.

Regarding sensitive and very sensitive booths, Mr Gupta said these were decided in consultation with the police and based on factors like polling percentage, nature of contest, etc. "For instance booths that reported more than 80 per cent or less than 20 per cent voting in last elections, or where a single party got a very high percentage of votes or where the contest is very strong etc are the factors taken into consideration.'

He said by February 7, all constituents would get details of their votes. Regarding security cover provided to the contesting candidates, Mr Gupta said: "Every candidate has been provided with security. In case anyone has a complaint they can approach the SSP or DC office and they will be provided with the same in no time."



Bird lover rescues bird

Ludhiana, January 30
A bird lover from the Shiv Puri area yesterday hired a ditch machine to save a bird’s life that was caught up in a kite string and a tree.

Mr Sumit Kumar saw the bird struggling for life at 3 pm and he informed the local unit of the People for Animals and wild life authorities. But nobody came to the bird's rescue.

He later arranged for a ditch machine on his own and saved the bird. — TNS



Car recovered
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 30
The Sudhar police intercepted a stolen car at a naka and took the same in their possession. Gurpreet Singh, the driver of the car, managed to flee. The investigations are on but no arrest has been made so far. A case has been registered under Section 411 of the IPC. 



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 |