L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
The SAD-BJP alliance barely managed a majority in the MC elections which saw Independents, mostly Congress rebels, claiming 17 wards, as many as the Congress. However, it was a major setback for the BJP which won just 14 out of the 37 wards it contested. The BSP also managed to win two seats.

Ultimately, it proved to be the day of the Akalis and the Independents. The SAD had contested 38 of the 75 wards and left 37 for the BJP. Of the 38 wards the SAD contested, it won from 24. Most of its candidates, except for Apinder Singh Grewal, managed comfortable wins.

They include Pal Singh Grewal and Harbhajan Dang. Mayoral candidate Hakim Singh Giaspora won unopposed.

Although the SAD managed a reasonably good show, the BJP which had claimed the credit for the overwhelming victory in the Assembly elections, fared poorly. In fact, BJP-dominated areas like the Civil Lines where the SAD candidates had performed well in the Assembly elections, gave a poor response to the alliance this time. Of the 37 wards, the BJP won just 14.

Senior BJP leaders were disappointed over the results. No senior party leader was prepared to come on record. They admitted that the party appeared to be “complacent and overconfident after the Assembly elections”. They said they would review the performance at a high-level meeting.

With this, there would now be no dispute as to who would get to be the mayor as the SAD has got more seats than the BJP. The BJP may not even aspire for the post of the senior deputy mayor and might have to content with the post of the deputy mayor.

The performance of the Congress was equally bad. Except for the Civil Lines area, the party performed miserably everywhere else. This has raised the question about the choice of candidates as most of the rebels of the party won as Independents. The Congress won 17 seats while CPM candidate, supported by the Congress, also won.

It appeared to be a field day for the Independents who went away with as many as 17 wards.

Although most of them belong to the Congress and quite a few of them stand expelled, they are likely to side with the SAD.

The BSP also managed to win two wards. One of these includes Ward No. 14 where its candidate Jasbir Singh defeated the sitting mayor, Nahar Singh Gill. 



Bigwigs bite the dust
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Nahar Singh    Apinder Grewal    Pran Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 8
The results of the MC elections today threw up a number of surprises, including the defeat of two former mayors, Nahar Singh Gill (Congress) from Ward No. 14 and Apinder Singh Grewal (SAD) from Ward No. 56.

Nahar Singh Gill was the mayor of the outgoing corporation. As a mayor he had not been very effective, however, he had a good rapport with the people. He moved out of Ward No. 18 which he had represented in the previous house.

Gill was defeated by BSP candidate Jasbir Singh. He was banking on the performance of Parshotam Mittal, a BJP rebel, against the official nominee, Prem Sagar Aggarwal.

Prominent Winners

Manvinderpal Singh Makkar, son of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, Harbhajan Singh Dang, S.S. Bains,K.L. Chhabra, Praveen Bansal,Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Parminder Mehta and Sneh Lata 

Gill also faced stiff opposition from some of the Congress workers as he had come from another ward. Rebels in both the BJP and the Congress helped the BSP to win the seat.

Gill's predecessor, Apinder Grewal was also defeated by Amrit Varsha Rampal of the Congress. Grewal had represented the ward between 1997 and 2002 and served as mayor. He shifted out of the area and build his house in neighbouring Barewal. He would argue that he owned property there but that did not seem to impress the voters in the ward.

Although it was Rampal's performance during the past five years and her accessibility to the people that helped her retain the ward, but the opposition within the SAD against Grewal also helped her. While the entire BJP rank and file in the area supported Grewal, the SAD cadres remained either indifferent or hostile.

Former deputy mayor in the outgoing house, Sushil Gupta also lost to Poonam Ratra of the BJP. However, former senior deputy mayor, Prem Mittal, managed to retain his ward for the third consecutive time. He defeated Balbir Bansal of the BJP.

Other losers include Pran Bhatia of the BJP, Jai Prakash of the Congress and the District Mahila Congress committee president, Usha Malhotra.

Other Winners

(Clockwise) Harbajan Dang ,Manvinderpal Singh Makkar, Simranjit Singh Bains and Prem Mittal (Clockwise) Bharat Bhusan Ashu, Praveen Bansal, Rakesh Prashar and K.L. Chhabra



11 candidates were unlettered,140 matriculate
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
As many as 11 candidates in the fray were illiterates and 140 matriculates. Eightyfive have passed middle class and 19 have studied up to the primary level.

Only one held a BAMS degree while nine were qualified teachers, four diploma holders, five engineers, six law graduates, 14 postgraduates, 61 graduation and 49 have studied up to the senior secondary level. As many as 28 candidates did not like to fill the column of educational qualifications.

These are the startling revelations of the Lawyers for Social Action, an organisation that has analysed the affidavits filed by the contestants, along with their nomination papers, according to Surinder Pal Singh, president of the organisation.

Ranjit Singh (Ward No. 2), Daljit Singh (Ward No. 8) and Kewal Singh (Ward No. 60) have been convicted in various cases while twentyone candidates are accused in different cases, he said. Eleven candidates had taken vehicles loans without actually buying the vehicles.

Besides, many candidates failed to disclose important details of properties, bank accounts, vehicles, mobile phones and cash.

Most of the candidates (159) were aged between 31 to 40 years. As per the analysis, 62 candidates were between 21 to 30 years, 130 between 41 to 50 years, 56 between 51 to 60 years and 21 in the age group of 61 to 70 years. An octogenarian was also in the fray. Four candidates were above 70.

The organisation said the results were derived solely on the study of 454 affidavits provided by returning officers.



Dead man on voter list
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Making a mockery of the democratic process, a dead man's name appeared on the voter’s list even as hundreds of residents were not allowed to cast their vote as their names were not included on the list.

Hari Om Khanna, who died a year ago, was a resident of Dr Sham Singh road under Ward No. 52. Residents of the area protested when his name was found on the list even though some of they couldn’t even vote.

The problem was faced by residents of Madhopuri, Jawahar Camp, and Shimla Puri who had gone to polling booths with their voter identity cards. Around 50 residents of Jawahar Camp protested against the district administration as their names were deleted from the list. Shakuntla Devi, a resident, said she could not vote because of the errors committed by the department concerned.

In the Old Madhopuri area, 12 families said their names were deleted from the list for reasons best known to officials. They said they had ID cards but could not vote.

Usha Aggarwal, a resident, said her name was not there. She said they wrote a complaint to the presiding officer but he did not accept it. ‘‘We wasted the entire day arguing with him but he did not listen to us,” she said. Sushma Khanna, another resident, sat on a dharna in Khalsa College for Women. She had her ID card in hand and said she would not go home unless she was allowed to vote. ‘‘I have not been able to vote because of the lackadaisical attitude of the officers. Had they ensured that there was no discrepancy in the lists, we would not have been left out. Who is responsible for all this? The Election Commission should take a serious notice of this carelessness and responsibility should be fixed so that this is not repeated in future,” she said.




Shooting case: SHO shifted

Ludhiana, August 8
Pressure wielded by an Akali leader allegedly led to the transfer of inspector Kanwarjit Singh, SHO, Shimla Puri police station, here today. The Akali leader was upset at yesterday's shootout incident near Gill Chowk in which two persons were injured.

Sources said the Akali leader complained to senior officials that the shootout took place because of the police laxity. Meanwhile, the police nabbed Kuldeep Singh Khalsa, husband of a rebel woman candidate, contesting from the Ward 32, and booked him. — TNS 



Sitting mayor humbled by BSP nomineel 
Change of ward proved fatal
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 8
Sitting mayor of the city Nahar Singh Gill remained twice unlucky this year as he was denied MLA ticket by the Congress during Assembly elections and now he was defeated by his BSP rival Jasbir Singh from Ward number 14 in municipal poll today.

Gill had been a strong contender for Congress ticket from Ludhiana Rural Assembly constituency during the assembly elections but he was denied the ticket at the last minute when Malkiat Singh Birmi was named the candidate from that segment.

The former mayor had somehow stomached the insult at that time. He had slipped into gloom for some day.

He had, however, decided not to contest as an Independent remaining a loyal soldier of the party. But that was not enough. He lost in MC elections and the defeat came from none other than a BSP candidate.

During last elections, Gill had contested from Ward number 18 but this time he had decided to contest from Ward number 14 as his native Sherpur village fell in this ward after the delimitation process.

He had quite an influence in his previous ward but political observers say that his changing ward spelt doom for him. Opponents propagated that he was a deserter and would do the same with the people of his new ward also.

Gill, however, had been claiming that he had worked for all 14 wards falling within Ludhiana Rural segment without discriminating against anyone. He had been saying that being a mayor of the city, he always had interests of the entire city on his top priority. But the electorate did not buy his claims and he was defeated.



Saplings planted by bank staff
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 8
The local Centurion Bank of Punjab celebrated its 11th inception day and vanmahotsava today. Staff organised Shri Sukhmani Sahib path and community kitchen was also served on the occasion. Addressing the gathering branch head Dev Puri thanked them for patronising the bank. The branch was opened in this town 10 years ago.

This branch of the bank has also been actively taking part in social issues like female foeticide and sapling plantation. The bank had organised a campaign against female foeticide at Fatehgarh Sahib a few months ago

The bank also organised Vanmahotsava on the occasion. Saplings were planted bank’s regional head Jasmeet Singh, circle head G.S.Rawat,besides others. D.K.Bhardwaj, Puneet Gupta, president of the local BJP unit Dharam Pal, Sanjay Singla, Meenakshi Gupta, Harinder Bhambri, Sandeep Bal and V.K.Mehta were also present on the occasion.



Make-up guru to give tips 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana August 8
Cory Walia--“the makeover man” will impart his make-up mantras to students of Flying Cats here tomorrow during a workshop. The make-up guru of several Bollywood actors, Cory Walia, will be sharing the secrets of right kind of look with the help of make-up.

Branch manager Deepa Nayyar, in a press statement, today said Walia would brief the students about how the right kind of make-up could change the overall look of an ordinary person to a super star.

He would give tips on corporate make-up, formal evening make-up, day make-up and new techniques for a professional look.



Couple robbed of Rs 40,000
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 8
The local police is hunting for two youths who robbed an old couple of Rs 40,000 here yesterday.

Saradara Singh, a retired FCI employee, and his wife Harbans Kaur, were robbed by two scooter-borne miscreants near police station this morning. The victims were returning home after withdrawing the amount from the grain market branch of State Bank of Patiala.

Preliminary investigations revealed that a financier had been harassing the victims’ son Mohan Singh for payment of about Rs 40,000. As the financier had been charging heavy interest on the loan, the victims decided to pay off the loan by taking advance against the pension of Saradara Singh.

“As my wife was the nominee in case of my account, she was required to sign certain papers at the bank. So we both went to the bank and were returning home after withdrawing the amount when the miscreants snatched the bag containing the money and fled towards the town,” the victims informed, adding that the place of incident was a stones’ throw from the police station.

Interestingly, the miscreants succeeded in fleeing even though a mechanic claimed to have chased them.



150 kg of lahan, illicit liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 8
The Sidhwan Bet police arrested Roorh Singh, Harbans Singh and Somi, all of Bahadurke village, while they were distilling illicit liquor. The police seized 150 kg of lahan and 6930 ml of illicit liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

4 booked for assault

The Sidhwan Bet police has booked four persons under Sections 323, 325, 34, IPC. According to information, Happy, Piara Singh of Sherpura Khurd allegedly assaulted Surinder Singh with iron pipe and sticks. Some domestic dispute is said to be the cause behind. No arrest has been made so far.



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