Who will be peoples’ Valentine this time?
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

An old woman at a polling booth
Age, debility no baR: An old woman at a polling booth.

Apparent inertia of workers of political parties was in sharp contrast to the enthusiasm shown by voters who braved rain and renewed chill to have their say through the ballot in Jalandhar district Assembly constituencies. Till now, polling has been a noisy and violent affair and it was for the first time that the poll went off without the usual display of money and muscle power. Strict policing ensured that pressure, persuasion, or intervention from leaders and workers of political parties, particularly, on the polling day were virtually missing.

There were no vehicles of candidates or their supporters to ferry voters from their homes to polling stations, no crowds of supporters and workers of candidates around polling booths and, of course, even the number of verbal or physical spats were miniscule this time.

The tough stance and close vigil on the situation by the Election Commission authorities reaped a quiet and orderly poll. People voted freely and fearlessly.

Voters wait patiently outside a polling booth in Jalandhar
COME RAIN OR HAIL: Voters wait patiently outside a polling booth in Jalandhar.

Rain made people stay home till 11 a.m. But as people realized that rain was in mood to go away even for a short while, they took out their umbrellas and raincoats and set out to cast their vote. The voter turnout remained between 7 to 10 per cent till 11 a.m. at most places, giving rise to apprehensions of the lowest turnout ever. But it jumped in the afternoon and touched 74 per cent by 5 p.m against an average polling percentage of 50 per cent in the past.

“In the morning, we thought that people might not come forward in a big way but as the day unfolded polling booths were swarmed with voters,” Manoj Arora, a poll manager of a prominent candidate commented.

Similarly, only about 30 people of total of about 380- odd voters had come to an Old Baradari locality polling booth by noon, but soon the stream of voters swelled . The situation was the same at polling booths in Garha, Jalandhar (Cantonment), Jalandhar (Central), Kishangarh, Abadpura, Model Town, Bhargo Camp, and Basti areas of the city.

In the posh Model Town locality only about 8 per cent voters ventured out and had reached the polling booths by 10.30 a.m. thus, giving jitters to candidates, particularly the ones having their base in the city. They apprehended that low turnout in urban areas could mar their poll prospects.

On the other hand, it were people of rural areas and ‘cadre voters’, who reached the polling booths early in the morning.

That the voter's enthusiasm was considerably up this time was obvious when a groom and nearly 150 “baraatis” accompanying him surprised the polling staff by descending at the Nari Niketan polling station.

The groom, Mohinder Singh, a resident of the Bhargo Camp area, thought that exercising his franchise was even more important than his marriage and that is why he landed straight at polling station before leaving for Doraha for his marriage. The ‘baraatis included Harbans Lal, Chaudhary Jagat Ram, Krishan Lal, Mistri Prem Kumar. The ‘baraat’ lined up at the polling station and left for Doraha only after all its members had cast their vote .

“It is our right to elect our leaders and this opportunity comes to us only once in a five years’ time. Why we should miss this opportunity?” said Harbans Lal Pashauri.

People were seemingly so engrossed in voting this time that shopkeepers kept shutters of their establishments down for the entire day. As a result, the city wore a deserted look.

Never before it has happened in the city that shopkeepers have given priority to voting over their business. Even food outlets remained closed.

Hospitals also remained sans the usual flow of patients. “It seems that people have preferred to go in for voting than to have their treatment. It is a healthy sign for democracy,” said Dr. Charanjit Singh Pruthi, the Managing Director of the local BBC Heart Care Centre.



Despite voter I-cards, they did not vote
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Many voters from Jalandhar had a harrowing experience on Tuesday as they were denied the right to exercise their franchise despite the fact that they possessed voter I-cards. This reportedly happened due to some discrepancies in the fresh voter lists prepared by the administration.

Numerous instances in this regard occurred at a polling station set up at the senior secondary school on the Ladowali road where the voters had to return back home disappointed.

Ms Harjit Kaur, a resident of Master Tara Singh Nagar, rued that she had a voter I-card but she was not allowed to cast vote as her name did not figure in the voter list. She said she wondered how her name had been struck off even though she had been residing in the same house for the past several years.

Mr Raj Kumar, a resident of New Dashmesh Nagar, said he had a voter card and his name too was there in the voter list but still he was not allowed to cast his vote. He rued that this happened due to some mismatch of the EPIC number and his number printed in the voter list. He said the I-card bore the number 13,2485 while the number in the list against his name was 13,2464. He said he tried to prove his identity to the presiding officer in the booth by showing him his other ID proofs, including his driving licence, but to no avail. The man went ahead by bringing in his neighbourers validating him as a resident there but the polling officers expressed their helplessness.

Another resident of New Dashmesh Nagar, Mr Hardial Singh, said he had a valid voter card and his name too appeared in the voter list in the same order, i.e. 13,3275, but he was not allowed to cast his vote as he was told that he possessed an old voter I-card.



Rain fails to dampen spirit of Kapurthala voters
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Contrary to the fear of low polling percentage, intermittent rain could not wash the enthusiasm of Kapurthala electors to exercise their right to franchise on Tuesday.

The voters of all the four Assembly constituencies of the district in general and the Kapurthala constituency in particular came out from their houses in large numbers to cast their votes.

This is evident from the data of poll percentage in the district.

When the work of polling started at eight in the morning, only a few electors were seen at the stations due to incessant rain.

At that time, it was feared that rain might mar the voting percentage but gradually voters started turning up in large numbers at polling stations.

Long queues were seen at several polling stations, especially when the rain stopped between 11.30 am and 12.30 pm. Over 17 per cent voting was reported in the district in first four hours by noon.

Subsequently, the enthusiastic electors, including young, aged and women, started turning up at polling stations to cast their votes.

According to reports, 76.25 per cent of electors cast their votes.

The voters were standing in long queues outside several polling stations. According to rules, if any elector reaches the polling station before the expiry of the time of voting, the polling staff will allow the elector to cast the vote.

According to initial reports, the highest polling 80 per cent was reported from Bholath, followed by 78 per cent each in the Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi constituencies and 69 per cent polling in the Phagwara constituency.

The work of voting was affected at five polling stations in the district as five electronic voting machines (EVMs) went out of order. While three of them restarted work within a few minutes, however, half an hour extra was allotted at each of the two polling stations in the Bholath and Phagwara constituencies.



It was not a cakewalk for voters
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

It was literally a hurdle race for over a thousand voters who came out to cast their votes in two polling stations set up at Doaba Arya Senior Secondary School in Nawanshahr.

Owing to incessant rain since last night and the poor drainage system, the campus remained flooded and the voters had to climb on a series of school benches to reach the polling stations from the school gate. While most of the young men could do it conveniently, women and elderly people found it quite tough to cross over and could do so with some help. Since this was the only possible passage for entry and exit, two men were engaged on either side to control the movement of the voters.

Likewise, hundreds of voters from the Banga area, who came to cast votes in a polling station set up at the BDO’s office, too faced problems as there was no shelter. At times when it rained heavily, the voters got inside the main room of the polling station.

In Rahon, supporters of the Akali candidate had set up a langar stall in their polling booth to ensure a good turnout in the weather.

Though this went against the orders of the Election Commission, but their purpose seemed to have got solved as there was much rush outside a huge canopy of water proof tents set up there.

In most villages, including Malan Sodhian, Kaleran and Kariha, the candidates set up polling booths in shops and houses owned by their supporters in the vicinity of the polling station.

Interestingly, a polling booth at Kaleran village of Parveen Banga, the BSP candidate from Banga, was being managed by children, huddled underneath a small tent.

Even as polling began a bit late, the poll percentage had crossed 50 per cent mark in most villages by 1 pm. The overall percentage calculated at the end of the day was little above 74 per cent in the Banga, 79 per cent Nawanshahr and 72 per cent in Balachaur constituencies. The polling went largely peaceful with minor clashes between Akali and Congress workers in Chandpur Rurki, Tonsa and Jandi Pind villages of Balachaur.



Just a Thought
Charity without cause
R. Jaikrishan

A strong wind swayed the Champa tree. Its flowers and aged leaves were on the grass lawn. There was the pitter-patter of rain. I was in a rented room all by myself. The pace of rain drops increased. A youth drove through the pool of water that had collected in front of the house. The shadows of streetlights- some lit, some unlit-mesh of wires criss-crossing one another, gently returned to the pool. Rainwater had almost inundated the street that joined me with the neighbour’s house. There lived a mother of two .It had been difficult to take my eyes off here. I pulled the quilt over my head. I fell asleep dreaming of a starry night.

I was woken up by strains of a mellifluous song wafting on the wet air. I moved the window curtain to see the source. Having grown up on the regular diet of recorded music, full-throated singing along with the morning buzz was a first -time experience. A saffron-clad, dark, tall and bearded youth was singing a Sufi verse, perhaps from the Gurbani ,on the beat of the chimta. He was a few yards from a Bolero parked in front of the neighbor’s high-arched gate.

Threading her way through full and empty carry bags and household rejects that last night’s wind had swept back to her courtyard, the stunner was out barefoot. She had a plateful of flour and some currency notes for the singing youth. She made the offering without looking into the glint in his eyes and stood, as if mesmerised, near the brown car under her porch. A yell made her to rush back.

Next day was sunny. The sun wasn’t up yet. I was out in the park walking briskly to melt away the cholesterol that has clogged my blood vessels. Again a youth in saffron headgear struck a gong in a cart with many containers. The stunner was out again barefoot. There was a banana on two or three handfuls of flour and couple of currency notes. The gong-man received the offering and put it in separate containers and moved on.

In few minutes my steps moved me in the direction of the woman on the wrong side of the forties. Before I could lift my eyes to drink deep the beauty only a touch away, I heard myself asking her: “Do you know the person who takes your charity?”


I gradually lifted my eyes to look into the hazel eyes which had besotted me.

“I believe they take it for Pingalwara”, She replied in husky tone.

“Ever verified?”

“No need”. With these words she turned her back to me.

Ridiculing myself for engaging her in a conversation that ended the flirtation in a jiffy, I rushed back to the park and punished myself by jogging till the sun was over my head.

A few days later, I was in a Civil Lines street waiting for an airlines office to open. Lot many youth had gathered on its steps and were waiting for the shutter to be lifted while their women waited in cars parked haphazardly. Two youth in long white shirts and in saffron scarves and headgear were accosting a car-borne family for charity. One of them was carrying a small, tin drop-box.

The next day rain forced me to stay indoors. For the most part of the day, I read and listened to FM. It was dark before time. Tea was brewing in the kettle .The doorbell rang. Expecting the beauty, I opened the door and found a turbaned youth sporting a massive tilak standing in front of me with folded hands. Among his companions was a history –sheeter holding an umbrella for him. He said: “Please cast your valuable vote in my favour. I will do…”

The more I tried to cut him short, the more persuasive he became. He didn’t leave till he made me commit, falsely though, my vote to him.

Later, moving about the city, I spotted such youth going about their business in an organized manner. After all, this pursuit needs a bit of persistence. They have lot of it. And their targets are too willing to lighten the burden of their sins, real or assumed, by giving away alms or votes.



Young World
Little wonders
Tribune News Service

A model on automatic computerized signature verification machine designed by students of Police DAV School has been displayed at a four-day International exhibition for young inventors began at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The show ,which began on Tuesday, has been organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Department of Science and Technology (DST). The project had earlier been displayed at a national fair put up by the DST and CII held at the IIT, Delhi ,in December. The team comprises Harvinder Pal Singh and Ravneet Kaur with their guide, Mr Anuj.

Annual functions

DIPS School, Karol Bagh, organised its annual prize distribution function at Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall on Saturday. Students from senior and junior sections presented choreographies based on various festivals. The Principal, Ms Sarvesh Deol, read the annual report. The Chairman, Mr Gurbachan Singh, and the MD, Mr Rawinder Singh, distributed prizes among the students. The Primary wing of MGN Public School also organised its annual function on Saturday. Over 125 students won academic prizes. Little artistes had put up a foot- tapping performance. Ms Jaspal Gill, principal, read the annual report.

Table soccer

Students of Dayanand Model School proved their mettle by winning top positions in national table soccer championship held at DAV Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh. Ravi Dhir won gold while Geetansh and Madhav won bronze in individual events.


A lecture on “Bio-prospecting bio-diversity for food security and improving quality of life” was organised in the Department of Biotechnology of Lyallpur Khalsa College on Friday. The speaker was Dr P.S. Ahuja, Director, Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology, Palampur. He stressed on the need for cataloguing bio-resources of the country ,including plants and microbial species. He talked about various contributions of the IHBT in identifying species of plants and their habitat by using remote sensing technology. He said that the species were also being characterized by using recombinant DNA and cytogenic techniques.


Hans Raj Mahila Mahavidyalaya organised a fete on Saturday. Punjabi singer Lakhwinder Lucky sang for the students. He danced as he sang on various pop numbers. TV artiste Balwinder Vicky, popularly known as Raunki Ram, and comedy king Gurpreet Ghuggi, also enthralled the visitors.


Three students from Apeejay College of Fine Arts have got placed with Wipro Technologies for Wipro Academy of Software Excellence, Bangalore. Nearly 300 students from Punjab had appeared for interviews and tests. Of whom 20 have been finally selected. The Apeejay students are Navdeep Chopra of BCA-III, Sanil Matta of BCA-III and Gunit Kaur of BSc Computer Science-III. The students will undergo training at Bangalore and will be provided scholarship along with MS degree from BITS, Pilani.

Inter-college contest

A team of BD Arya Girls’ College won the overall trophy in an art and aesthetics expression inter--college competition held at Hindu Kanya College ,Kapurthala. Manjinder Kaur stood first in phulkari making contest and Mandeep Kaur bagged first prize in folder making contest.


The pre-primary section of Apeejay School organised a science exhibition recently with budding scientists. They performed various science experiments in front of parents and teachers.

A dab of paint on the nose while demonstrating mixing of colours, a puddle of water showing the melting of ice, splash of water while showing heavy objects sink while the light ones float were various aspects of the activities exhibited at the exhibition.

Ms Ranjana Sud, Principal, appreciated the efforts made by tiny tots in making the event a success. Ms Sushma Kharbanda, pre-primary in-charge, explained how the little ones joined hands to exhibit their “scientific prowess”.



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