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One dead, two shot at
Victim supporter of Ind candidate; MLA Simarjit Bains injured in clash
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The MC elections turned into a battleground to settle scores, causing the death of one person while two sustained bullet injuries in the head and are for life at a local hospital.

A vehicle that was damaged during the clash.
A vehicle that was damaged during the clash. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan 

Incidents of violence

Gurvinder Singh Bajwa (45), former sarpanch of Bahadurke village, was shot dead following a clash with Karanbir Singh at Kara Bara Chowk in Salem Tabri here this afternoon.

The victim was a supporter of Independent candidate Gurdeep Singh Bittu while the accused Karanbir Singh was backing SAD candidate Baljinder Singh Goggi.

According to an eyewitness, the Karanbir, a resident of Bahadurke village, allegedly shot the victim at point-blank range in the abdomen and then shot several rounds into the air to scare away the crowd. The assailant along with his supporters reportedly damaged nearly 10 SUVs before fleeing.

Personal enmity is stated to be the reason behind the incident. The victim has a criminal record and remained in jail in connection with a murder case in 1996 and also a murderous assault case. Both the groups have been at loggerheads in the past and involved in bloody clashes as well.


One of the damaged vehicles at the site where the clash took place in Bazigar Dera, Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan 

The five accomplices of the main accused, who were fleeing in a car bearing the registration number of Chandigarh, were arrested from Kharar in the evening. They have been identified as Vikramjit Singh of Mansa, Jaswant Singh of Talwandi Sabo, Navjit Singh of Harike, Jaspreet Singh and Gagandeep. Karanbir is still on the run.

In the second incident, a 24-year-old youth identified as Inderjit Singh was shot at in the head following a clash between SAD candidate Parminder Singh Soma and Independent candidate Sohan Singh Gogga in the Partap Chowk area.

Inderjit Singh, an SAD supporter, was canvassing for Soma when Gogga group surrounded him. Both groups clash and amid the melee, someone opened fired and the bullet hit Inderjit.

In the third incident of violence, 40-year-old Davinder Singh was also shot at in the head following a clash between supporters of Independent candidate from Ward No. 75 Hansraj and an SAD candidate.

Hansraj along with his supporters staged a protest and blocked the national highway.

Bains, Gabria supporters clash

SAD MLA Simarjit Bains also suffered injuries. Bains was chased by some armed assailants allegedly belonging to the Hira Singh Gabria faction at Merado Colony last midnight. The assailants opened fire at Bains and damaged his SUV.

Panic spread in the area as nearly 200 supporters from both sides gathered at the spot. It is learnt that Bains and his security guards sustained serious injuries in the incident.

The area turned into a war zone with both groups pelting stones at each other, but soon a heavy police force reached the spot. It was at 2 am that the matter was resolved following the intervention of DCP Ashish Choudhary.

Sources said Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal had reportedly rapped both the leaders for embarrassing the party by indulging in a public spat.

BJP candidate Ravinder Arora was reportedly thrashed by the supporters of his rival candidate in the Haibowal area.

Muscle power

Notwithstanding the police claims of foolproof security arrangements, musclemen did pressure candidates. The imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC was thrown to the wind and people gathered around polling stations in droves.

The voters had to make their way through a battery of staunch supporters before reaching polling stations. I was about to enter the polling station at GGN Khalsa College when a huge man stood in front of me and told me to cast my vote in favour of a particular candidate. I was upset. This is not done. I was not scared, but the man may have managed to scare some voters, said Abhishek Kumar, a resident.

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SAD wins 27 seats, Congress 19
Independents victorious in 17 wards; several new faces emerge
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Several new faces have entered the MC House. The SAD has won 27 seats, BJP 12, Congress 19 and Independents 17.
Randhir Singh Sibia won from ward number 1, from where his wife Ratanjit Kaur was sitting councillor. They were expelled from the SAD during the recently held Vidhan Sabha elections and Sibia contested the MC elections as an Independent.

Varinder Sehgal, who won on Congress ticket from ward number 3 is a fresh face. Sarabjit Singh Laadi, who won on SAD ticket from ward number 4 is also a new entrant, but his mother was a councillor from this ward from 2002-2007.

Kuldeep Kaur Bhinder, who won on SAD ticket from ward number 5, is the wife of Tarsem Singh Bhinder, sitting councillor from this ward.

Avtar Kaur (Congress) from Ward Number 6 and Satinder Kaur (Congress) from Ward Number 11 are both fresh faces in the MC, but Satinders father-in-law has been a councillor.

The other new faces are: Surjit Rai (SAD) from Ward No. 12; Megha Aggarwal of BJP Ward No. 14; Hans Raj, an Independent, Ward No. 16; Amandeep Kaur Ghayal of Congress Ward No. 17; Inder Aggarwal of BJP Ward No. 18; Monica Jaggi of BJP Ward No. 20; Sumit Malhotra of BJP Ward No. 21; Ashwani Sharma of Congress Ward No. 22; Manjeet Kaur Grewal of Congress Ward No. 23; Kulwant Kaur, Independent, Ward No. 24; RD Sharma of BJP Ward No. 25; Renu Sharma of BJP Ward No. 29; Narinder Singh Malhi of BJP Ward No. 31; Anita Kharbanda, Independent Ward No. 32; Amrik Singh, Independent, Ward No. 34; Sushma Mehta of Congress Ward No. 35; Gurpreet Singh, Independent, Ward No. 37; Jasbir Singh Jassa, Independent, Ward No. 40; Pinky Bansal of Congress Ward No. 41; Renu Bansal of BJP Ward No. 51; Narinder Sharma of Congress Ward No. 52; Deepika Bhalla of Congress Ward No. 54; Bhupinder Singh Bhinda of SAD Ward No. 56, Veeran Bedi, Independent, Ward No. 57; Rakhwinder Singh Gabria of SAD Ward No. 61; Sarabjit Kaur of Congress Ward No. 62; Manjit Kaur of SAD Ward No. 66; Ranjit Singh Ubhi of SAD Ward No. 67; Sarabjit Kaur Cheema of SAD Ward No. 71; and Amandeep Kaur Giaspura of SAD Ward No. 74.

 

Those who made it to mc house

1

Randhir Singh Sibia

Independent

2

Narinder Kaur Dhillon

SAD

3

Varinder Sehgal

Congress

4

Sarabjit Singh

SAD

5

Kuldeep Kaur

SAD

6

Avtar Kaur          Congress

7

Gurpreet Singh Gora

Independent

8

Daljit Singh Grewal

Independent

9

Mandeep Kaur

SAD

10

Pal Singh Grewal

SAD

11

Satinder Kaur

Congress

12

Surjit Rai

SAD

13

Sunita Aggarwal

BJP

14

Megha Aggarwal

BJP

15

Sukhdev Singh Gill

SAD

16

Hans Raj

Independent

17

Amandeep Kaur Ghayal

Congress

18

Inder

BJP

19

Rajesh Jain

Independent

20

Monica Jaggi

BJP

21

Sumit Malhotra

BJP

22

Ashwani Sharma

Congress

23

Manjeet Kaur Grewal

Congress

24

Kulwant Kaur

Independent

25

R D Sharma

BJP

26

Kashmir Kaur

Independent

27

Hem Raj Aggarwal

Congress

28

Maharaj Singh Raji

Congress

29

Renu Sharma

BJP

30

Jai Parkash Sharma

Congress

31

Narinder Singh Malhi

BJP

32

Anita Kharbanda

Independent

33

Raghbir Singh

Independent

34

Amrik Singh

Independent

35

Sushma Mehta

Congress

36

Rakesh Prashar

Congress

37

Gurpreet Singh

Independent

38

Neha Nayyar

Independent

39

Sanjeev Kumar Talwar

Congress

40

Jasbir Singh Jassa

Independent

41

Pinky Bansal

Congress

42

Gurdeep Singh Neetu

BJP

43

Geeta Devi

BJP

44

Raman deep Kaur

BJP

45

Kamaljit Singh Karwal

SAD

46

Surjit Kaur Bhatia 

SAD

47

Surjit Kaur Dang

SAD

48

Manwinder pal Makkar

SAD

49

Mamta Ashu

Congress

50

Kapil Kumar Sonu

Independent

51

Renu Bansal

BJP

52

Narinder Sharma

Congress

53

Gurpreet Singh Bassi

Congress

54

Deepika Bhalla

Congress

55

Balkar Singh Sandhu

Congress

56

Bhupinder Bhinda

SAD

57

Veeran Bedi Independent

58

Paramjit Kaur Shivalik

SAD

59

Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal

SAD

60

Jaswinder Singh Bhola

SAD

61

Rakhwinder Gabria

SAD

62

Sarvjeet Kaur

Congress

63

Jagbir Singh Lohara

SAD

64

Satpal Singh

SAD

65

Swaran Singh Mahauli

Independent

66

Manjit Kaur

SAD

67

Ranjit Singh Ubhi

SAD

68

Parminder Singh Soma

SAD

69

Swarandeep Chahal

SAD

70

Harcharan Gohalwaria

SAD

71

Sarabjeet K Cheema

SAD

72

Hakam Giaspura

SAD

73

Baby Singh Thakur

Independent

74

Amandeep K Giaspura

SAD

75

Sarabjit Singh Garcha

SAD

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1 dies, 3 hurt in road mishaps
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, June 10
One person died while three others sustained injuries in three road accidents that took place near Jagraon in the past 24 hours. In the first accident, a person driving a tractor on the Leelan-Sherpur link road near Jagraon died when the vehicle overturned last night. The deceased was identified as Bobby, a resident of Kothe Fatehdeen village near Jagraon.

As per information, the accident occurred near Sherpur village when Bobby was returning to his village after visiting Sidhwan Bet last night. As soon as he reached the Leelan-Sherpur link road, he lost control over the tractor following which it overturned and he was crushed to death under the vehicle.

Some passersby informed the police about the accident following which a police team from the Jagraon Sadar police station arrived on the spot and rushed the victim to the Civil Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The police handed over the body to the family after conducting an autopsy. The deceased is survived by wife and two children.

In the second accident, a youth identified as Harwinder Singh, a resident of Kothe Baggu, got seriously injured when his SUV rammed into a tree near the Sherpur Chowk on the Jagraon-Moga highway this morning. As per sources, the vehicle was being driven recklessly. The victim was admitted to a hospital and his condition is stated to be stable.

In yet another incident, a father-son duo sustained injuries when an Indica Vista car (PB 56 C 0018) they were travelling in collided head-on with another vehicle coming from opposite direction. The accident took place near Alighar village on the Ludhiana-Moga highway today. Soon after the accident, a highway patrolling team reached the spot and rushed the injured to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon.

As soon as Darshan Singh Sidhu and his son reached Alighar village, their car collided head-on with another vehicle coming from Moga side. Darshan Singh and his son sustained serious injuries and they were rushed to a hospital. Their condition is stated to be stable.

The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident fled the spot soon after the accident. Investigating officer Baldev Singh said the police had recovered the number plate of the vehicle involved in the accident and the efforts to trace the vehicle were on," he added. 

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Meera fifth in state, Jaskirat eighth in AIEEE
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Meera Gupta and Jaskirat Singh from the city clinched the fifth and eighth positions in the state, respectively, in the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), the results of which were declared late last night. The all-India ranking of Meera is 193 and Jaskirat 286.

"One does not need to be hooked to books all the time for good results. I want to become a computer engineer, but it all depends on the stream I get in during counselling. My next choice is chemical engineering," said Meera.

Attributing her success to hard work and faith in God, she said her parents encouraged her.

"It was sheer dedication and commitment which helped me sail through all the rough paths and helped me get a good rank in AIEEE," said Jaskirat Singh.

Son of a telecom engineer, his aim is to become an engineer like his father. "Though I still have to decide on the stream, but my dream of becoming an engineer will be fulfilled now," he said.

"Most of the time I was studying and hardly got any time for leisure activities. This one year was full of hard work and now it is the time to reap the fruit of my hard work," he added. 

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SAD-BJP combine wins 8 seats out of 13
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Machiwara, June 10
The Akali Dal-BJP combine retained power in the nagar panchayat elections here by securing eight out of 13 seats. The elections were held for 12 wards while a candidate of the Akali Dal, Rupinder Singh Benipal, was declared elected from Ward No. 8 as the Congress candidate had withdrawn his nomination.

The elections to the remaining 12 wards were held on June 8 and the results were declared today. In Ward No. 1, Balvir Kaur Benipal of the Akali dal was declared elected while in Ward No. 2, Congress candidate Upinder was elected. In Ward No. 3, Narinder Dhanoa (SAD) won while in Ward No.4, Manjit Kumari of the Congress was victorious. In Ward No. 5, Ashok Sood (BJP) was declared elected.

The winners of the other wards are: Ward No. 6 Daljit Singh (SAD); Ward No. 7 Manjit Kaur (Congress); Ward No. 8 Rupinder Singh Benipal (declared elected as Congress candidate withdrew his nomination); Ward No. 9 Paramjit Singh (Congress); Ward No. 10 Parminder Kaur (Akali Dal); Ward No. 11 Jagdish Singh (SAD); Ward No. 12 Surinder Kumar (Congress); and Ward No. 13 Ranjit Kaur (Akali Dal).

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Congress fails to maintain hold on Amloh council
Our Correspondent

AMLOH, JUNE 10
The SAD-BJP alliance got better of the Congress-backed candidates to win the Amloh municipal council elections held on June 7. The results of elections held in 12 out of the 13 wards in the council were declared by the SDM-cum-returning officer Mukand Singh Sidhu here today. Earlier, SAD candidate Vickey Mittal from ward number 10 had been declared elected unopposed.

While all the 10 candidates fielded by SAD won from their respective wards, its partner BJP conceded one of the three wards it contested from. The candidates of both the parties contested on their respective party symbols while other contestants had filed their nomination papers as independent candidates. PPP and the Congress had extended its support to them.

Results: SAD candidates - ward number 1 Baldev Sedha, ward number 2 Parkash Kaur, ward number 3 Darshan Singh Cheema, ward number 5 Kiran Sood, ward number 6 Kuldip Kumar Deepa, ward number 7 Rakesh Kumar Shahi, ward number 9 Jagtar Singh, ward number 12 Sohan Singh and ward number 13 Rakekha Rani, BJP candidates- ward number 4 Rakesh Kumar, ward number 11 Poonam Jindal, Independent candidate -ward number 8 Sukhwinder Kaur.

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Akali-BJP retain chieftainship
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 10
The SAD-BJP alliance has retained the chieftainship of the Malaudh Nagar Panchayat. While SAD candidates Indu Puri, Sukhjit Lalli, Rachhpal Kaur, Manjit Kaur and Nirmal Singh defeated their rivals in their respective wards, Sonia Goyal was declared victorious unopposed. BJP supported candidate Rajinder Kumar won from Ward No 3.

Congress and Independents also managed to win two seats each in the civic body. Surjit Singh and Varinderjit Kaur, supported by the Congress, and Balwinder Kaur and Bhajan Singh, both independents, won from their respective wards.

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Honey retains fathers seat
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, June 10
The SAD-BJP candidate, Honey Goel, emerged victorious from ward number 13 in the MC by-elections.

The by-elections were held on June 7 for only one seat of the Jagraon municipal council which had fallen vacant following the death of Honey's father Vinod Kumar Goel.

Honey Goel defeated his nearest rival and Congress candidate Ajay Kumar Dhanda with a huge margin of 668 votes.

There were as many as four candidates, including two Independents in the fray for the seat, but SAD-BJP candidate Honey Goel won the seat with a considerable margin.

Honey Goel got 789 votes to defeat Congress candidate Ajay Kumar Dhanda who could manage only 121 votes while two Independent candidates Sanjay Kumar Pakija and Baban Kumar Goel got 85 and 71 votes, respectively. There were a total of 1,479 votes in ward number 13, but 1,066 votes were polled on the election day.

The elections were held in completely peaceful manner in Jagraon.

As soon as the result was declared, celebrations started in the BJP camp. BJP workers celebrated the victory of the party candidate by distributing ladoos among locals and dancing to the beats 
of dhol.

Jagraon MLA Shiv Ram Kaler, former MLA Bhag Singh Mallha, senior BJP leader Dr Rajinder Sharma and many other leaders of the ruling alliance congratulated Honey Goel on his victory.

After winning the elections, Honey Goel dedicated his victory to his father Vinod Kumar.

Honey Goel also promised the residents of ward number 13 to solve all their problems and develop the area.

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Quiet enthusiasm among first-time voters
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The younger generation was out to vote. While it was a novel experience for some, it was a sign of their coming of age for the others. There was a quiet enthusiasm among first-time voters.

They had various reasons to come out to vote. Some had come with their families and some with friends.

Ankit Chopra, pursuing CA studies, said he had been wanting to vote for a long time and instead of complaining about the state of affairs, it was better to vote.

For another youngster, having the voter ink mark on the finger, meant a lot. "It feels great to have voted and taken the first step towards adulthood and be a responsible citizen. Voting for me is a right and also a responsibility," he said. "I used to come with my family for voting every time, but now I have voted myself. It feels great to have exercised the right to vote for the first time," said a BA student.

"Several youngsters wore white kurta-pyjama today. It was my first time, so I also wore a typical 'political uniform' to celebrate the day," said Anuj, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar.

Madhav Mehra, a student of SCD Government College, said he understood that every vote counted and that was the reason why he had come out to vote. Mamta, who finished her college this year, said if everyone exercised their right to vote and choose the right people, it could change a lot of things.

Komalpreet Kaur, a BA student, said she had been tracking details about the candidates from discussions within the family and knew which candidate to vote for.

Asha Jain, who is proud to come out to vote, said: "Voting also signifies that we have finally grown up to vote."

Aanchal Jain, another youngster, said exercising the right to vote was important to bring about a change in society.

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Migrant voters act as a deciding force 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service,

Ludhiana, June 10
Though as compared to the municipal elections held in 2007, this time the population of migrant voters saw a dip in the city. More than 20 wards have a sizable migrant population. If their union leaders are to be believed, about 30 per cent of the total results will be influenced by the migrant population in the civic poll this time.

Migrant population dominates a major area of Ludhiana
Migrant population dominates a major area of Ludhiana. Tribune photos: Inderjeet Verma

As per data available with the Election Office, in 2002, 9,40,460 voters cast their vote in the MC elections while in 2007, the voters' list squeezed to 9,35,428 but in the present elections, the list of voters' further came down to 9,07,000. An officer with the administration said the names of about 28,000 voters were omitted from the previous list.

"And a majority of the names are of migrants, who have left the city. The reason for leaving their city can be better opportunities provided under NREGA scheme in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Besides, during Dhandari incidents, when migrants were attacked, their good population left the city for their native villages. Perhaps these are the main reasons that the industrial city is suffering due to the crunch of migrant labourers," said the official. TR Mishra, chairman, Purvanchal Vikas Parishad, said in areas, including ward numbers 8,9,10,11,15,16,17,18,72,73,74 and 75, migrants will influence the results. Out of the total migrant population in the city, about 55 per cent cast their vote as many others had gone to native villages as it was a wedding season and also the time to sow paddy.

"Independent candidates or those belonging to any political party in migrant-populated areas, took keen interest in encouraging many migrants to get their votes made. The candidates/leaders who helped migrants, listened to their woes, will definitely get the support," said Mishra. 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

l Voters were embarrassed on seeing errors in voting slips. Information regarding age, sex and residential address was incorrect.

l There was no uniformity in applying ink on fingers. Some voters had ink on left index finger while others had it on right index finger.

l In the afternoon, it was observed that supporters of some political parties were visiting residential areas and giving wake-up call to residents to cast their vote.

l Outside the voting centres, residents were seen carrying water bottles.

l Many residents, acting smart, preferred not to be recognised with a particular party or candidate. They continued to be "pally" with all candidates/supporters.

l For many supporters, it was a "feast-time" as they were being served refreshments regularly.

l People had come all dressed-up and looking their best. A migrant woman when asked to let her photograph clicked, said to the cameraman to let her see the pocket-mirror kept in her purse first.

l In one such locality a few supporters who were sitting in four-wheelers also approached some voters saying,"Aao asin tuhanu lai chaliye". But listening to this, smart voters said,"No, we will manage at our own."

l Different political parties had arranged cold water for the voters.

l The scorching sun helped ice-cream vendors earn some quick bucks outside the polling booths.

l "Chhabeels" were organised by supporters of candidates outside the booths.

l Some candidates were seen taking blessings from elderly persons.

l Police personnel were deployed outside the booths.

l After the Congress MLA, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, and supporters of the BJP candidate from ward number 49 clashed, heavy police force was deployed outside Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School in Model Gram.

Contributed by Anupam Bhagria, Charanjit Singh Teja, Gurvinder Singh, Manav Mander, Puneet Pal Singh Gill and Shivani Bhakoo. 

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Form 17-A not available at booths
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
On the one hand, team Anna and civil society have been demanding amendment in the election rules to make the option of right to reject, but voters from the city rather rejected the idea by not demanding Form 17-A from the presiding officers.

A visit to the polling booths revealed that no one demanded Form 17 from the election staff. Though the forms were not available at the pooling booths, when a few voters asked for these, the presiding officers started motivating the former to vote.

One of the presiding officers said, "Don't spoil your vote you have to cast it."

Form 17-A comes under the Election Rules 49-O. A voter, who does not want to vote, can fill in the form. After a voter's roll number is entered in the register of voters in Form-17-A and he decides not to vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17-A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark. 

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Some preferred to stay away from all things political
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Although it was a day out for many who enthusiastically exercised their right to vote, there were some who did not participate in the "dance of democracy". Some said the candidates were not of their choice while the others lacked confidence in the old candidates.

Sumeet Nanda, an entrepreneur, said: "This time, none of the candidates was of my choice from any political party. Due to the dissident factor, all candidates were new so I did not feel like voting for anyone."

Some voters said the candidates did not meet anyone personally. Anureet Singh, a city resident, said: "I know two candidates who contested for the first time. The third who also contested for first time did not even approach us to hear our demands. So, I had no confidence in any of the new contenders and decided not to vote. I enjoyed the day watching a movie."

Some people were fed up and said whenever any problem arose, they themselves had to go to government offices to get these solved. Sudheer Gupta, an employee working with an MNC, said: "Be it the 
problem of water or electricity, we have to get it solved on our own. So, I stayed away. No point voting for anyone."

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Political power not needed for social work: Eunuch
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Sona, in her mid-thirties, is waiting for Dadar Express on the railway platform. She will spend her entire day on the train. It's her daily routine. She has been residing in Ludhiana for 15 years, but she is unaware of the MC elections.

Sona is a eunuch. Hardly 250 eunuchs are registered voters in the city. Sona is not one of them.

“I spend my whole day in trains and interact with the poor throughout the day. I feel that people are still struggling to earn two basic meals a day. This election is just a race for power. Nothing is going to change in the lives of these people. So we stay away from these elections,” she says.

Although, some of the prominent eunuchs in the city are involved in community service, they don’t harbour any political ambitions.

Another eunuch, Malti Mahant, from Field Ganj, Kucha No 7, has voter ID card but she did not cast 
her vote.

"Personally, we don't have any demands. Our concerns are common with those of the society's. We also want better facilities,” says Malti.

"Though, we do influence a section of the society, we don’t side with any particular candidate or party,” she adds.

When asked whether a eunuch can provide better administration than their male and female counterparts, Malti says, "Of course. But we are not interested in politics. Politics is no longer service for humanity. It has become a game to grab power. It is not for a decent man. It's for land grabbers, criminals and gundas."

Giving the example of her guru, Kanta Mahant, who has been serving society by making inns and organising marriages for poor, she says, “Power is not necessary for social service.

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Visually impaired exercise their franchise
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Visually impaired made it a point to exercise their right this time. But it was not Braille that helped them cast their vote, they were escorted by helpers to the EVMs.

In Vidhan Sabha elections, visually impaired cast vote with the help of Braille. Symbols of various political parties are inscribed on a paper.

A visually impaired couple, Basanti and Kali Parsad, said, "Our helper escorted us to the the EVMs and helped us cast vote. The sweltering heat cannot stop us from exercising our right."

Holding election identity cards in their hands, two visually impaired friends were eagerly waiting for their turn at a polling booth. Thirty-year-old Lal Singh Thakur, a music and English teacher at Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre, said,"It is our constitutional right to cast vote. If we do not vote, we have no right to complain to the government."

While his friend Dil Kumar, who works in the Braille press at the VRTC Centre, said, "I was waiting for this day. As it is hot outside, I will go by an auto-rickshaw to cast the vote. We have so many issues and we will get these addressed through newly elected leaders."

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See-saw moment for Akali leader
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Termed as a big blow to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and a continuation of bad luck for Senior Akali leader Harish Rai Dhanda. It was a see saw moment for him as after being "declared winner" from ward number 28, Dhanda carried out a victory procession in the ward, but the Congress candidate, Maharaj Singh Raji, who had contested against him, alleged that the SAD was making false claims just to misguide the voters.

After Dhanda emerged victorious, Maharaj Singh Raji and his supporters started protesting and even sat on a dharna outside the polling centre.

Maharaj Singh Raji had earlier alleged, "The SAD is using unfair means to win the seat by hook or crook. Even during the campaigning, the ruling party had tried to lure the voters by several tactics, but they did not succeed. And when they lost today, they tried to forge the result documents. That is why we are staging a dharna."

Interestingly, Dhanda had even carried out a victory procession in the ward. But things didn't turn the way Dhanda had expected.

Dakha MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali said, "I am accompanying Dhanda and he has won by a good margin. I wonder why the Congress leaders are spreading rumours."

A large number of Congress supporters started reaching the SCD Government College in Civil Lines, where the counting for ward number 28 had taken place. Senior Congress leaders also reached there and argued with the election officials for giving a fair result.

It is learnt that Raji and his supporters managed to get a winning candidate certificate from the returning officer and left the spot. By that time, the Akali leaders, too, arrived at the SCD Government College, but the winning candidate certificate had already been issued. Though some of the Akali leaders present on the spot lamented that Raji had managed to get the certificate by mounting pressure on the election staff.

Harish Rai Dhanda said he was declared winner by 51 votes. "But later I came to know that I had lost by around 300 votes. I really don't know what happened and I am totally amazed by the development," he said.

When asked about the next course of action, Dhanda said, "Let's see what happens next."

Bad luck

Several eyebrows were raised ever since Dhanda had decided to contest the MC elections. A former Chief Parliamentary Secretary and a noted lawyer, Dhanda won the 2007 Vidhan Sabha elections from the Ludhiana (West) constituency. He was also the chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana. He resigned from Vidhan Sabha on July 6 last year to set into motion the process of his appointment as the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) chairman. For this, he even surrendered his licence of enrolment as an advocate. But everything didn't go the way Dhanda and the Akali Dal wanted as the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on August 17 last year, had rejected his candidature for the post of PPSC chairman. And he could not contest his Ludhiana (West) seat because the Akali Dal swapped it with its alliance partner, Bharatiya Janta Party. And today, he lost the MC elections to Maharaj Singh Raji of the Congress.

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Some brave heat, others stay indoor
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Huge turn out was witnessed at the polling booths today. But with the rise in temperature, people preferred to stay indoor.

Some residents anticipating hot weather came to cast vote in the morning. "I went out to vote early in the morning. It just becomes like an oven in the open during noons."

"I made it a point to vote, even though some members of my family were reluctant to come out in the afternoon," said Mandeep Singh, a resident.

As per the Met department, the maximum temperature had touched 41.6 degrees Celsius while the minimum was 24.8 degrees Celsius.

However, some came out braving the hot weather to vote. "Although it is hot, I did not want to miss voting, because every vote counts," said Harinder, a resident of Model Town.

Some residents living in posh localities said, "People wake up late on Sundays. And why to sacrifice our Sunday as we are going to get the same corrupt crop with just names changed, term after term."

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Wives of 3 MLAs make it to MC
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Three wives of local MLAs have made it to the Municipal Corporation. These include Mamta Ashu, wife of Ludhiana (west) MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu; Paramjit Kaur, wife of Gill MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik; and Narinder Kaur, wife of Ludhiana (east) MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon.

(From left) Mamta Ashu, Paramjit Kaur and Narinder Kaur Dhillon.
(From left) Mamta Ashu, Paramjit Kaur and Narinder Kaur Dhillon.

Mamta Ashu was the Congress candidate from Ward No. 49 while Paramjit Kaur and Narinder Kaur Dhillon were SAD candidates from Ward Nos. 58 and 2, respectively.

Both Mamta and Paramjit Kaur are sitting councillors while Narinder Kaur is a first-time councillor. Before contesting the elections, Ward No. 2 was represented by her husband Ranjit Singh Dhillon who was elected MLA during the recently held Vidhan Sabha elections.

Mamta Ashu had contested against Iqbalajit Singh of the BJP while Paramjit Kaur was pitted against Rattan Singh Kamalpuri of the Congress and Narinder Kaur against Raji Bhasin. Interestingly, both Mamta and Paramjit Kaur had contested from wards not reserved for women candidates.

Rakhwinder Singh Gabria, son of former Cabinet minister Hira Singh Gabria of the Akali Dal, won from Ward No. 61.

Narinder Sharma, brother of Bharat Bhushan Ashu, won from Ward No. 52. Manwinder Pal Singh Makkar, son of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, also made it to the MC. While Narinder is a first-time councillor, Makkar is a sitting councillor.

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Wise enough to choose the right candidate, say residents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service,

Ludhiana, June 10
Not only the ones residing in posh localities, but also those living in "underdeveloped" wards in Sherpur, Dhandari and Industrial Areas knew about their rights. They did not feel shy to admit that the "easily-approachable" person would be given the priority.

A survey by The Tribune team in several booths in these areas revealed that the voters came in good numbers by 12 pm. At many polling booths, they had to wait for their turn to cast vote. But during peak hot weather, a majority of voters preferred to stay indoors. A policeman on duty at one of the polling booths at Sherpur said, "Till 1 pm, about 35 per cent polling was witnessed. We expect it to pick up after 3 pm now."

Meanwhile, residents in "not so posh" wards said they were aware of their rights and would support the candidate, who was "easily approachable". A resident of Bhagat Singh Colony, Kiran 36, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, said she preferred to vote for the candidate, who gave a patient hearing to the problems of area residents.

"The residents are fed up with the dilapidated condition of roads. Besides, contamination of water is another serious issue which needs to be addressed. During rainy season, residents get dirty water to drink. These are the basic amenities and we must not be deprived of these," said Kiran.

Severe infection in the food pipe could not dampen the spirits of Baldev Singh, a resident of Kailash Nagar, who came to cast his vote today. He said, "Doctors had stated that my food pipe had burst. I was discharged last evening. As a responsible citizen, I decided not to waste one vote, so I came here with my wife to cast my vote." 

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Giaspura does it again
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Outgoing Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura is probably the only councillor in the state who has become Mayor for the fifth time in a row. He has been winning the elections since 1991, the year when Ludhiana city got a Municipal Corporation. Today, he again won the elections from Ward No. 72. Giaspura had unsuccessfully contested the recently held Vidhan Sabha elections from the Ludhiana South constituency and the SAD denied ticket to his son, Jaspal Singh Giaspura, a councillor from Ward No. 74.

Giaspura said he was thankful to the residents of his ward for electing him for the fifth time in a row. I have worked hard for my area and my victory confirms it, he said.

Asked if he would be the mayoral candidate this time, he said: I am a dedicated party worker and would abide by whatever decision the party takes. Even in 2007, they made me the Mayor themselves because I have never gone against the Akali Dal.

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