C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Record 73.8% show up to seal their choice
  Voting continues till late in the evening in largely peaceful poll; long queues witnessed outside several polling stations 
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Voters line up outside a polling booth in Hallo Majra on Thursday.
Voters line up outside a polling booth in Hallo Majra on Thursday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, April 10
Breaking the past record of 68.9 per cent voting in Chandigarh, 73.84 per cent voters turned up at the 519 polling booths in the city to exercise their right to vote in a largely peaceful poll today. Of the total 6,13,939 voters, as many as 4,53,314 turned up to exercise their franchise. The previous largest turnout of 68.9 per cent was recorded in 1984.

Huge enthusiasm was witnessed among voters, who started making a beeline for polling booths since early morning. While in urban sectors, voters did not have to wait for long, polling booths on the periphery, including villages and colonies, witnessed long queues.

The Election Department recorded 11.09 per cent polling in the first two hours till 9 am, which jumped to 25.98 per cent in the next two hours. Between 11 am and 1 pm, a total of 2,57,997 voters had cast their vote, which accounted for 42.02 per cent of the total votes.

By 3 pm, 55.83 per cent voters had cast their ballot. The figure stood at 67.73 per cent at 5 pm. The villages and colonies, which account for 57 per cent of the total votes, wore a festive look with residents thronging at the polling stations in large numbers.
BJP candidate Kirron Kher helps her 101-year-old father, Col Thakar Singh (retd), to a polling booth in Sector 8.
BJP candidate Kirron Kher helps her 101-year-old father, Col Thakar Singh (retd), to a polling booth in Sector 8. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari 

At polling stations in Dhanas, Maloya, Mauli Jagran and the Industrial Area, voters had to wait for long to cast their ballot. The polling percentage picked up as the day progressed.

Vehicles hired by political parties were seen dropping voters outside the polling booths. Markets and areas near the polling stations witnessed a large crowd enjoying the poll fever.

The candidates in the fray spent the day driving across different polling stations to mobilise party supporters and ensure that everything was in order. A total of 75 senior citizens availed of the facilities of pick and drop and wheelchairs provided by the UT Election Department.

e-poll monitoring system

The e-poll monitoring system introduced by the Election Department to view the updates of voting percentage turned out to be extremely slow. Till 10 pm, the website was showing only 57.63 per cent polling. The website was running at least six hours behind the voting schedule.

Polling continued till late evening

Voting at the polling booths in Dhanas, that has 28,721 votes, continued till late in the evening. Till 8.30 pm, there were around 200 people in the queue waiting for their turn to cast their ballot at a polling station in Dhanas Rehabilitation Colony.



Titbits of the poll scene

* Private vehicles and auto-rickshaws were used by politicians to bring voters to the polling booths, especially in colonies and villages.

* There was a shortage of drinking water in several polling booths in Mauli Jagran and Colony No. 4. Leaders had to arrange water tankers to meet the water crisis.

* Some voters in Ram Darbar, Mani Majra and Dhanas were unaware of the blue button on the EVM. The election staff had a tough time informing voters to press the blue button on the EVM to cast their vote.

* Voters, who reached the polling booths early in the morning in the hope of getting gifts from the Election Department, did not get anything as the proposal to give gifts was later rejected by the Administration.

* At several polling booths, even NSS volunteers were unaware of the services provided by the Election Department to the voters.

* As there were long queues in colonies and villages, some voters returned home without casting their vote.

* While political parties' volunteers got lunch on time, police officials posted in Hallo Majra and Ram Darbar had to wait for their lunch.

* Youngsters were seen clicking their pictures with ink on the index finger outside polling stations to upload them on social networking sites. 



First-time voters step out to be part of the change they want to see
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Sensing responsibility on their shoulders, many first-time voters flocked in large numbers to polling booths across the city to exercise their franchise for the Lok Sabha elections here today.

A wave of excitement was seen among the youth, many of whom said they were out to bring a change in the country’s political system.

“I missed my classes and college in Sonepat yesterday to reach the city a day before the polling to vote for a change. The youth today are more aware of their rights and want the country to develop,” said Sanyam Mittal, a first-time voter.

Emotions running high and a sense of achievement reflecting on their faces, a group of three friends, Jyoti, Vandhana and Madhu, said in unison, “We are proud voters of the country. We are not the ones who can be fooled with false promises and freebies. Though we are first-time voters, we did not feel nervous while casting our vote.”

Trying to step out of their families' influence, many young voters said, “We are not voting for the same candidate as our parents are since our expectations from the leaders are different from those of our family members. We are not loyalists of any party, but 'change makers' who want visionary leaders.”

Thrilled after casting his vote for the first time, Rishab Sachdeva said, “I voted for my city’s betterment and for a corrupt-free government that can ensure a bright and safe future for the youth.”

Feeling more connected with the democratic set-up of the country, another first-time voter, Anshuman Mohit Chaturvedi, said, “Participating in the formation of the next government in itself is a moment of pride for all citizens. I must admit I was a little nervous before casting my vote, but after getting the ink mark on my index finger, I felt I completed my duty as a responsible citizen.”

Young voters Hindveer Sodhi, Wazid Khan and Monica said, “We are not the ones who sit at home and whine about the political system; we are the ones who step out and shape the system by exercising our franchise.”

Ridhi Gupta, Sukriti Sharma and Pooja Rawat said, “Finally, we are contributing to the progress graph of our country. Immediately after voting, we shared our experiences on social networking sites and asked our friends to move out and be part of the change they want to see both at national and city levels.”



Long queues, water shortage inconvenience voters
Rajinder Nagarkoti & Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
As Chandigarh broke the record of the highest voter turnout today, voters faced inconvenience while exercising their franchise.

In several polling booths, especially those in colonies and villages, people faced inconvenience as officials of the UT Election Department took considerable time to scrutinise their documents before allowing them to cast their vote. Besides, faults in EVMs were also reported from various polling booths.

Sample this: Four poll officials first checked the documents of Kamal Sharma, a resident of Mauli Colony, at a polling booth in the colony. Thereafter, four election agents of main political parties also checked his name in the electoral list. When he was ready to cast his vote, some fault occurred in the EVM. After 10 minutes, the fault was rectified and Kamal finally managed to cast his vote.

This was not a solitary case. There were several others who faced similar problems. Pawan Kumar, who cast his ballot in Colony No. 4, said the process was so slow that he had to wait for around five hours to exercise his franchise. The server was slow, the EVM was not working properly; it was not easy to wait in long queues, he said.

Voters, who came to cast their ballot in Hallo Majra and Mani Majra, faced a lot of difficulty in parking their vehicles in the narrow lanes leading to the polling booths.

Several NSS volunteers at polling booths were unaware of their duties.

A majority of the polling booths on the periphery were short of drinking water. “The authorities should have done the ground work properly. Polling booths should have been allotted according to the voter strength of the area concerned. Waiting in long queues without water was not an easy task. Many voters left midway and chose to return in the evening to cast their ballot,” said Parkash Walia, a voter at Hallo Majra.
Sunita Rani of Ram Darbar said, "More EVMs should have been kept in polling booths, especially for women voters." 

Pradeep Sharma of Vikas Nagar commented, "Is se jaldi to Mansa Devi mandir mein number aa jata tha Navratri mele mein." 


Chandigarh Votes 2014

Peek-a-boo into Chandigarh’s election mood

Enthusiastic centenarians
Three centenarians of the city, Kirron Kher’s father Col Thakar Singh (retd) (101), Jamuna Devi Arora (101) and Sardar Singh (100), were excited to exercise their franchise

91-year-old collapses outside booth, dies
A 91-year-old man, Gobind Ram, collapsed outside a polling booth in Sector 41. He was rushed to the Emergency at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, on Thursday afternoon where he was declared brought dead. He was taken to the hospital in a PCR van. He died a natural death, said doctors at the hospital.

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal and his wife Madhu Bansal come out of a polling booth.
Sector 28
Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal and his wife Madhu Bansal come out of a polling booth. A Tribune photograph
BSP candidate Jannat Jahan with her husband Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq at a polling centre.
Sector 35
BSP candidate Jannat Jahan with her husband Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq at a polling centre. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

AAP candidate Gul Panag at a polling booth.
Sector 56
AAP candidate Gul Panag at a polling booth. A Tribune photograph
A first-time voter shows her inked finger after casting her vote.
A first-time voter shows her inked finger after casting her vote. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

First-time voters click ‘selfies’
In a rush to update the social media about their experience of casting vote for the first time, many voters across the city were seen clicking selfies of their inked-index fingers and uploading them on social networking sites. The voters were also seen doing all this on the polling booths itself. The youths were enthusiastic about informing their friends.

Precautionary measures at Dhanas
At a polling booth in Dhanas, voters were not allowed to leave the station until the ink mark on their index finger dried up. It was being done to ensure that the same set of voters did not cast their vote at the previous polling booth in Colony No. 5. 

Bhagat Singh being helped to a polling booth.
Sector 45
Bhagat Singh being helped to a polling booth. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan
Sector 50
Sector 50
Jamuna Devi Arora (101) comes out of a polling booth along with her son. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Bees attack police personnel
A Home Guards volunteer, Rajesh, and two police personnel, Sunita and Gurvinder, were rushed to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, on Thursday afternoon after a swarm of bees attacked them at a polling booth in Sector 18. They were on poll duty. The patients were given first-aid and discharged after a few hours of admission. 

Voters fight their way through a gate at a polling station in Indira Colony, Mani Majra.
Voters fight their way through a gate at a polling station in Indira Colony, Mani Majra. Tribune Photo: S Chandan



Polling largely peaceful in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
With over 4,000 UT police personnel remaining on its toes throughout the day, polling largely remained peaceful in the city. Though minor scuffles between supporters of rival parties were witnessed at some polling stations, including one in Sector 22, the police intervened and resolved the matter.

Of 519 polling booths in the city, 167 were declared sensitive. Besides the UT police, paramilitary forces also remained on guard at sensitive booths.

Residents wait for their turn at a polling booth in Sector 35
Residents wait for their turn at a polling booth in Sector 35. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

BJP worker held with liquor in Sector 9

In a crackdown on the sale of illegal liquor on the polling day, the UT police caught a BJP worker, identified as Gajinder Singh of Sector 9, with liquor.

Gajinder was arrested under Section 188 of the IPC (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) after it was suspected that he was selling or distributing liquor in his Duster car near Carmel Convent School in Sector 9.

Inspector Harjit Kaur, SHO, Sector 3 police station, said they recovered three bottles of liquor, two of Officers’ Choice and one of Aristocrat, from the car.

Hotel manager booked for serving liquor

In another incident, the police arrested Gurmeet Singh, aka Mehndi, a manager at Hotel Royal Plaza, Daria village in Industrial Area Phase-I, for possessing liquor in quantity above the permissible limit. A total of nine cartons, 26 bottles and 26 quarters of IMFL were recovered from his possession.

A case was registered at the Industrial Area police station. Later, the accused was released on regular bail.

Car driver of Kirron’s father challaned

While returning home after casting his vote, BJP candidate Kirron Kher's father Thakar Singh Sandhu’s car was issued a challan by the UT traffic police in Sector 8.

Rupinderjeet Singh, the car driver, was caught talking on mobile phone and not wearing a seat belt while driving. Thakar was inside the car at that time.



Pick-and-drop, Wheelchair facilities
Urban voters all praise for UT Election Department
 Unaware voters in colonies, villages miss out
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
While urban voters availed of and appreciated the facilities provided by the Election Department to physically challenged persons and senior citizens to commute between their respective polling stations and their homes, their counterparts in villages and colonies were bereft of the facilities.

In urban areas, 70 senior citizens and physically challenged voters availed of the pick-and-drop and wheelchair facilities, which were provided for the first time in the city.
Brij Mohan and his wife Poonam Rani head for a polling booth to cast their vote in Karsan, Ram Darbar, on Thursday.
Brij Mohan and his wife Poonam Rani head for a polling booth to cast their vote in Karsan, Ram Darbar, on Thursday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Clueless about the facilities, Ram Rachpal (83), a resident of Ram Darbar Phase II, who is suffering from a knee problem, reached the polling centre on a two-wheeler driven by his son. His son and a neighbour assisted him to reach the polling booth to cast his vote. Ram Rachpal said he was not aware of the facility available for people like him.

Rachpal’s is not an isolated case but senior citizens and physically challenged voters in Ram Darbar, Mauli Jagran, Colony No. 4, Dadumajra and Dhanas too were unaware of the facilities provided the UT Election Department. They were brought to their respective polling booths on bicycle, two-wheeler or auto-rickshaw by their kin.

However, Parkash Singh (90) and his wife Prabha Rani (89), who is bed-ridden, felt pride using the facility as they did not have to seek anyone’s assistance to cast their votes.

Sundar Dass (85) and Gulab Devi (80) appreciated the efforts of 82-year-old Nirmla Kumari for pressing the Election Department to extend the facility to the aged and the disabled in the city.’

Inconvenience to senior citizens at polling station

Nominated councillor DS Sandhu said as two of the polling booths at Government High School, Sector 35, were located on the first floor, many senior citizens, who were unable to climb stairs, had to return home without casting their votes.

As there were no separate queues for senior citizens, they had to stand in long queues to wait for their turn to cast vote.

Helpline flooded with calls

* The UT Election Department’s helpline for registration of requests for pick-and-drop and wheelchair facilities was flooded with calls on Thursday.

* While many voters rued that their calls were not connected, others complained that even after contacting election officers thrice, they failed to get the facility.

* A resident of Dadumajra, Mohammad Nasif, who underwent an operation two days ago, tried the helpline number for about five hours but the number remained busy. Subsequently, he called up his brother, who resides in Colony No. 4, to take him to the polling station.



Show inked finger, get discounts at hotels, hospitals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Voters will be able to avail discounts on bills at restaurants and hotels from April 11 to 13 by showing their inked fingers and also their voter IDs.

Since most of the eating joints were closed for most time of the day today, there were no customers seeking discounts. A total of 40 hotels and restaurants will offer discounts ranging from 10 per cent o 25 per cent over the three days.

Two voters turned up to avail an offer of free blood sugar and cholesterol tests at Devgun Diagnostic Centre in Sector 31. At Grewal Eye institute, free eye check-up facility will be available on April 11. Nearly all private medical establishments, registered with the Indian Medical Association will provide discounts on services for a week, starting April 11.



Families divided over choice of candidates
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
In a paradigm shift, polling in the city brought out a clear divide in the decision-making structure of families. Individual preference for candidates and parties ruled as differences in party agendas coupled with new faces and new parties emerged on the poll scene this time.

Sample this: There were four voters in the family of Narinder Singh (name changed), a resident of Sector 45. While Narinder and his wife were committed to continuing with their tradition of voting for the Congress, his son was influenced by the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Narinder’s daughter-in-law differed and voted for the new comer in the poll field - Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Sanjeev Rishi with his family after casting their vote on Thursday.
Sanjeev Rishi with his family after casting their vote on Thursday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

The divide was visible among several other families. While refusing to disclose whom they voted for, a Sector 35-based family shared the reasons for variation in their choices. Baldev Garg, a chartered accountant, said, “I am fed up with corruption.” His son Ritesh Garg said, “Corruption in government or political parties is not new. It is a matter of chance that some got exposed while others did not. I wish to elect a younger and fresh candidate who is detached from the orthodox politics.” Baldev’s wife Santosh Garg said public representatives should be approachable and she voted for the one who appeared most humble to her.

“When we were young, we used to go by our father’s choice. But the trend is changing now. Children are more independent and matured these days,” said Sanjeev Rishi, a government official. “For several years, I have been voting for the same party and my wife too votes for the candidate of my choice. My daughter voted for the first time today and was quite excited about it. Though I tried my best, she was firm on her choice of candidate,” Rishi said.

“Our archaic system needs to be changed. For example, till date, we do not have a facility of online voting as a modern thought process is missing among the old-generation leaders,” said Rishi’s daughter Ritika.



NRIs travel to city to exercise their franchise
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) cast their vote as the city went to polls today. Taking leave from work and spending money on travel-tickets, a number of them could be seen standing in queues at polling booths today.

Apart from ensuring good governance for their families in India, these voters shared a variety of reasons for travelling to India to exercise their franchise.

SC Dutta’s family came from the US specially to cast vote.
SC Dutta’s family came from the US specially to cast vote. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

"We Indians should be proud to be a part of the democratic setup. People in countries like Ukraine have been shedding blood to get their right to vote. We are the largest democracy. We should vote to have good governance," said Aalok Mehta (34), working as a general manager with Laerdal Global Health in Singapore.

"It annoys me when officials working in my company, belonging to different countries, criticize India’s slow development and economic growth. My single vote can make a difference here," Mehta added.

Talking about scandals unearthed in the last three years in India, 72-year-old SC Dutta, a retired Indian Air Force officer, who spends a major part of the year in the USA with his son, said, "When I was there, every second day we would hear about a new scandal. I spent 40 years in the defence services in India and feel we need to have good governance, now. I have come to India to vote for the faujis’ (defence personnel) welfare," Dutta said, who has his residence in Sector 44.

While Aalok travelled from Singapore, his sister Suchita who works with the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees came from Delhi to Chandigarh to vote for a stable government at the Centre.

Dr Neeraj Gupta, transfusion medicine, JP Panth Hospital, New Delhi, came to exercise his franchise in Panchkula. “He said voting is a right as well as a duty. The masses should vote as it strengthens the democracy.”



Agitations, allegations mar elections
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 10
Protests, allegations and counter allegations, snags in electronic voting machines marred the Lok Sabha elections in Panchkula and Kalka segments of the Ambala parliamentary constituency today.

Up in arms against political parties and the district administration for ignoring their areas and poor basic civic amenities, residents of Tikkar Tal village near Morni boycotted the elections. The villagers remained firm on their decision even after the district election officer (DEO), Dr SS Phulia, rushed to the village and tried pacifying them. His efforts failed to yield results. Similarly, scores of Rampur Siyuri village residents lodged their

protest by raising anti-government slogans for shifting their polling station to Labour Colony in Chandimandir.

A few of them later changed their mind after leaders from different political parties approached

them saying the booth would be set up in the village during the Assembly elections.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) levelled serious allegations against workers of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for violating the model code of conduct by demonstrating dummy EVMs outside polling booths in Bhainsa Tibba, Saketri and various other villages in rural areas.

Accusing a police party, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula, of forcing shopkeepers to close their establishments, the latter organised a protest and raised anti-police slogans.

In Raipur Rani, the presiding officer and other employees on election duty were found using mobile phones.

While lined up to vote, scores of voters were put to inconvenience after the polling staff at Bhainsa Tibba village, reportedly suspended the polling process to have their lunch. Facing harassment, certain voters

were forced to quit voting.

Snags developed in electronic voting machines at Government Senior Secondary School, Morni, Government Senior Secondary School, Pinjore, and Bhuddanpur during the mock poll. The machines were replaced with new ones. 



Two die in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Two students died in a road accident after their bike rammed into the ISBT roundabout in Sector 17, here, yesterday night.

The youths, identified as Sushil and Rahul from Shimla, died on the spot. They were studying in a private university and were staying in a rented accommodation in Mani Majra. Both students were 25 years of age.

The incident took place yesterday night when their motorcycle skidded and hit the roundabout. Both of them suffered critical injuries. They died at a hospital.

Inspector Dilsher Singh, SHO, Sector 17 police station, said they had initiated inquest proceedings in the case as no other vehicle was involved in the accident.



688 polling booths for Dera Bassi, Kharar, SAS Nagar
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 10
For the Lok Sabha elections to be held on April 30, there will be 688 polling booths in the Dera Bassi, Kharar and SAS Nagar segments, for which 756 EVMs will be provided.

This was stated by district electoral officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu at the first round of the computerised randomisation of EVMs in the presence of representatives of political parties at the District Administrative complex here.

Sidhu said the EVMs would be sent to the polling booths after thorough checking by the technical teams formed by the Chief Election Commission. For 241 polling booths of Dera Bassi, 265 EVMs would be sent and for 226 polling booths of Kharar, there would be 248 EVMs. In the SAS Nagar segment, 243 EVMs would be provided for 221 polling booths.

He said to prevent any tampering with the EVMs, the Election Commission had decided to use the process of randomisation of the machines to avoid pre-programming in favour of any particular candidate. The EVM randomisation procedure was a precautionary measure to ensure that nobody knew beforehand the constituency or polling station to which a specific EVM would be sent or used at.

Sidhu said BLOs at the booth level would provide training for voting through dummy machines so that voters did not face any problem on the polling day.

Regarding the security arrangements, he said preparations on this front had been finalised. The polling stations had been categorised as normal, sensitive and hypersensitive.

The district electoral officer appealed to the candidates and representatives of political parties to not to use any kind of abusive language. The DEO also advised them to avoid objectionable speeches.



ambala votes 2014
Less hustle, more hassle in Panchkula
  While 61. 9% voters exercise their right to vote in town, 69.2% get inked in Kalka; campaigns prove futile 
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service
Voters line up at a polling booth in Sector 4; and (right) a visually impaired woman on her way to a booth at Sector 19, Panchkula, on Thursday.
Voters line up at a polling booth in Sector 4; and (right) a visually impaired woman on her way to a booth at Sector 19, Panchkula, on Thursday. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, April 10
Efforts put in by the Election Department proved futile as only 61.9 per cent of voters turned up to exercise their franchise at Panchkula today. In Kalka, the voter turnout was 69.2 per cent. Election campaigns failed to make any difference as in the 2009 elections. The voter turnout in Panchkula was 57.7 per cent.

The Kalka constituency witnessed a good turnout this elections. In the last Lok Sabha poll, 61.97 per cent of voters had exercised their right.

As many as 1,20,188 persons out of 1,94,080 cast their vote in Panchkula while 1,08,006 out of 1,56,178 voted in Kalka. The number of voters in Panchkula and Kalka was 3, 50,258. The voter turnout in the Ambala constituency was 70.9 per cent.

The polling went off peacefully, with as many as 1,200 police personnel and two companies of the Gujarat Border Wing, deployed at sensitive areas.

Seeing tents of a political party pitched near Government High School in Sector 19, Assistant Commissioner of Police Mamta Sauda got them removed. Police Commissioner Ajay Singhal visited booths set up in hypersensitive areas. The location of police personnel was being tracked through the GPS.

"The GPS was installed in 60 vehicles. This helped track the response time of patrolling parties," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashwin Shenvi.

Out of the total 375 booths, 180 were set up in Panchkula and 195 in Kalka.

Security up

As the counting will take place on May 16, all electronic voting machines have been kept in BEL Colony at Sector 14. Security has been heightened in the colony. CCTV cameras have also been installed there.


As many as 1,20,188 persons out of 1,94,080 cast their vote in Panchkula while 1,08,006 out of 1,56,178 voted in Kalka. The number of voters in Panchkula and Kalka was 3, 50,258. The voter turnout in the Ambala constituency was 70.9 per cent.

Webcasting fizzles out

Webcasting did not work at a number of polling booths. Poor connectivity affected its working.



Two fake voters arrested
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 10
The Panchkula Police arrested two fake voters this evening. The accused, identified as Deep Singh and Sam Thapa, were found casting fake votes at a booth in Sector 19, Panchkula.

While Deep Singh hails from Punjab, Sam Thapa belongs to Lucknow.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Mamta Sauda caught the duo casting fake votes. Police Commissioner Ajay Singhal said they were investigating the matter.

A case under Section 171f (punishment for undue influence or personation at election, 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation at election) and 511 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Sector 20 police station.

Residents said despite bringing the matter to the notice of officials, no action was taken against other fake voters. 

Number of voters

The number of voters in Panchkula and Kalka in 2009 was 2.48 lakh and this year, it was 3,50,258.

Discounts to encourage voting

To ensure good turnout, the district administration launched various campaigns. Banners were put up at various places in the town. Residents Welfare Associations were roped in to promote voting. Hotels and restaurants were asked to offer discounts up to 40 per cent. Only 7,135 youngsters cast their vote on Thursday. 



Elderly, physically challenged made to suffer in P’kula
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 10
Differently abled, visually impaired and elderly persons had it the toughest today. Standing in queues to cast their vote, not even a single official turned up to guide them.

At most of the polling booths, they were made to wait. Many had to go back home as nobody came forward to help them.

"Election officials did not provide any facilities at the polling booths. They even failed to arrange wheelchairs. Polio-afflicted Hemraj Sharma, who resides in Sector 21 of Panchkula, said, "I had to wait for hours together."

A few elderly persons at a booth in Satluj Public School (junior), Sector 2, got tired and sat on benches meant for tiny tots.

"An official told us that the elderly and physically challenged need not wait in queues. But the ground reality is throwing up a different picture," said 80-year-old Rishi Pal.

Two visually impaired persons in Sector 17 had to call their family members to help them vote.

Davinder Mahajan, president, Residents Welfare Association, Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4, said.


A number of voters had to return disappointed as election officials did not let them vote. Ramesh Pal and his wife Vijay Lakshmi, who had gone to Sector 19 to exercise their franchise, were told that their names did not figure on the voter list. A rehri-puller was also sent back home. Many village residents did not know that they could use identity cards to cast their vote. 

Complaint against INLD

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) levelled allegations against workers of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for violating the model code of conduct by demonstrating dummy EVMs outside polling booths in Bhainsa Tibba, Saketri and various other villages in rural areas. In a complaint filed with the chief electoral officer, Haryana, Shrikant Walgad, the AAP alleged that the INLD was trying to woo voters at various polling stations, especially in rural areas and colonies. The party also sought action against the INLD. District election officer Dr SS Phulia said he had directed sector magistrates to submit a report.

Candidates on their toes

* Candidates in the fray for the Ambala Lok Sabha seat and their supporters kept pacifying protesters throughout the day.

* After visiting sensitive and hypersensitive polling booths in Kalka and Panchkula segments in the morning, Dr SS Phulia, DEO, along with Manita Malik, ARO, Kalka, and Gurmeet Singh, Panchkula, went to Government Girls College and BEL Colony in Sector 14.

* Accompanied by his wife Anjli Bansal, Panchkula MLA DK Bansal cast his vote at a polling booth set up in Government School 12-A on Thursday.



Voters voice anger 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula/Kalka, April 10
Resentment prevailed among voters who had to return home without exercising their right to franchise. Col (retd) AK Sharma, a resident of Sector 21, Panchkula, was surprised to find his name missing from the voter list at a polling booth at Government Primary School, Sector 21.

Accompanied by his wife and daughters, Sharma lamented that they were carrying their voter cards but the presiding officer did not let them vote. Sharma was told that his name did not figure on the voter list.

“I tried contacting the Deputy Commissioner but could not get through to him. Then I sent him a message requesting him to intervene but to no avail,” he said.

Shilpa and Narinder, who had gone to Booth No.17 in Bar village, were not allowed to vote. Some other voters at Booth No. 24 in Naggal Bhaga village near Kalka had to return home disappointed.



Orientation programme

An orientation programme was organised at Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase II, Mohali, for kindergarten and primary classes in two separate shifts. The students welcomed the parents with a melodious song. Anshul, Pranav, Samar, Mehak, Harjot and Palak from Classes III to IV presented an item, “show and tell”, in which they demonstrated their oratory skills depicting the qualities of their school, the principal and the teachers. The parents were told about the teaching methodology through a power-point presentation. Some rules and regulations of the school were also discussed with the parents. Principal Ranjeet Bedi addressed the parents and thanked them for attending the programme.

Dental check-up camp

An awareness-cum-dental check-up camp was organised by Avence Dental Clinic for the students of AKSIPS-65 Smart School on Thursday. Dr Mohit and Dr Rosy told the students about the dental hygiene and the correct way to brush teeth.

Workshop held

Eicher School, Parwanoo, hosted a workshop in collaboration with the Action for Ability and Development in Inclusion (AADI) Group on its campus. G Syamala, Renu Anuj and Divya Jalan were the resource persons on the occasion. The organisers said the programme threw light on inclusive growth in schools. With the collaborated efforts of the AADI Group, teachers were trained in diverse educational skills to be implemented in schools. - TNS



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