L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Repoll in Ward No. 49
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
Due to a snag developed in an electronic voting machine, the state Election Commission has ordered repoll in Ward No 49.

The re-election has been declared under Section 59 (2) (a) of the Punjab State Election Commission Act, 1994, as the result could not be obtained from the EVM in polling booth number 9.

Deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar said the repoll would be held on August 12 in all polling booths of the ward. The result would be declared the same day.

Gurjar said the returning officer had reported that the presiding-cum-assistant returning officer of booth number 9 could not obtain results from an EVM due to some fault. Supervisor of the ward Ranjit Singh had also submitted his report in this regard and company engineer was sent to the booth to retrieve the result but he could not do so.

The DC said the counting of votes in other booths in the ward showed that Surjit Kaur had polled maximum number of 2,833 votes while the next leading candidate Gursharan Kaur secured 2,320 votes. The margin between the two was 513. The number of votes polled in the defective machine was 535 which was more than the difference between the two leading candidates.

While the re-election has been declared, Amarjit Singh Bhatia, a senior Akali leader, whose wife Surjit Kaur is contesting from this ward and was leading with 513 votes, is protesting against the decision.

He argued that when an EVM of only one polling booth had reported a defect, repolling should have been ordered in that booth only. There was no need to declare it for the entire ward.

He alleged that some Akali leaders were trying hard that his wife lost the elections. He said he was meeting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal against the move.

Many leaders had been working against her clandestinely in that ward. Still she had managed to take lead from her rival, said Bhatia.



Post-Poll Thought
Congmen blame it on factionalism
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana August 9
Factionalism and wrong chioce of candidates is being blamed for the poor show by the Congress in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation elections.The party could in win just 17 of the 75 wards, whereas in 1997 it had won 18 wards.The total number of wards then was 70.

Most party leaders attributed the "poor performance" to lack of unity in the ranks. A least six Congress rebels have won the elections. Had the party leadership been more “accommodative,” the party would have fared better, they say.

Besides, at least 12 more rebels spoiled the chances of official nominees. “The party could have won from at least 25 wards this time as the SAD-BJP alliance was on a weak wicket,” opined a Congress man.

The party did not make much effort during campaigning."From day one it was made out as if we were contesting for the sake of it,” a party leader who campaigned in several wards said, adding, "senior leaders turned down requests by contestants to address meetings in their wards".

Although Congress Legislative Party leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo did canvass here briefly, they struck a discordant note.

Some party candidates wanted former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to address meetings here. But they were discouraged by his detractors.

Capt Amarinder did pass through Ludhiana during his visit to Jalandhar and Amritsar. At Sahnewal he was accorded a small reception by supporters.

The party leaders said, he could have been invited to address a few meetings and that could have made a difference as none in the PCC had his charisma. If Amarinder Singh could campaign in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala why not in Ludhiana, the asked.

Those who won, Parminder Mehta, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Sneh Lata, did so only because of their personal efforts than party efforts.



Complacency cost BJP dear
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
The BJP might have added four councillors to its previous figure but in the final analysis, it has emerged as a loser in these elections.

It contested 37 of the 75 wards, only one less than its alliance partner SAD. In fact the SAD’s performance was far better than the BJP which won 24 of the 38 wards.

Both, the BJP as well as the SAD, had won 10 wards each in the previous house. However, four independents had joined the SAD, while one had joined the BJP, taking their total strength to 25. While the SAD improved substantially, the BJP failed to do so, particularly when compared to its performance in the Assembly elections.

So far the BJP had been asserting that the alliance won the urban and semi-urban seats because of it. But now the party’s argument will lose its edge, as the SAD performed far too better than the BJP. Besides 24 wards, there are at least six Akali rebels who won and are most likely to join the party.

There is a sense of shock and disbelief within the party about the poor performance. The party was preparing itself to get the post of mayor as it expected to perform better than the SAD, because it’s base has mainly been restricted to the urban areas. Now the party may have to rethink about its claims and strengths.

The SAD had earlier also been asserting that the party benefited in the Assembly elections more due to the anti-incumbency factor (against the Congress) than for its own strengths. This has been firmly established in these elections in Ludhiana. In most of the areas it expected to do good, it performed poorly.

Assessing the party’s performance, a senior leader admitted that the BJP workers appeared to be “complacent and overconfident”. He said it is not that the party has lost its support base in Ludhiana, which is still intact, but only, it could not be translated into victories.

Moreover, he asserted that in the municipal elections, it is more the individual image and ability of the candidate than the party he or she belongs to, which determines his performance and the result. “This must not be taken as the party’s performance, but that of the individual candidates only”, he sought to explain.



Conjoined twins born in city
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 9
A woman gave birth to conjoined twins in a hospital here today. Director of the hospital Dr Baldeep Singh said this was the first case of its kind in the city.

The female babies born to Sabia, a resident of Malerkotla town, about 50 km from here, have two heads, four legs, four arms while the thorax and abdomen are common, having single heart and single liver.

Even though the twins were stable and doing well, Dr Baldeep told Ludhiana Tribune that it was rare 

condition and it would be impossible to separate the babies since they had a common heart, a common liver with a very complex blood supply system.

To make the matters worse, the family to whom the twin are born, do not have the kind of resources for the complex surgery to separate and save the babies. Dr Baldeep said doctors at Malerkotla had detected in an ultrasound that the twin foetus had some common organs which made them refer the woman to the city hospital.

He said the case was being put on the internet with the hope that some NGO or research-oriented medical institution might take the babies for a separation.



Passport with 16-day validity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
The joy of a resident of Garhi Tarkhana village near Samrala turned into a shock, when he found the validity of the new passport is just for 16 days only.

The Regional Passport Office had reportedly promised to rectify the mistake but nothing has been done so far.

Gurdeep Singh was at his wits end at the “strange” validity of the passport which leaves him no time to use it.

The passport bearing no. G-3987682 and issued on July 18 underlined August 3 as the expiry date.

Now, the bearer is again forced to make several more rounds of the Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh, to find out if it was just a clerical mistake.

In a letter addressed to the Regional Passport Officer Chandigarh, Gurdeep Singh has asked for the compensation of the mistake.

Though the RPO could not be contacted, other officials have told Gurdeep that mistake might have been made due to some faulty computer programming. 



Freedom fighters honoured on Quit India Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
The Desh Bhagat Yadgari Society, Punjab, and Aas, a city-based NGO, today celebrated Quit India Day in an impressive function at DAV Public School here.

On the occasion, four prominent freedom fighters - Devki Nandan Khar, Hazara Singh, Dewan Jagdish Chander and Shiv Singh, were honoured for their participation in the historic movement.

Extending a warm welcome to the freedom fighters, president of the society Jagdev Singh Jassowal exhorted the youth to follow in the foot steps of those martyrs and great sons of the soil who had struggled to achieve independence of the country.

Keynote address was delivered by noted scholar and writer Dr S.N. Sewak.

Jassowal, along with social activist N.S. Nanda, proposed a nine-point charter against social evils and called for observing this day in future as Quit Social Evils Day. He made a fervent appeal to the masses to wage a war for eradication of evils like female feoticide, dowry, drug addiction, felling of trees, corruption, caste system, social and economic disparity, communal hatred and unlawful activities.Dr Surjit Singh Bhadaur, president, Aas, K.K. Bawa, general secretary of Desh Bhagat Yadgari Society, R.S. Patial, Col H.S. Kahlon, Darshan Arora, S.S. Gill and Mohinder Singh Cheema also addressed the function.



Race for mayor’s post hots up
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
With the BJP performing poorly in the local municipal elections, the race for the post of mayor has narrowed down within the SAD. There are a large number of claimants for the post. Senior party leaders like Hakim Singh Giaspora and Simarjit Singh Bains have been projected as main contenders. K.L. Chhabra and Harbhajan Singh Dang are also being projected as probables.

Giaspora has become the councillor for the third time in a row. In fact, he got elected to the corporation unopposed this time. He happens to be close to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Besides, he also enjoys considerable clout given his years and experience in the local politics. His influence cuts across the party lines. So much so it is being said his was elected unopposed as the Congress had not put up a candidate against him.

Bains happens to be another strong candidate for the Mayor’s post. In fact, he happens to be the only influential candidate across a few wards. He is understood to have fielded quite a few candidates in several wards with tourism and culture minister Hira Singh Gabria's nominees. At least four of them have won as Independent candidates. He is believed to be enjoying the backing of at least 10 councillors to support his case for the Mayor.

Compared to Giaspora, he is quite young. But that does not place him in any disadvantageous position as he is close to SAD acting president Sukhbir Badal. Moreover, he is very active and has played an important role in party programmes.

Another important contender for the post is Harbhajan Singh Dang. He was a SAD leader in the previous House. That makes him a serious contender. Since it is not the merit alone that counts at the end, he may have to do tough lobbying to get the Mayor’s post.

K.L. Chhabra, who won for the second time is also in the race. In fact he almost made it in the outgoing House when he lost to Congress candidate Nahar Singh. At that time he had contested as an Independent and won. He had managed to get the support of the SAD-BJP alliance, besides that of a few Independents. At that time he had tried to bank upon the differences with the Congress about Gill as Milkiat Singh Birmi did not want him to be the mayor. But, he was let down at the eleventh hour. So much so, Birmi did not cast his vote in camera but stamped it in full public view, lest he be suspected. Birmi cast his vote in the capacity of an MLA as they are regarded as ex-officio members of the corporation with full voting rights.



2 city students in Horlicks Wiz Kids finals
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
Two city students, Namit Jain, of Class 9, and Kanika Kamboj of Class 6, from BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, made a big splash in the finals of Horlicks Wiz Kids Contest in the senior and junior categories respectively.

The overall trophy in 20 events conducted today, was also bagged by BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School on the basis of points.

The contest, held at Guru Nanak Bhawan here today, proved to be an exciting affair. Namit and Kanika will represent Ludhiana in the national finals to be held at Banglore in November. The national winners will then represent India at Brazil later this year.

Bigger than ever before in its fourth successive year, Horlicks Wiz Kids saw the participation of 5,100 students from 33 schools across Ludhiana.

Thousands of students joined hands to support the ‘Ban the Bulb Campaign’ and exhibited concern about the threat posed by climate change.

“The Horlicks Wiz Kids inter-school festival helps students develop the ability and confidence to express their views and not restrict themselves to academics alone,” said a teacher, supervising her team at the contest.



Teej celebrated at school
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
Teej and van mahotsav were celebrated at the New Secondary School here yesterday. The students planted saplings on the school premises. Swings were put up in different places. Students performed Bhangra and Giddha. Director Ashok Kumar Setia told the students about the significance of the festival and later distributed prizes among the students.

Magic show
Magician King Cobra performs at BCM School, Dugri, on Thursday.
Magician King Cobra performs at BCM School, Dugri, on Thursday.—A Tribune photograph

Magicians, King Cobra and Mogambo, performed at BCM School, Dugri, today.

"The thunderous applause by the students watching the magic show is proof that these performances have not lost their charm, power and charisma," commented principal of the school, Dr Vandana Shahi.




Ludhiana: Model city

Residents of Ludhiana are not safe on the roads as traffic rules are not observed here. Vehicles owned by residents as well as the administration are often seen being driven at high speeds. Even police vehicles can be seen frequently without number plates and being driven at abnormal speeds without caring for traffic signals.

Also, it is difficult to get some work done at government offices if someone has no political or bureaucratic links. It looks like only the judiciary can take care of the residents of the city. A case in point is that of Buddha Nala.

Also, it is often seen that while the bureaucrats try to bring changes, there is little political support for them.

Administrators should start taking firm decisions to solve problems of the city. If the residents of the city are made aware of their duties, Ludhiana can become a model city.

Garish Gupta, Ludhiana.



4 booked under Gambling Act

Jagraon, August 9
Sudhar police has arrested four persons on the charge of gambling. In the first, Bhushan Kumar and Raman Kumar and Jasvir Singh were arrested from Jodhan village. Satnam Singh was arrested from Rattna village and police recovered Rs 1,550 from his person. They were allegedly alluring the people to multiply their money by betting on some numbers. — OC



PVR opens first multiplex in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 9
PVR Cinema finally opened its multiplex at the Flamez Mall in the city. The four-screen multiplex is claimed to be first in the state. With this, PVR Cinema’s screen count will go up to 89 screens, in 23 property spread across 14 cities. 



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