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SIT to probe Beas violence : CM
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 31
Rebutting the accusations of Mr Anil Dutta, member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at a press conference here today, vehemently denied that money had changed hands for the allocation of the ticket for the Jalandhar( Central) seat

The Chief Minister warned the Congress dissidents that if they failed to stop "anti-party' activities, they would be expelled from the party for a period not less than six years.

Reiterating the "guilty in the Beas firing incident would not be spared", the Chief Minister said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been formed to probe the incident.

On denial of the party ticket, Mr Anil Dutta, had alleged that the "Chief Minister had sold the Congress ticket for the Jalandhar (Central) constituency for a whopping Rs 12 crore."

A visibly upset Capt Amarinder Singh, said: " Does he mean that each of us-Mrs Mohsina Kidwai, Mr Janardhan Dwivedi and me-have taken Rs 5 crore for the ticket? This is absurd. What is the standing of Mr Dutta?”

The Chief Minister had played a vital role in the elevation of Mr Dutta as Managing Director of the Jalandhar Central Cooperative bank about a year back. Mr Dutta, now an Independent candidate from Jalandhar (Cantonment), had produced documents which, according to him, suggested that the Jalandhar Improvement Trust had given land worth Rs 7 crore to an educational trust run by certain persons close to the Chief Minister.

Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, sitting MLA from Jalandhar (Central), who has been denied the party ticket by the Congress high command, was absent.

 

Beas case: SP told not to leave UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Punjab Government tonight issued instructions asking Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, a brother of the sitting MLA from Beas, Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, not to leave his place of posting in Chandigarh or seek leave till February 27.

Mr Gill is an SP with the Punjab Police and was originally alleged to be linked to the firing incident two days ago where one SAD worker was killed in the Beas constituency.

A report sent by the Punjab Police to the Home Department today cleared the name of Mr Gill, saying he was not present at the scene of the firing.

 

Deputy EC to visit Beas today
Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 31
The Deputy Election Commissioner, Mr R. Bhattacharya, will hold a review meeting with senior poll observers and District Election Officers in Amritsar for first-hand information about poll arrangements in the border state here tomorrow.

Mr Bhattacharya will also visit the Beas Assembly constituency.

When contacted, Mr Kirandip Singh Bhullar, Deputy Commissioner, said Mr Bhattacharya would be coming to Amritsar by Deccan Airlines tomorrow morning. After holding a meeting of seven DCs of various districts and senior poll observers, he would visit "sensitive" constituencies.

He would hold similar meetings in Ludhiana and Ferozepor divisions during his two-day tour of the state.

 

Sukhbir charm fails 
Disabled at rally thrashed by policemen

Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 31
The charm of SAD’s main campaigner Sukhbir Singh Badal failed to work on youths at a Students Organisation of India (SOI) rally at Dana Mandi Ground here this evening, leaving Akalis flummoxed.

The junior Badal, who is criss-crossing the state in an attempt to enthuse party cadres ahead of the. This created a chaos at the venue.

Despite the fact that the Students Organisation of India is a wing of the SAD and Mr Badal its patron, a significant number of those present at the rally were either the aged or schoolchildren, all of whom carried flags. The youth were missing even as Mr Badal, who is patron of the All-India Youth Akali Dal, rolled out promises for the youth.

The rally, organised by Mr Raju Khanna, national president of the SOI, turned out to be a badly managed affair with security being too tight for the comfort of the ‘youth'. Things seemed to go out of hand when a disabled person who tried to greet Mr Sukhbir Badal, seated on the dais, was thrashed up by the organisers and the cops present there. Even the media was kept at an arms length from Mr Badal, who remained inaccessible to the people due to the security ring around him.

All SAD candidates from different Assembly segments of Patiala district were present but none was allowed to speak. During his speech Mr Badal promised that government vacancies would be filled, but nothing seemed to work.


Going tough for Lal Singh
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Dakala (Patiala), January 31
Despite the fact that this constituency is represented by minister Lal Singh of the Congress, the Dakala Assembly segment remains one of the most industrially backward constituencies in the state. It is on this issue that the might of Mr Lal Singh-a four-time MLA from Dakala-is being challenged by the SAD nominee, Mr Harmail Singh Tohra.

It may not be a cakewalk for Mr Lal Singh this time. In the 2002 elections, Mr Lal Singh managed to ride to victory, getting a 37.37 per cent of the total votes polled. Others in the fray were SAD candidate Charanjit Singh Walia, who got 21.95 per cent, Mr Harmail Singh Tohra 9.05 per cent and Mr Amarjot Singh Punia, a rebel candidate of the SAD who got 16.61 per cent votes.

Observers feel that if the poll percentage of all three candidates, including Mr Walia, Mr Tohra and Mr Punia is clubbed together, Mr Lal Singh may face a tough battle.

The SAD candidate against Mr Lal Singh fight has the support of almost all splinter groups, including the backing of Mr Amarjot Singh Punia, who was pacified by the SAD chief after he had threatened to contest as a rebel candidate.

Apart from the anti-incumbency wave in the area, there is growing resentment against Mr Lal Singh too. This is because several senior Congress leaders snubbed by Mr Lal Singh in the past five years want to see Mr Lal Singh dislodged. However, Mr Lal Singh has endeared himself to a section of the populace due to the developmental works initiated during his tenure as MLA.

Sanaur is the only semi-urban area in this Assembly segment and it is from here that Mr Lal Singh may face stiff opposition as a former Congress President of the Sanaur Municipal Committee has shifted allegiance to the SAD along with a few councillors.

On the other hand Mr H.S. Tohra is slowly but steadily making inroads into the 1.64 lakh-strong vote bank of the constituency. The son-in-law of former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Harmail Singh, is seeking votes on the work done by him after he became minister in the 1997 elections.

In 1997 Mr Tohra had defeated his bete noire Lal Singh to become minister in the Mr Badal Cabinet.

Other party candidates in the fray are Mr Suresh Mehra (BSP), Mr Amrik Singh (SP) and Mr Satnam Singh (SAD-Amritsar), who in all likelihood will cut into the votes of both the Congress and the SAD.

 

Poll duty: EC banks on banks
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Several extension counters and small branches of nationalised banks in Punjab face temporary closure as their employees have been asked to report for election duty.

“The shrinking number of government employees coupled with an increasing number of polling stations and polling booths has forced the Election Commission to requisition services of our employees for poll duty,” says a senior functionary of a nationalised bank.

In all, Punjab will have 16, 650 polling booths. Each of these booths will be managed by four or five members of the polling staff, mostly drawn from various government departments and public sector undertakings.

Of the nearly 70,000 personnel on election duty, more than 10 per cent come from public sector undertakings, of which the nationalised banks are the main contributors.

The number of public sector employees on the poll duty has been gradually on the increase. Interestingly, the participation of Central Government employees in the Assembly elections is still restricted.

“It may adversely affect banking operations in the state. Many of the branches are facing an acute shortage of staff ever since the introduction of the Voluntary Retirement Scheme. And many rural branches are now run by just one employee, a clerk. And interestingly, a majority of the employees of single-man branches have been put on poll duty,” reveals the senior functionary.

“We understand the importance of holding a free and fair election. But had the manpower management been organised a little more efficiently and methodically, the banking services would have remained unaffected.”

“Instead of taking senior functionaries of nationalised banks into confidence for meeting the shortfall of poll staff, the Election Commission has been conveying its demand of manpower only through the lead bank in the state,” he adds.

In Ludhiana, for example, a bank has been asked to depute as many as 250 employees, not only for training but also for poll duty during the next fortnight. And many of these employees are managing small and rural branches without any support staff.

Similarly, banks in other districts have been asked to spare services of hundreds of their employees for training capsules as well as poll duty on February 12 and 13.

At some places, bank employees may also be put on duty on the day of counting of votes on February 27.

 

This young bard sings paeans for Cong
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Polio is no handicap for this village boy from Faridkot, who has grown into the most sought after traditional campaigner in Punjab. The youngest kavishar-pracharak in the state and the best, he could well have earned fortunes by campaigning in important constituencies for both the Congress and the Akalis. But, that’s not how Roshan Hardialeana, a 32-year-old bard, works.

He is wedded to the Congress and believes in winning tough battles for the party. It is no coincidence that Hardialeana was the spirit behind the Congress’ campaign in the 542 villages of the Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency in 1999. In a tough battle between Congress stalwart Jagmeet Brar and Akali leader Sukhbir Badal, the former won by a margin of over 5,000 votes.

Earlier in 1997, Hardialeana had energised the poll campaign of Avtar Singh Brar, Congress candidate opposite Akali stalwart Bibi Jagdish Dhillon, in the Faridkot Assembly segment. Surprisingly, the former won. He never takes credit for the party’s victories, for which he works free of cost. For him, these campaigns have been a few among the many the party has trusted him with. And now he is preparing for tougher missions as he helps with the campaigns of Congress candidates from Kotkapura and Panjgaraian, both Akali strongholds.

In Kotkapura, Hardialeana has been campaigning for his political mentor Jagmeet Brar’s younger brother Ritjit Brar, who is fighting the sitting Akali MLA Mantar Singh Brar. An even harder nut to crack is Panjgaraian - the bastion of Akali MLA Gurdev Singh Badal, former Agriculture Minister. From here, Hardialeana has been campaigning for Congress’ Joginder Singh Pradhan.

As the unassuming youth goes about his business, one wonders what makes him so special that a section of Akali leadership has been trying to woo him with money. Most certainly it is Hardialeana’s vast knowledge of the Constitution, Punjab politics and socio-cultural milieu. He weaves his knowledge into irresistible verses, loaded with political and creative punch. The presentation is done by Hardialeana and his brother Shiv Kumar, an equally promising singer.

“I enjoy the ‘dangals’ (big fights) as they add to my intellectual ability,” says Hardialeana, who has mastery over election issues. For the rural masses, he builds up strong cases for his party. And to enrich his arguments he quotes from books, some being “Suchaggi Rajniti”, a Punjabi translation of Mark Tully’s book on the subject and “Azad Bharat”, a translation of Dr Gopal Sharma’s book. These days Hardialeana is reading Sanjay Kapoor Sharma’s “Bad Money Bad Politics”.

 

BJP Pvt Ltd Co, says Khurana
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 31
A former BJP stalwart, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, today vented his ire against the party at a press conference held in favour of the Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party in Pathankot.

He alleged that the BJP had been converted into a private limited company. BJP leaders, who till about a decade ago, were living in low-income-group flats, had now become billionaires.

The BJP had adopted the ideology of the Congress, and there was now no difference between the two parties.

Due to this, many BJP leaders were now feeling suffocated in the party. Many of the big leaders were now in contact with the Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party and were likely to join it in the near future.

In Punjab also, former ministers of the SAD-BJP combine had only collected money through illegal means rather than working for the people.

The workers now had no respect for the party.

He said the Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party would now oppose BJP in all states. “In Punjab, we have fielded 19 candidates. In another 11 constituencies, we have extended support to candidates of other parties,” he said.

Ms Manju Gupta, Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party candidate from Pathankot, Mr Sukhrit Sharda, the party candidate from Sujanpur, besides Mr Chader Raj Sanghvi, a former minister from Rajasthan and regional in charge of the party, and Mr Pawan Malecha, president of the state unit, were among those present at the press conference.

Interestingly, Bhartiya Jan Shakti Party leaders, instead of levelling allegations against the Congress, targeted the BJP.

They said their main aim was to defeat the BJP in the elections.

 

District Report
Exciting battle in Muktsar
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 31
Considered as a SAD stronghold and Badals' home turf, the district is all set to witness exciting electoral battles with Congress candidates and rebel-turned-Independents giving SAD candidates a run for their money.

With SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal seeking his re-election for the third time in a row, Lambi is undoubtedly the most high-profile seat of the district. Mr Badal is pitted against his first cousin and Congress candidate Mahesh Inder Singh Badal, who polled over 25,000 votes as an Independent in the last elections and stood second in the race.

The SAD supremo won his first election from Malout in 1960 while he emerged victorious from Gidderbaha in the 1969, 1972, 1977, 1980 and 1985 elections. He has won from Lambi in 1997 and 2002. Unlike last time, the battle of ballots doesn't seem easy for the SAD president. Firstly because the Congress has fielded Mr Mahesh Inder, turning it into a straight fight, and secondly the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is taking keen interest in the poll campaigns in the constituency.

The Gidderbaha Assembly seat is the next in the limelight due to another Badal. The SAD chief's nephew and party heavyweight, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, is tied in a triangular contest with Congress' Raghbir Singh and Independent Sant Singh Brar, a rebel Congress candidate. Sant's entry into the electoral arena has come as a jolt to Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, as the former may make a dent in the SAD vote bank. Manpreet's down-to-earth personality and accessibility to common man will work to his advantage.

The Muktsar Assembly seat will perhaps witness the most electrifying triangular contest among SAD-BJP candidate Sukhdarshan Singh Marar, SAD rebel Bhai Harnirpal Singh Kukku and Congress candidate Kanwarjeet Singh Brar. The allotment of the SAD ticket to rebel Marar and subsequent "sympathy wave" for Bhai Kukku has spiced up the electoral battle here.

In Malout, the Congress has heaved a sigh of relief, as its leader, Mr Baldev Singh Balamgarh, has withdrawn his nomination as an Independent. It came as a shot in the arm for party candidate Nathu Ram who is facing SAD's Harpreet Singh here.

 

1 boat, 50 villages
Kirandeep

Tribune News Service

Chamkaur Sahib, January 31
The life could not have been worse for the villagers of this Assembly constituency. It is in contrast to claims on development in the state by successive governments. Residents of over 50 villages, situated on the banks of the Sutlej, have only one boat to ferry them across the river.

The segment falls under Ropar district. Schoolchildren, villagers and farmers have to line up since early morning near Jindanpur village for the boat service to reach their respective destinations. If anyone falls sick during night, his family has to wait until sunrise to take him to the hospital as the boat service is available from 7 am to 6 pm only.

People have to risk their lives travelling by the boat even on a rainy day. The travel by the land route means additional 50 km to reach Ropar, Anandpur Sahib, Nangal, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur.

Promises by political parties to get a bridge built across the river have proved hollow. The villages that fall in this area include Jindanpur, Bela, Kurkewal, Bajitpur, Jasrna, Daudpur, Attari, Ferojpure, Lakhewal, Behrampur, Balrampur, Shlapur, Dhumewal, Makauwal, Sultanpur and others.

“The area has not seen any development due to the lack of a bridge across the river”, rued Mr Harbash Singh of Sultanpur, Mr Gurbinder Singh of Bela, and Mr Mangat Ram of Daudpur.

“There is always a risk to life while travelling by the boat, especially for schoolchildren. On a rainy day, we have to forgo our daily assignments in other parts of the state”, said Asha Kiran of Jindanpur.

“We have a contract worth Rs 1.71 lakh to ferry the villagers to the either side of the river. Except for three villages, we charge Rs 5 per cycle from every commuter. The operation of the boat service much depend on the weather”, said the boatman, Kala Singh of Malewal village.

 

CISF deployed in Chamkaur Sahib

Ropar, January 31
Apprehending a clash between supporters of the different political parties following the death of Ajeb Singh (55) of Hafhizabad reportedly due to excess liquor consumption, the two companies of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were deployed in Chamkaur Sahib assembly segment of district here this evening. Tension prevailed here after the allegation and counter allegation levelled by the supporters of different parties against each other for the death of an old man. They were alleging that old man had died after he consumed liquor supplied by supporters of a candidate in the fray.

As many as 150 personnel of the CISF marched in different areas of this segment check the situation. SSP, Kapil Dev, said we have been inquiring into the matter. So far it appeared to be a case natural death and real cause would be surface after the post mortem report to be conducted tomorrow. — TNS

 

Gen-set go: He is hi-tech
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
Technology helps the tech savvy, and it holds true for candidates in the electoral fray. And if the candidate is an advertising guru, technology is not limited to the use of mobile phone for campaigning.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from Kharar, Mr Jasjit Singh, has found an electronic clone to make his presence felt in various villages of his constituency even while he is busy campaigning elsewhere.

A mini-truck, doubling up as a mini-film studio, is making the rounds of these villages with a large screen atop showing Mr Jasjit Singh campaigning, making speeches and meeting people.

The truck, hired by the candidate from a Mohali-based advertising agency, has computer experts with laptops on board who play CDs during. Fresh recordings of Mr Jasjit Singh’s campaign are edited inside and then played. For villagers, an 8 X 6 ft screen is a novelty and within no time a crowd gathers around the mini-truck as it enters a village.

An announcement is made and films are played to hold the interest of the crowd.

“The aim is to keep the crowd interested and together till the candidate himself comes and talks to them,” said Zulfi, an official of the advertising company who moves along with the truck.

“There are some advertisements, but the focus is on the candidate and his speeches. In the last elections, Mr Arvind Khanna introduced the concept of such a truck while he was campaigning in Sangrur and this time we are doing it for Mr Jasjit Singh,” said Ms Amarjit Sidhu, who runs the advertising agency.

 

SAD to make Amritsar Vatican
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 31
The Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, has said that if voted to power, the SAD-BJP government would develop the holy city of Amritsar as a 'model city' on the pattern of the Vatican.

The SGPC general house had passed a resolution to this extent earlier.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Badal said after constituting Amritsar Development Authority, the city would be developed as an international tourist centre. After Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, Amritsar would be the 'IT hub' of northern India.

Giving a fillip to the election campaign of Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was present at the press conference, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal said an international cricket stadium would be opened in the city which would be better than the Mohali stadium. He said coaches of international repute would give training to budding cricketers.

He said if voted to power, the SAD-BJP government would open an academy for giving training to pilots and air-hostesses. A sports authority on the pattern of the NIS would also be opened in Amritsar.

 

Candidates hire rickshaws for electioneering in Ropar
Kirandeep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 31
Instead of campaigning with a cavalcade of vehicles and in a high tech way, candidates have hired rickshawpullers who play cassettes and announcers boast about candidates to woo the electorate in Ropar and Anandpur Sahib Assembly segments.

All the candidates in the fray have pressed into campaign a large number rickshaws fitted with sound system to reach every corner of the rural and urban areas.

In some of the areas Independent candidates have outshone the two major parties.

Those relying heavily on this medium include Congress candidate Ramesh Dutt Sharma, SAD patron and candidate Sant Ajit Singh and Independent candidate Amarjeet Singh Saini out of nine candidates in the fray.

Besides providing the much economical way to get publicity for the candidates, this medium now has become a source of additional income for rickshawpullers and professional announcers accompanying them.

In contrast with the daily income between Rs 40 to Rs 60, rickshawpullers and professional announcers are now easily getting Rs 150 a day, besides refreshments. Even some party workers are rendering their services to the party.

“Election time has turned out to be much fruitful for us as we have been getting more income than routine days. I have been campaigning on rickshaw since 1972 for various political parties. First I had campaigned for former President Giani Zail Singh, who had won elections from Anandpur Sahib. Later for his relative Basant Singh, who had also won elections from here. Now I am campaigning for the Akali Dal candidate”, said Jeevan Lal (54).

“I get Rs 300 per day from the candidate. Out of this amount I have to pay the rickshaw owner.

I have been making announcements for the Congress candidate for the past four days and will continue till February 11. I begin campaigning at about 9 am and end the work at 5 pm. I am doing this work voluntarily”, said Satish Jain (56).

 

SAD promises farmers higher returns on crops
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, January 31
The farmers would be given price of their produce (Atta and Dal) at par with the farmers of Australia from where the country has been importing wheat since long. The country is importing wheat at Rs 1250 per quintal while Punjab farmers are being given a rate of Rs 750 per quintal for their produce.

These statements were made by the SAD General Secretary Capt Kanwaljit Singh who is contesting the ensuing assembly elections from Banur constituency in a public gathering in Devi Nagar village, yesterday.

He said that the Congress has started misleading the public after the SAD-BJP made promises for providing Atta and Dal for Rs 4 and Rs 20 per kilogram, respectively. The promise has made the Congress restless so its leader has started created misunderstandings.

He made it clear that considering the interest of the farmers, the SAD government, if come in power, would frame new policies to procure food grains from farmers comparatively at much higher prices. Special schemes would be made in the budget for bearing the losses, he claimed.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh was honoured with a siropa by the Ravi Dass Sabha, Devi Nagar, Mahila mandal, village panchayat. Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, a state awardee and a Rotarian, also gave him a sum of Rs 2 lakh as election fund. Supporter in the village also weighed their leader against coins.

During his election campaign, Capt Kanwaljit Singh also visited over two dozens of villages where he was weighed against laddoos and coins. While, the coins were given as his election fund, laddoos were relished by the supporters. He also promised the public better civic amenities which were not given by the Congress.

 

Sidhu challenges Kanwaljit to open debate on development issues
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 31
Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, Congress candidate from the Kharar constituency, today challenged Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD general secretary, for debate on issues related to development in the state during the past five years.

He said the policies of the government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh had helped the state to come out of total bankruptcy which had been passed on to the Congress government by the earlier SAD-BJP government.

Today the state had funds to fulfill its financial obligations and allocate funds for planned development. By playing the communal card the BJP and the Akalis had always been misleading people by taking their attention away from more important issues related to development. Mr Sidhu said Congress had impeccable secular credentials with equal respects to all religions. He said the main issue of the Congress had been development and on this very issue it was going to fight and win the elections of state Assembly on February 13.

He further said people of the Kharar constituency had benefitted from the policies of the Congress government which had accorded district status to Mohali and encouraged IT parks and mega projects to create employment and wealth for this area. A large number of sports clubs were started in villages to engage the youth constructively. Many grants were given for the upliftment of women.

Mr Sidhu addressed public rallies in village Mojpur, Bhagpur and Giderpur and claimed that he got overwhelming response from people there.

 

Jasjit claims industry, doctors’ support
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 31
The SAD-BJP candidate, Mr Jasjit Singh, who is contesting the Punjab elections from the Kharar constituency, claimed here today that he was being given support by industrial unit owners and doctors.

He said a function was organised in his support in Kharar last evening which was attended among others by Mr B.S. Baidwan and Mr Gurmeet Singh, both former Presidents of Mohali Industries Association, Harinder Pal Singh Billa, former President of the Mohali Municipal Council, Dr B.S. Chandhok, former President of the Homeopathic Doctors Association, Punjab, Dr J.P. Singh, Dr B.S. Anand, Dr Manraj Singh and Dr Anil Kumar, Addressing the gathering to win votes for his son, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, the SAD general secretary, said that all the wrong policies of the state government led to a major slump in the industrial growth which in turn slowed down the economic growth of the state.

He said that the SAD had already announced that it would introduce a new Industrial policy - 2007 after assuming power in Punjab which would cater to the needs of the industry. He said that the representatives of the industry had met the election manifesto committee during the last few days and manifesto would carry all necessary remedies for their problems.

Meanwhile, Mrs Daljit Kaur, who remained a municipal councillor for two terms, today joined the SAD in presence of Mrs Sanjit Kaur and Mrs Harpreet Kaur Gill, wife and aunt respectively, of Mr Jasjit Singh.

Addressing a press conference here, Daljit Kaur said that poor people had suffered a lot at the hands of the Congress which had exploited them for gaining votes. She said that she had won the municipal elections once on a BSP ticket and later as an Independent. Now she has decided to join the SAD as it is the only party which could help the poor.

 

Mohali industry won’t support any party
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 31
The President of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA), Mr Balbir Singh, said here today that the MIA would not be supporting any political party in the Punjab elections.

He said the MIA was a platform from where the problems related to the industries were taken up and it was unanimously resolved that “this platform will not be used to support any particular political party”.

The statements of some members that had been published in some newspapers in support of a political party were in their individual capacity. As the MIA was an industrial organisation it would not indulge in political activities.

 

Jagmohan Kang tours villages
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
As part of his election campaign, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, sitting MLA and Congress candidate from the Morinda Assembly constituency, today undertook a tour of Hoshiarpur, Takipur, Kansala, Kartarpur, Dhakoran Kalan, Dhakoran Khurd, Phatwan, Naglian, Kadimajra, Khairpur, Shekhpura, Andheri and Manakpur Sharif villages. He addressed public meetings there.

At Kansala village, Mr Sukhdev Singh Sukha of the Akali Dal joined the Congress under the leadership of Mr Kang. Appreciating the election manifesto released by the Congress, he said it contained something for all sections of society.

 

Ailing Brar campaigns for son
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 31
An ailing Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, former Punjab Chief Minister, today sought votes for his son and Congress candidate from Muktsar, Mr Kanwarjeet Singh Brar, here.

The cavalcade of the former Chief Minister started from his ancestral village Sarai Naga and reached the new grain market here amid cheers from party supporters.

He shook hands with people, and touched by his gesture, many of them wished him good health. In his brief address, he said during his stint as the Chief Minister, he tried his best for the all-round development of the district.

He said still a lot was needed to be done for the constituency and hoped that the electorate would give his son an opportunity to fulfil his dreams. His daughter Babli Brar, daughter-in-law Karan Brar and grandson Karanbir Brar were also present.

 

For thrifty voters, it’s laddoonomics
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Mansa, January 31
While the Election Commission is asking candidates to be economical, clever voters in this district have turned thrifty on their own while showing solidarity with politicians.

Instead of the usual weighing of candidates with coins, residents in different areas are weighing them with laddoos, which prove far cheaper than coins.

Moreover, with spending less money, the residents may not have much heartburn later in case elected representatives do not fulfil their promises.

Catching up on the high laddoo demand, many halwais have put up boards which read: "Umeedwara wale laddoo" (special laddoos for candidates) to make a quick buck in the run up to the elections.

Inquiries reveal the reason for preferring laddoos to coins is purely economic. A one rupee coin weighs 5 to 6 gm. It will require anywhere around 150 coins for a kg. For a candidate weighing 70 to 80 kg (which they normally do, and at times even more), the facilitators will have to dish out nearly Rs 10,000 for coins only. Then, they have to bear expenses of tea and snacks too.

On the other hand, laddoo cost less than Rs 3,000 for the same candidate. There is the additional advantage of serving the laddoos later with tea.

 

Cong expels 16 more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Congress today expelled 16 more rebels for contesting elections against the party's official nominees. With this the total number of those who have been expelled from the party stands at 24.

The workers who have been expelled are: Mr Ramesh Singla (Nabha); Mr Manjit Singh Jhalbutti (Mansa), Mr Parkash Chand, vice-chairman of the Market Committee, Mansa, Mr Jaspinder Singh Jakhar (Fazilka), Mahant Harvinder Singh Khanora (Nabha), Mr Amrik Singh Rauni (Payal), Mr Babu Ram Chawla, (Balluana), Mr Harinder Singh Seera (Barnala), Mr Gulzar Singh (Nathana), Mr Madan Lal Sharma (Ludhiana North), Mr Sangat Singh Gilzian (Tanda), Mr Baldev Singh Balamgarh (Malout); Mr Sukhraj Singh Nat (Joga); Mr Sant Singh Brar (Gidderbaha) and Mr Ajit Singh Shant (Nihalsinghwala).

The party has also expelled Mr Pakhar Singh for contesting the elections.

 

Notices issued
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 31
Notices have been issued to three Chandigarh based printers who have prepared election posters for candidates contesting the Punjab elections from the Kharar constituency without mentioning the name and address of printers.

In the notices the printers have been asked to reply as to why the provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951, had not been adhered to. It had been noticed by authorities concerned that some election posters prepared for Mr Jasjit Singh, SAD candidate and Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, Congress candidate, did not mention the name of the printer and the publisher.

COURTS


No exemption for BIS Chahal
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 31
Refusing to give any relief to Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today declined his counsel’s verbal request to give him exemption from personal appearance in court on hearings of the contempt case against him.

Not only this, the court also refused to adjourn the hearing till after the end of elections as sought by Mr Chahal’s counsel.

While making the request, Mr Chahal’s counsel said he “has an important role” in the ongoing election process, something which is the government has been denying all this while.

It may be recalled that despite demands having been made for the ouster of Mr Chahal from the post of Media Adviser in view of his alleged campaigning for the ruling Congress, the government has refused to do so. So much so that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing on the part of his controversial Media Adviser.

Today, even as it refused to allow Mr Chahal to skip the next hearings, the Full Bench comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar, Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla and Mr Justice Surya Kant exempted former Deputy Secretary (Sports) D.S. Laungia from personal appearance.

Earlier, amicus curiae Anupam Gupta, who is assisting the court in the matter, narrated how Mr Chahal had ensured that the file of the Sports Department relating to the illegal and arbitrary selection of DSPs under the sports quota was not delivered to the High Court despite clear-cut orders.

Referring to court orders and observations made by the Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, he submitted that the court was dismayed to discover that the "entire record' submitted by the Punjab Government in response to the high court orders, did not include the Sports Department record.

He again reiterated his previous stand about the role of two former law officers of the Punjab Government - former Senior Additional Advocate-General B.B.S. Sobti and former Additional Advocate-General Atul Nanda - in the file going missing.

Quoting Lord Denning, Mr Gupta stressed that the paramount role of the lawyers was to the court.

When the senior counsel representing Mr Chahal requested the court to let go of the two lawyers, saying that media coverage about their role had already resulted in their professional death, the Bench observed that the same was for it to decide.

After the hearing, the Bench adjourned the hearing to February 14.

CRIME
 

Four of private company’s staff killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 31
Four employees of a private company were killed on the spot while seven others sustained serious injuries when a truck carrying them dashed against a tree near Dhanda village on the Goraya-Rurrka-Kalan Road last night.

According to the reports received here, a Mohali-based private company was installing electric polls for the Punjab State Electricity Board from Nangal to Rurrkakalan. Eleven employees of the company were on their way to Rurrkakalan for installing the poles on the truck. But, the driver failed to negotiate the turn and lost control over the vehicle, which dashed against the tree. Those who died in the accident have been identified as Satbir Singh Rana of Khanni village, Hardip Kumar of Sarroia village, Devi Lal of Jadla village and Sanjeev Kumar of Sarroia village. Naresh Kumar, Hardip Rana, Kamaljit, Sher Singh, Sandeep Singh, Shamsher Singh, Manohar Lal, were injured in the accident. They were admitted to a private hospital at Goraya. A case has been registered and bodies sent to the Civil Hospital for post mortem examinations. Later, the bodies were handed over to their family members. 

EDUCATION
 

Seminar held on Guru Arjan Dev
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 31
The Department of Punjab Historical Studies organised one day seminar on the theme "Perspectives on Guru Arjan Dev: Contribution and Martyrdom" on January 25 in the University campus. Eminent historian Prof J.S. Grewal, who presided over the seminar, explained the significance of revisiting the historiographical writings on Guru Arjan Dev and emphasised on the need to explore Persian sources.

The inaugural address was delivered by Prof Gurtej Singh, IAS (retd.) and Professor of Sikhism. He touched universal concept of human society as preached by Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Prof S.S. Hans, in his paper, explored the theological background of Martyrdom and Sikhism.

Dr G.S. Nayyar talked about the change brought by emperor Jahangir in his father's liberal religious policies. Dr K.S. Bajwa emphasised the role of Chandu Shah and also talked about the fine imposed on Guru Arjan Dev in Mehma Parkash. Dr Suba Singh highlighted the message of Guru Granth Sahib with its multifaceted issues and their relevance to the President.

Prof Gajrani highlighted the career and character, contributions and vision of the fifth Guru. He concluded that Guru Arjan Dev was a unique and dynamic personality in fact he was fifth Nanak, who gave independent character to Sikhism.

In this seminar, 14 research papers were presented. Dr Navtej Singh, head of the department, argued that there was no controversy about the contribution of Guru Arjan Dev as far as his writings, compilation of the Adi Granth and completion of Darbar Sahib is concerned, what is required is further enquiry on the issue of martyrdom and its various implications to the Sikh community.

 

Seminar

Patiala, January 31
The Department of Public Administration, Punjabi University, would be organising a two-day national seminar on the theme ‘Federalism and Constitutional Governance In India: Emerging Challenges’ on February 2 and 3. S. Swarn Singh Boparai, Vice Chancellor, would preside over the seminar. — TNS

 

Prize distribution function held
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 31
The annual prize distribution function of S.D.S.E. Senior Secondary School was organised here today. The function started with Manglacharan and Saraswati Vandana. Mr Pawan Kumar Singla, Manager, SDSE Senior Secondary School welcomed and introduced all the guests.

He urged the Government to uplift the ban imposed on recruitment of teachers in Government aided schools, this affects the education of the students. He also said that the school has progressed a lot in the field of education and sports. Vipul Gupta, a student of the school, brought laurels by playing in U-17 from India against South Africa. A cultural programme was also presented by the students. Folk dances of Punjab-Gidha and Bhangra were the main attraction of the function.

Mr Lal Chand Jindal, president of the Sanatan Dharam Sabha, congratulated the school Principal, the staff and the students on the successful completion of the function. He inspired the students to lead a life which should be simple, industrious and free from drugs.

 


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