L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Johar case : ‘Double standards’ by police
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The controversy over the exclusion of Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar's name from FIR no 26 within a day of its registration in Haibowal police station refuses to die with the police seemingly adopting " double standards" in two identical cases involving two politicians.

While SSP A S Rai maintained today that Mr Johar was not an accused in the case and the inquiry report by the DM Markfed, on the basis of which the FIR was lodged, also acquitted him, the police had interestingly lodged an FIR against former Health Minister and Akali leader Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal few months ago even though the SC and ST commission,while upholding complaint involving him had found him not guilty.

The police had then argued that the FIR was always registered on the complaint even if the SC and ST commission had not recommended action against him. The commission had recommended action against other persons named along with Mr Grewal.

In this case, the inquiry report of the District Manager, Markfed, has been made the basis of the FIR. Moreover, Mr Rai said the FIR clearly mentioned that Mr Johar was not found involved in the inquiry.

Mr Grewal and the media had cried foul over the police insistence to name him as an accused in a serious case of violation of the SC and the ST Act, which is a non-bailable offences. Mr Rai said in that case the FIR had to be lodged by the complainant and thus his entire complaint was incorporated thus naming Mr Grewal as the accused. However, in Mr Johar's case, the DM Markfed was the complainant .

The copy of the FIR mentions Mr Harnam Dass Johar as an accused in the case. Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP City-I had clarified late last evening that it was a clerical error to put his name in the accused column. However, no action has been taken against any lower-rank official for the blunder, if it was.

On the other hand, the complainant against Mr Johar, Iqbal Singh Gill , General Secretary SAD Legal wing refuses to buy the theory that Mr Johar was not an accused. He said the very fact that the police had included the section 120-B in the FIR means they agree there was some conspirator behind the move to illegally occupy Improvement Trust land in Maharishi Balmiki Nagar. He said they had named Mr Johar as the accused calling the shots.

Mr Johar has termed all the allegations as a poor poll gimmick orchestrated by the Akalis to tarnish his unblemished image.


Punjab VOTES ’07

Mobike rally shot in arm for Garcha 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 10
The SAD nominee from Kila Raipur, Mr Jagdish Garcha, received a shot in arm when hunderds of activists of youth wing of the party, showing solidarity with him took out a mobike rally, passing through 80 villages on their scooters and motorcycles today. They were led by senior party leaders and Baboo Mann, renowned Punjabi singer.

The rally started from Pohir village near here in the morning and concluded at Sarabha village in the evening. The activists, carrying banners favouring the SAD candidate, raised slogan against the Congress nominee, while passing through the villages of the constituency. They paid tributes to the martyr Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha at his statue at his native village, before dispersing finally.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after conclusion of the rally, Mr Sukhwant Singh Tillu, general secretary, Youth Wing, claimed that the residents of the area had shown extraordinary enthusiasm towards the rally. "Having understood the anti-people policies of the Congress leaders, majority of voters of the constituency vowed to support Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha who had been serving people for past 10 years," claimed Mr Tillu.

Volunteers of various social and religious organizations served langar and tea to the activists during the rally.

Earlier, addressing the gathering at Pohir near here leaders, including Mr Raghbir Singh Saharanmajra, member, SGPC, Dr Jarnail Singh Narangwal and Mr Jagjit Singh Ghungrana, former Chairman, Punjab Agro Corporation, claimed that people had realised that the Congress leaders were trying to lure them by making false promises and they would not fall prey to false propaganda.

Paying gratitude for showing solidarity with him, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha assured the people that he would do his best to serve them.



Big haul of liquor seized from village
Tribune News Service

Ludhaina, February 10
A team of Excise and Taxation Department officials, headed by Mr Jaswinder Singh, ETO Ludhiana -II, seized a big haul of liquor from Boparai Khurd village following a raid late last evening. The department officials also imposed a penalty of Rs 1.10 lakh on the accused. Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta, District Election Officer-cum- Deputy Commissioner, said the raid was a part of the special drive to check the illegal sale and supply of liquor during elections.

On receiving a telephonic information from Observer of the Raikot constituency, regarding unloading of liquor from a truck at the house of Jit Singh in the village, the raid was conducted by ETO Jarnail Singh along with Excise inspectors, Mr Ajay Kumar and Mr Darshan Singh.

Mr Singh said 61 cases and 8 bottles of country liquor, one case of Peter Scotch whisky, 2 bottles of Officers’ Choice, one case of McDowell's whisky were seized.

The unauthorised stock of liquor was confiscated and proceedings under section 61 -A of the Punjab Excise Act were initiated and a penalty of Rs 1 lakh was imposed on liquor smuggled from Chandigarh meant for sale in Chandigarh and Rs 10,000 on liquor meant for sale in Punjab involving two cases 2 bottles, he added.



Liquor lure: 2 BJP men get bail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
The Judicial Magistrate, Mr Ranjan Khullar, today granted bail to two persons nabbed by the police on the charges of carrying two cartons containing 24 bottles of liquor.

Accused persons belonging to the BJP were allegedly carrying liquor for distributing these among voters.

The court ordered to release the accused, Sandeep Kumar of Habib Ganj and Rajesh Kumar of Islaam Ganj, Ludhiana, after furnishing surety to the tunes of Rs 25,000 each. A case under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act was registered against them on Feburary 8, 2007.



Birmi Vs Bagria in Ludhiana Rural

‘Vote for clean image again’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Winning may be a do-or-die battle for Congress candidate for Ludhiana (Rural) Malkiat Singh Birmi but he cannot compromise on his morning walk even if he has to squeeze time from his busy campaign schedule. A fitness freak, Mr Birmi walks for eight kilometres, starting from 5:30 a.m. At 7 a.m. it is time for a refreshing lemon tea and a bowl ful of papaya followed by 20 minutes of worshipping.

The door-to-door campaign was not a practical disposition in this elections as he had to cover the biggest constituency of the state in less than a month.

‘‘Since you voted me to power during the last term, I have tried my best to come out to your expectations. Your MLA is not blemished. He has no allegation of corruption. Vote for clean image once again, ’’ he tells the gathering at a meeting at Sherpur Chowk.

Then he has a number of meetings lined up at different places. This lover of flying machines, who has a licence of a pilot also, wants to finish with the meetings early but meticulously.

At 1 p.m, he is at a meeting at Kakowal village. A number of people listen to him attentively as he lists the achievements of the Congress-led government in the state. An elderly lady approaches him from the gathering, garlands him and blesses him. That marks the end of the meeting.

He has to address many other meetings at Humbran and then in the opposite direction at Gyaspura. ‘‘Residents of Humbran owe it to me. The village looks like a city now. Nobody has seen such a fast pace of development. ’’ he remarks, while looking up to promising faces in the crowd.

He keeps on refusing tea and milk as villagers offer him at every stopover. A fitness freak, Mr Birmi cannot afford to put on weight. That would mean cancelling of his flying licence.

‘‘Travelling consumes most of my time. More than being with people I am on the roads. I have to go from one village to another and it take toll of most of my time. Anyway, I know my people. They understand even if I am not able to call on them personally, ’’ he says after coming back to his house in Sarabha nagar at 11 p.m. A sumptuous dinner in the form of steamed fish, boiled vegetables, chapatis and soup is waiting for him. 



‘... Migrants w’ll not wait for me’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Making do with just two hours of sleep and several cups of tea throughout the day, SAD nominee from Ludhiana (Rural) Hira Singh Gabria works for more than 18 hours a day.

Starting his day at 3 a.m., Mr Gabria meditates for half an hour and is out at 4 a.m. to meet the people of his constituency lest they -- mostly comprising labour class -- should leave for their respective workplaces at 7 a.m. only.

‘‘If I leave home at 10 a.m. they would not wait for me. So it is an ideal time to be with them for three hours, ’’ he says, while knocking at the door of a house in Labour Colony.

‘‘We will provide you with a kg of flour for Rs 4 and dal for Rs 20. Press the button in front of ‘Taraju’, ’’ he tells a group of migrants gathered within a few seconds after coming from a single house well before the sunrise.

After spending three hours in this colony, Mr Gabria leaves for villages as he has to cover at least seven villages and five colonies in the city. Despite having working overtime for a month, he is yet to cover the entire constituency - the biggest in the state.

There is no time for meals as people offer him milk, tea and lassi in Alamgir - the first stopover after the dawn. Villagers listen to him when he repeats his party's manifesto once again. Slogans rock the environment and Mr Gabria is set to leave. After covering villages, including Alamgir, Ghwaddi, Sarinh, Jassra and Jugiana, Mr Gabria leaves to attend a cremation at Dhandari.

‘‘It is not only during the elections that I am meeting people. For the past five years I have been leaving the house at 5 a.m. everyday and meeting people. Despite being the biggest constituency, I know all residents of all villages falling in it, their affinities and their likes and dislikes. I do not need to canvass. But then it is just to be with them, ’’ he says after finishing his meetings at Dholewal, Gill Road and Janta Nagar at 11p.m. It is time to rush home and have the first and last meals of the day. And a multivitamin tablet to keep going.

At his residence in Vishawkarma Nagar, a langar is going on. Party men are waiting for the leader to arrive. It would be 1 a.m. when he would retire and before that he would share experiences of the day with them. 



Independent may tilt balance in Ludhiana North
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The “Bagga factor” would weigh heavily on the outcome of Ludhiana North constituency in the coming assembly elections, where Congress candidate Mr Rakesh Pandey is pitted against Mr Harish Bedi of SAD-BJP combine.

The rebel Congress leader turned Independent candidate, Mr Madan Lal Bagga, who withstood tremendous pressure to stay on course, can even prove to be a dark horse if people decide to vote against Mr Pandey on anti-incumbency factor and against SAD-BJP’s Harish Bedi for not being pro-active.

Mainly causing a dent on the vote-bank of Mr Pandey, Mr Bagga can tilt the balance in favour of Mr Bedi in this constituency, known as a Congress stronghold. Interestingly, the electorate of this segment has returned Congress candidates to assembly for eight times while it went to polls for nine times.

So much so that the MP candidate of Congress, Mr Manish Tiwari, polled 13,000 more votes from this constituency than his winning counterpart and Akali leader, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, during the last parliamentary elections.

But with Mr Bagga in fray, equations may not be similar this time. He has a number of Congress councillors working for him. Moreover his work at the grassroots level can give a tough time to Mr Pandey.

The triangular contest has evoked the interest of many people. Political observers say even if Mr Bagga manages between 5,000 to 10,000 votes, he can spell doom for Mr Pandey, a state minister, who has won 3 elections from this segment consecutively.

Mr Pandey holds quite an influence in his constituency with 1,33,676 voters and has never tasted defeat.

Being the son of Mr Joginder Pal Pandey, a former legislator who was killed by terrorists, he matters a lot for the people of the city.

While Mr Pandey is facing a rebel in the form of Mr Bagga, Mr Bedi also has Mr Sunil Mehra, a BJP leader and strong contender of the ticket.

He was asked by the party high command to work in the West constituency. He also holds quite an influence and whether the votes garnered by his supporters would go to Mr Bedi’s kitty or not remains to be seen.

Ther are reports of Mr Pandey being inaccessibe which has been rubbished by him several times. On the other hand, Mr Bedi is also stated to be completely out of touch with the people.

He never returned among the people of the area when he was defeated by Mr Pandey in 1992.

The equation also depends on the performance of 11 other candidates who are in fray in the constituency.

They include Mr Sachin of the NCP, Mr Ramanjit Lalli of the BSP, Mr Davinder Singh of Jan Morcha, Mr Pradeep Jindal of the BJSP, Mr Mohammad Naseem Ansari of the SP, Mr Rakesh Kumarof IJSP, Mr Ravinder Kumar, J.K. Panthers Party, Mr Suraj Walia of Hindu Shiv Sena, Ms Asha Rani Saggar of Liberals Party, Mr Harvinder Singh Happy and Jaspal Singh, both Independents.



BSP’s bid to shed Dalit image not welcomed
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 10
Upper community candidates fieded by the BSP have failed to muster the expected support from the electorate in this part of Malwa. While the Dalits have frustrated the nominees for being "non-Dalit", general category voters termed them as opportunists.

A large section of the Dalit community discouraged vendetta politics of contesting elections with an intention to defeat certain candidate and not for winning the game.

Observation by The Tribune revealed that members of the Dalit community had not welcomed the BSP’s attempt to shed its "Dalit image" by fielding a large number of candidates from the upper community.

"We cannot expect that a non-Dalit legislator will fight for rights of members of the lower community by ignoring demands of members of the upper community," said Mr Amar Singh, a resident of the Dehliz road area here, adding that the constitution of the party envisaged welfare of the Dalits and not the other classes.

Referring to the scenario in the Malerkotla Assembly, Mr Amar Singh alleged that Parminder Goga, BSP nominee, had been fielded to erode the vote bank of Razia Sultana, the Congress nominee, and not to win the election.

Jasvir Singh and Balvir Singh, office-bearers of the Bhagat Ravidas Dharamshala Society said, "Had the party high command convened a meeting to consider the issue before fielding non-Dalit candidates, we could have welcomed the decision. Now we know the mindset of the candidates, how can we put our right to vote on stake merely to please a person who has changed three parties in a short period."

Though the party high command had expected that candidates from the upper community would be in a better position to gather support from both sections of society, the general class voters disappointed the candidates by terming them as opportunists.

Earlier Ms Mayawati, president of the BSP, while addressing a rally in support of her party candidate Parminder Goga, had stated that the organisation had never been against the upper castes or the Hindu religion.

The BSP chief had said the party leadership decided to give ticket to more members of the upper community in all future elections also.



Election camps: SAD(A) complains to EC 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 10
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has written a letter to the Election Commission of India regarding the non-implementation of the model code of conduct regarding the use of party camps outside election centres all over Punjab and Ludhiana in particular.

Party president Simranjit Singh Mann has served a legal notice to Yadvinder Singh Aliwal, Managing Director of Nahar Petro Marts (Ludhiana), who has used the photograph of party president without permission for a candidate ,who is contesting against the official nominee of the party from the Ludhiana West Constituency, published in a vernacular daily today. Legal action will be pursued against him for attempting to divert the attention of the people through misrepresentation.

The letter said the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) was concerned about the non-implementation of the code of conduct.

The letter said: "From the model code of conduct, it is clear that booths by candidates will be set up at a distance of 200 yards away from the election centre and that too in an conspicuous manner. However, the Congress and the Badal Dal are planning to set up massive booths and have started indulging in the distribution of liquor and drugs".

The letter quoted guidelines which says that:" On the polling day, political parties and candidates shall refrain from serving or distributing liquor and during the twenty-four hours preceding it, not allow unnecessary crowd to be collected near the camps set up by the political parties and candidates near the polling booths so as to avoid confrontation and tension among workers and sympathisers of the parties and the candidate and ensure that the candidates’ camps shall be simple. They shall not display any posters, flags, symbols or any other propaganda material. No eatables shall be served or crowd allowed at the camps".

They urged the Election Commission of India to act immediately and ensure that no election camps were allowed and the provisions of the model code with respect to election camps are stringently followed. 



Soni campaigns for Kang
Tribune News Service

Kurali, February 10
The Union Tourism and Culture Minister, Ms Ambika Soni, was here today to campaign for Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Congress candidate from Morinda Constituency.

Speaking at a rally in block Majri she said during the regime of Akali-BJP government the loan of Punjab had not been remitted but it was the Congress party under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which had remitted the loan of Rs 3,700 crore.

She further said voters should vote for the Congress in Punjab so that the Centre and the state governments can work together for the welfare of the state and its people.



Guru Amar Das trust  seeks govt help
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 10
A couple, Karma and Narma Devi, is living in a hut on the bank of a canal in here and could not afford the operation of hernia of their four-year-old son Bhole.

The child was spotted by Dr Naurang Singh Mangat while he was pedalling his bicycle from one labour colony to another for providing help to the destitute, lepers and disabled in the slum areas.

Dr Mangat, a former scientist of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, is now volunteering for "Guru Amar Das Apahaj Ashram". When he told Bhole's parents that the ashram would take care of all expenses for the operation of the kid, it brought a smile on the parents' face.

After consulting two doctors, Bhole has now been operated in Dayanand Medical Hospital (DMC), Ludhiana.

"The objectives of the trust are to take care of destitute, lepers, aids patients, disabled, blind, orphans, extremely poor kids, etc.", Dr Mangat said.

"The newly registered Trust has no building yet. The major task ahead is to provide shelter. The government should extend help to this trust so that it is easy to meet its objectives," Dr Mangat said.



92 polling stations declared sensitive in Jagraon
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 10
There are 302 polling stations and 493 polling booths in Jagraon. Raikot, Qila Raipur and Dakha constituencies and some area of Sherpur and Bhadaur constituencies also fall in the jurisdiction of police district Jagraon. At least 32 polling stations are very sensitive and 92 sensitive this time.

As many as 496 personnel of the Central Para Military Force and 973 police personnel of the district police/ state armed police are being deployed at polling stations.

According to a press note issued by Mr Shiv Kumar Verma, SSP here today, 42 polling parties and 14 naka parties have been deployed in the area round the clock.

The nodal officers of the rank of DSPs and supervisory officers of the rank of the superintendent of police have been assigned the election duty constituency-wise for conducting fair, free and smooth polling. As per directions of the commission, dry days have been declared from February 11 to 13 and during these days no liquor shops will be allowed to open.

At least 1874 licenced arms have been deposited in the police stations concerned, 206 preventive actions have been taken under Sections 107,150, 107 and151, CrPC. Four cases under Section 188 IPC and six cases under the defacement of property Act have been registered. Strict vigil is being kept on bad elements. Patrolling , naka, night dominations and flag marches are being carried out to maintain the law and order. A special drive to apprehend the distributors of liquor etc. has been launched. 



Two nabbed with stolen wallet
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 10
Vishal of Rajkot and Ravi of Babu Nagar, both from Gujarat, have been arrested by the local police with stolen wallet of a passenger. The police has registered a case under section 382 IPC.

According to information, the duo snatched the wallet belonging to Gurmeet Singh, teacher, of Moga while boarding a bus at Jagraon which contained Rs 20,000. But they were apprehended immediately by the police.

In another incident, three persons allegedly stole Rs 10,000, two mobiles from a box of motor cycle belonging to Kuldip Singh of Bhamipura while it was parked in the area of Kothe Rahlon.

A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered by the local police.

Hawker assaulted

Shinda, Kala and their father Mohinder Singh of Dholan allegedly intercepted Surjit Singh, a newspaper hawker of their village and assaulted him and damaged newspapers which he was carrying for delivery. The local police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506, 427, 34, IPC. The injured has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Some old enmity is said to be the reason behind. 



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