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ludhiana votes 2014
Ludhiana records 70.22% voting, up 5.45%
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

(Clockwise from top) Voters wait for their turn at Lohara village on Wednesday; elderly persons at a polling station; and women show their voter identity cards at Government School in Lohara village. tribune photos: himanshu mahajan

Ludhiana, April 30
The Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency recorded 70.22 per cent voting, marking an increase of 5.45 per cent from the 2009 Lok Sabha polls during which the voter turnout was 64.77 per cent.

Among the nine Assembly constituencies in the Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency, the Dakha Assembly constituency recorded the highest voter turnout of 76.40 per cent, followed by the Gill constituency with 74.05 per cent voting.

Three Assembly constituencies, Dakha, Gill and Jagraon, recorded more than 70 per cent voting. In these Assembly segments (rural), the legislators are from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) party. Akali Dal candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali is the legislator from Dakha.

In the 2009 polls, too, Jagraon and Dakha had recorded more than 70 per cent voting.

The lowest turnout was reported from the Ludhiana South Assembly constituency. Independent candidate Simarjit Singh Bains' brother Balwinder Singh Bains is the legislator from Ludhiana South. However, Ludhiana South recorded an impressive 9.88 per cent increase in voter turnout compared to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Compared to the urban Assembly segments in Ludhiana, the rural constituencies registered a higher voter turnout, much like the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The Atam Nagar Assembly constituency, from where Independent candidate Simarjit Singh Bains is the legislator, recorded 68.71 per cent voting, an increase of 9.4 per cent as compared to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The voter turnout in the Ludhiana Central, Ludhiana West and Ludhiana North Assembly segments averaged at 69.06 per cent. These three Assembly constituencies have Congress MLAs.

As many as 22 candidates are in the fray for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, though the main contestants were Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu and Akali Dal-BJP candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali, apart from HS Phoolka from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Independent candidate Simarjit Singh Bains. 

2014 Lok Sabha polls

Constituency Turnout

Ludhiana Central 69.90%

Ludhiana West 69.50%

Ludhiana East 69.70%

Ludhiana North 67.78%

Ludhiana South 65%

Atam Nagar 68.71%

Dakha 76.40%

Gill 74.05%

Jagraon 71%

2009 LS polls

Ludhiana Central 65.59%

Ludhiana West 62.80%

Ludhiana East 61.25%

Ludhiana North 63.69%

Ludhiana South 55.12%

Atam Nagar 59.31%

Dakha 72.57%

Gill 68.54%

Jagraon 70.13% 

DC plays motivator

To encourage people to cast vote, DEO-cum-DC Rajat Aggarwal, sent SMSes which read: "Indian soldiers are braving bullets on border for us. You must brave the hot weather for your country. Step out. Vote you must."


Indelible ink fails to leave its mark
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
The indelible ink mark, which is the proof that a voter has cast his vote, was easily removed with the nail-paint remover (acetone/thinner) by a number of voters. However, some of them said a light mark appeared after a few hours.

The District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Rajat Aggarwal, said all the material was supplied to them by the Election Commission. "There is a centre at Patiala from where the indelible ink was provided to all the districts. And it was supplied by the Election Commission," said Aggarwal.

Allaying fears of multiple voting by a person, he said: "One has to cast vote at the allocated polling centre and before casting vote, he needs to put his signatures too. It is simply not possible to cast illegal vote even if the ink mark has been removed with a remover," said Aggarwal.

Meanwhile, Reena Malhotra, a resident, said she got the ink removed with acetone after an hour. "Earlier, I used to remove it with thinner or acetone and it would take a few days to completely remove the mark. But this time, it is almost gone within an hour," she added.

Supriya, a first-time voter, said: "I know I have voted and there was no need to show off the ink mark. I was able to remove it with the nail-paint remover but by the evening, a light mark appeared on the finger," said Supriya.

According to the website of the Government of India's Press Information Bureau, "It is not ordinary ink. Once it is applied on a finger, the mark remains for a few months".

The particular ink is supplied to the Election Commission of India by Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited. The company is based in Mysore. It is the only company in India that has been authorised to produce indelible ink, which is used in elections to prevent people from voting multiple times”.



60 EVMs malfunction
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Polling was stopped midway for a few minutes at some stations after around 40 electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioned. However, the district administration immediately got them replaced.

Reports of EVM malfunction were received from Shaheed-E-Azam Sukhdev Thapar Government Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, Chand Theatre area, Barewal and some areas of Dugri.

It was around 3 pm when the EVMs stopped functioning at Shaheed-e-Azam Sukhdev Thapar Government Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar. Although there were only six or seven voters in the booth at that time, polling had remained suspended for about half an hour.

In the Chand Theatre area, Assistant Returning Officer Kuldeep Singh said: "An EVM developed some problem. But we replaced it with a new one after a few minutes." DEO-cum-DC Rajat Aggarwal said: "We got all the EVMs checked before their distribution to polling parties and these were in working order. These are very sturdy yet being electronic equipment, these sometimes develop snags due to transportation from far-off places like Orissa and Karnataka. We had mechanics provided by the manufacturing company. They rectified the faults and saved the recorded data. The poll process had remained suspended for a few minutes but we made sure that all voters, who had entered polling stations by 6 pm, cast their vote."



Party agents violate code 
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Polling agents violated the model code of conduct with impunity today. The code says: "Any political party is allowed to arrange a table and two chairs for its two polling agents beyond the radius of 200 metres from a polling booth." Contrary to it, eight or 10 chairs, along with three or four tables were seen at many booths where the polling agents of different parties were sitting, keeping an eye on the election process.

At around 8 am, there were only two polling agents at many places. But as the time passed, more chairs and agents occupied the space near the tables. One of the agents said: "We worked together for our candidate and today it is the last day, so we want to be together here. We are not disturbing anyone."

Election Tehsildar Sukhdev Singh Bhangu said: "It is a sheer violation of the model code of conduct.”

What ARO says

Kuldeep Singh, Assistant Returning Officer, Ludhiana Central Vidhan Sabha Constituency, said: "I kept a strict vigil on my area. In the beginning, there were two polling agents of each political party. But as the polling progressed, more agents started joining them with additional chairs and tables."



Clashes mar peaceful polling
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Apart from clashes at a few polling stations, polling passed of peacefully in the Ludhiana constituency.

Tension prevailed in the Kot Mangal Singh area after the supporters of Independent candidate Simarjit Bains and SAD/BJP candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali clashed. The incident took place when SAD leader Gurdeep Singh Gosha, along with his supporters, and Ajaypreet Singh, son of Simarjit Bains, crossed paths at Kot Mangal Singh.

Bains supporters alleged Gosha and his supporters hurled abuses at their workers near the Nirmal Palace area in Gyaspura. The Bains supporters said Gosha was planning to pick a fight with Simarjit Bains’ son with the intention of implicating the Bains brothers (Simarjit and his elder brother Balwinder) in a criminal case.

On the other hand, Gosha alleged the Bains supporters were ferrying residents to polling stations and distributing money among voters.

Sources said Gosha and his supporters where allegedly manhandled by the Bains' supporters. Ayali reached at the spot along with his supporters. However, soon Balwinder Bains reached the spot and defused the situation.

The police dispersed both the groups. Later, both the groups lodged their complaints with election observers.

On the Kakowal road, the police resorted to a mild cane charge to disperse the supporters of Simarjit Bains and Manpreet Ayali, who had reportedly clashed outside AVM School.

Another clash was reported in the Ayali Khurd area where Congress supporters Kulwant Singh and SAD supporter Avtar Singh exchanged blows.

Both suffered injuries. The police detained both of them. Later, the duo was booked under sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC.

Reports of minor scuffles between groups of supporters were reported from Amarpura, Sarabha Nagar and the Shimlapuri area.



Students man gate at polling booth
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Contrary to the orders of the district administration, school students were deputed to open the main gate for voters at a polling station at Shaheed Paramjeet Singh Government High School Village, Gill.

The students, who were manning the gate, said the school headmistress assigned them this duty. More than five students, who were in school uniform, said they were not associated with the NCC or the NSS.

On the day of polling, the schools are closed and there is no prevision to depute students on any duty.

Dr Charanjit Singh, District Education Officer, said: "We have instructed the Class IV employees to stay in the school to help the polling staff. The gatekeepers of the schools and Class VI employees were deputed at the school gates. Students cannot be deputed for any of such task. I will investigate the matter. 



NRIs, too, hooked to polling
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Not only local residents, those staying far away from the country, too, were keen on getting updates about the polling today.

Social networking sites were flooded with discussions on the ongoing elections, with non-resident Indians (NRIs), too, contributing to the buzz, while encouraging their family and friends back home to vote.

“Discussions on social networking sites revolve around elections, these days. Our NRI relatives are also keen on knowing the updates. We discuss about the prospects of various parties and the candidate who deserves our vote,” said Jagteshwar Singh, a city resident.

“NRIs have been encouraging us to vote,” said another city resident, Shabnam Sinha. She said her Indian friends and relatives staying abroad put up motivating messages on social networking sites to ensure people back home vote.

Names of various groups on social networking sites were also changed for the day to encourage people to vote. These included “Go out and vote”, “Be responsible citizens”, “Vote for change”, “Get your finger inked” and “Vote and smile”.



Making their first move
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Jubilant faces of first-time voters coming out of polling booths could be witnessed across the city. The initiative of the district administration to give appreciation certificates to these youngsters added to their delight.

Terming the scene at a polling station “a fair of democracy”, one such voter, Harpreet Kaur, said she was excited to vote.

Nitika Bhalla, another first-time voter, said: "It was a great experience to cast my vote. I was quite excited about it for past few days. Today, I found that the staff on election duty were giving appreciation certificates to first-time voters. Though, I had to struggle a bit to get my certificate, I feel glad after having it in my hands.”

Lovedeep Singh, who came all the way from Delhi to vote for the first time, said: "I feel it is very important to exercise our franchise. If I want a change in the system, I have to make some effort.”

Most of the first-time voters said they voted without being influenced by their parents. Jasmeet Singh, one such voter, said: “I did not ask my parents or anyone else to decide which candidate to vote for. I am mature enough to decide my choice. It was a nice experience, which became nicer with the poll staff awarding me an appreciation certificate.”

Another youngster, Jaskaran Singh, said: “Today, it is very hot and I had to stand in a queue for a long time. But I have no regrets, as I feel it is important to vote.”

‘Wonderful to experience democratic process’

Khanna/Doraha: Youngsters who voted in surrounding areas were equally excited. Around 28 such first-time voters were given appreciation letter at a booth in Majra village near Khanna. Lovepreet Singh, a Class XII student, said everyone should vote to bring a change in the system. Manpreet Kaur and Lakhwinder Kaur, other young first-time voters, said they were proud to have voted. The youths said they hoped the winning candidate would look into issues related to them, including education and job opportunities. Shubham Gilhotra and Neha Verma, first-time voters from Doraha, were also excited after exercising their voting right. “It was a wonderful feeling to see and experience the democratic process for the first time,” said Neha. — Tribune reporters



Confusion prevails over certificates
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Making a dent in District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal’s initiative to encourage first-time voters to exercise their franchise, the polling staff at some centres failed to give appreciation certificates to youngsters who voted today.

At some polling centres, first-time voters complained of there being no clarity over which official to contact for getting the certificate issued. Presiding officers at some centres, too, were not aware of the provision.

An undergraduate student, who voted for the first time at a centre in Barewal, said: "The polling staff enquired about my age and class besides checking my voter identity card, but did not issue any appreciation certificate, as promised."

Another youngster, who voted in the Ludhiana (West) constituency, said: “I thought I will get the certificate while getting the ink mark on my finger. But, it was not issued."

The 22-year-old first-time voter said on enquiring about the certificate, he was told he was not eligible for it.

Meanwhile, smiles were visible on the face of first-timer voters who received the certificate. Showing her appreciation certificate, Isherjot Kaur, who voted at Lodhi Club, said, “Here is the proof that I participated in the biggest exercise of democracy in the world.”

Throwing light on the issue, the DEO-cum-DC said: "We had informed all presiding officers to issue appreciation certificates to first-time voters. Yesterday, however, some officers were changed, due to which confusion prevailed at some centres.”

Aggarwal said when he came to know that some presiding officers were claiming that the certificate would be issued after getting his signature, he immediately intervened to ensure that first-time voters got the certificate.

The Deputy Commissioner said the certificates were issued to voters between the age of 18 to 19 years and to those who voted for the first time.

“However, those youngsters who were eligible to vote in previous elections, but did not, are not being issued these certificates,” he said. The DC said certificates had been issued to most of the eligible voters. He said the remaining youngsters, if eligible, would be issued the certificate after going through the data.



Bakeries dish out special cakes
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
On the day of polling, local bakeries came out with cakes bearing party symbols and candidates’ pictures to attract supporters across the political spectrum.

Also, to encourage voters, these outlets offered discounts and goodies to those who showed their inked finger after voting.

Swastika Dutta Sobti, owner of Cake Square, said: “Catching the pulse of consumers this election season we came out with innovative cakes. Also, we are offering 10 per cent discount to those who show their inked finger. Those who uploaded their ‘selfie’ with the inked finger on our website were given free cookies and cup cakes. It was a gesture aimed at encouraging people to vote.”

Shaan, a youngster, who bought one such cake, said: “I could not resist myself from buying a cake that advocated people to ‘Go out and vote’. This was the first time that I voted and there is no better way to celebrate it than by cutting this cake.”

Another resident, an ardent supporter of Aam Aadmi Party, said: “Finally, the polling was over today. After months of hard work, we thought of relaxing in the evening. We were in for a surprise when one of my friends bought a cake with party candidate HS Phoolka’s picture on it. It was a sweet gesture.”



Kids, elderly excited alike

Doraha: Children were seen accompanying their grandparents to polling booths in the area today. “It is exciting to watch the electoral process, about which we had only read in books,” said Sumit, one such child.

The excitement was no less among elderly people. Dhanti, who is reportedly 112 years and seven months old, was brought to a polling booth at Jugiana village, as she insisted on it since early morning.

“How could I miss this chance, as I know every vote counts,” she said. — OC



Polling remains peaceful in region
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Ahmedgarh /Payal/ Raikot, April 30
Amid allegations of large-scale rigging by SAD during the Lok Sabha elections in the region, polling passed off peacefully with no untoward incident reported till the conclusion of polling.

Around 75 per cent voters, including a record number of women, youths and teenagers, cast their ballot amid tight security arrangements.

Minor scuffles were reported from some booths and villages that had not been declared sensitive by the administration.

Independent candidates and those supported by the Congress, however, accused the polling staff of favouring the SAD candidates. The SAD workers and leaders denied the allegations.

At Lohgarh village, too, commotion prevailed for a long time when some polling agents and the staff objected the entry of some voters in an inebriated condition.

In separate cases of bogus voting, some persons were detained, but later let off, by villagers following the intervention of senior Akali and Congress leaders.

On its part, the District Administration had made elaborate arrangements to prevent any untoward incident.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Gill, Gurpreet Singh Sikand, DSP Amargarh Gurmit Singh and DSP Payal Balwinder Bhikhi who supervised security arrangements at over one hundred localities falling under Ludhiana , Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur constituencies said situation had remained tense at some politically sensitive localities.

“However, no untoward incident took place at any of the villages as the police had taken preventive measures at and near polling booths,” said Gurpreet Sikand.

The Circle officers said beat officers had been advised to maintain vigil till the declaration of results.

The police also remained on toes at Lohgarh, Brahampur, Chhapar, Sihar, Barundi, Latala, Kilaraipur, Kanganwal, Rohira, Lohatbaddi and Malaudh villages known for factionalism.

Probably due to efforts made by the Administration to sensitise people about their right to vote, polling started early in the morning. About 20 per cent polling had been reported from majority of the booths at towns and surrounding locality by 10 am. However, it slowed down with the rise of temperature and again picked up in the evening.


*n Elderly voters were unaware of the way to use the EVMs.

* In a gross violation of the code of conduct, candidates and their supporters carried voters on their vehicles. There were instances when more than one vehicle sent by a contesting candidate reached the doorsteps of large families, and drivers had to return disappointed as the voters preferred to reach the polling booth on their own. n Contrary to earlier trend, shopkeepers and artisans in large villages kept their establishments closed.

* Alluring voters with money and goods took place openly during the campaigning. Slips signed by supporters of candidates and low denomination currency notes of particular series were used to distribute consumer goods, ration and liquor from designated shops and vends.

* Members of the polling staff who had preferred to stay with their relatives living in nearby towns had to cut a sorry figure on being late today as a majority of private buses did not ply on their routes.

Heavy voter turnout in neighbouring areas

Khanna: Heavy turnout was reported for Lok Sabha elections in Khanna police district today. As per Khanna SSP Harcharan Singh Bhullar about 75 per cent polling was reported in Khanna and about 77 per cent in Payal Sub-division. The SSP stated that the polling process passed off peacefully in the district. Tight security arrangements were made by the district police to deal with any situation and about 2,300 police personnel were pressed into service for fair and fearful elections. At Khamano, about 70 per cent voting was reported in the sub-division. As per DSP, Khamano, Ramandeep Singh no untoward incident was reported from the sub-division.

Also, no untoward incident was reported in Doraha and Sahnewal today. About 75.66 per cent of voters cast their vote in Doraha. Assistant Returning Officer and SDM, Payal, Ghanshaym Thori said the elections passed off peacefully.

At Sahnewal, 72.7 per cent of residents exercised their franchise. Sahnewal ACP Lakhvir Singh Tiwana said there were no reports of violence or booth capturing.

No untoward incident reported in Jagraon

Jagraon: The voting for the seventh round of the 16th Lok Sabha elections ended in a peaceful manner in Jagraon. More than 71 per cent voters exercised their voting right in Jagraon Vidhan Sabha constituency. The voter turnout was almost equal in rural and urban areas of the constituency.

The elections were held in a completely peaceful manner and there was no report of any kind of poll related violence during the elections. The police had made elaborate security arrangements in the area for conducting the elections in a peaceful manner.

A lot of enthusiasm was seen among the electorate, including women, to cast their votes during the elections. Voters from all age groups, be it the first timers or the elder ones, were seen standing in long queues at various polling booths across the constituency.


* Khanna: 75 pc

* Payal: 77 pc

* Khamano: 70 pc

* Doraha: 75.66 pc

* Sahnewal: 72.7 pc

* Jagraon: 71 pc



Social media encourages voters 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 30
Appearance of inked fingers on social media played an important role in enhancing poll percentage at local town and surrounding localities.

While some enthusiasts used laptops and visited cafes to upload images of their inked fingers others did the job from polling stations through their smart phones.

Though teenagers, voting first time were more enthusiastic about prompting others through the social media, elderly voters were no exception to the trend.

Acknowledging worth of the trend, Harjinder Pal Walia, chairman of the Global Punjab Foundation, said he too was prompted to rush to the polling station after he noticed an image of his younger son with an inked finger on a social media site.

“Perpetuating the novel initiative taken by my son I uploaded my picture showing an inked finger on my Facebook account,” said Walia claiming that some of his friends, who otherwise were not serious about their right to vote, ensured that their vote was cast by all means.

Some voters said they were enthused with the messages written by the ones who had uploaded the pictures.

‘Ek Nayee Subah Ka Agaz’ (onset of a new morning) by Mega Vajpayee, a school teacher, was liked my many users and some of them promised to contribute in the democracy of the nation.

“I have done my job, now it is your turn’ says a message by social activist Arvind Maudgil.

‘Vote Zarur Payo, mein vee paa ke ayan han’ (Do cast your vote, I have also returned after casting mine) Kulbhushan Garg and Jaspreet Ghaloti wrote for their friends. 



Poll code violations go unnoticed 
Despite directions issued by EC, dummy candidates remain absent 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 30
A battalion of dummy candidates for the Lok Sabha election remained conspicuous by their absence at almost all polling booths in this part of Malwa region falling under Ludhiana and Sangrur districts. This is in gross neglect of the model code of conduct and directions of the Election Commission (EC).

Investigations revealed that a majority of the candidates contesting election as Independents had concluded their political activities after lending their rights to major candidates sponsoring them.

There were others who allegedly realised the value of their investment by getting SAD and Congress activists as their polling agents today.

Though the unethical and undemocratic practices were quite visible, none of the micro observers reported this to the EC observers.

While EVMs for the Ludhiana, Fatehgarh and Sangrur constituencies bore names and symbols of 21, 16 and 21, 11 candidates, respectively, supporters of only SAD, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party candidates had set up booths outside polling stations in the area. At some places, CPI (M), BSP and some Independent candidates had also set up booths.

A visit to polling booths in the Raikot, Dakha, Gill, Payal and Amargarh Assembly constituencies revealed that none except one Independent candidate had got their agents appointed.

Some Independents for the Ludhiana LS constituency had deputed their agents in certain belts, but it seemed they were watching the interests of candidates launched by the major parties instead of being faithful to their legitimate candidates.

Though the EC had announced that it will take stern action against those violating norms, including filing dummy candidature to benefit official candidates, the menace seemed to be beyond the control of the authorities.

In-charges of almost all official candidates have started searching for a large number of polling and counting agents. Blank authorisation letters, signed by a few Independents enabled them to depute extra manpower.

Sources revealed that at least 40 dummy candidates had filed nomination papers from the Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur and Bathinda constituencies of Malwa region.



Old, but not tired, seeing a future desired
Scorching sun fails to come in the way of elderly as they make it a point to exercise their right
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
The city is in the throes of summer, still the elderly and physically challenged made it a point to go to polling stations and cast their vote.

The maximum temperature was 40 degree Celsius, but a large number of senior citizens and differentlyabled persons were seen at booths.

Finding it hard to breathe, 85-year-old Savitri Devi heaved a sigh of relief after casting her vote at Lodhi Club. Her grandson Jatinder Jain, who was on election duty, said: "My grandmother walks with a great difficulty and has breathing problem, but still she was adamant that she would cast her vote. She was happy after exercising her right." Holding his son's hand, 87-year-old Mahinder Singh was not bothered about the scorching heat. Before leaving the booth, he took a look at other voters standing in a queue.

Kammon, a senior citizen, was all smiles when other voters let her cast her vote first. She said: "I requested the polling staff to put up a tent outside the booth. The polling staff assured us of making the arrangement in half-an-hour."

Sitting under the shade, 88-year-old Dhanna Singh along with his 76-year-old wife Maniyari Kaur said,"The sweltering heat could not stop us from reaching the polling station at Nankana Sahib Public School, Gill Road. Karnail Kaur, a senior citizen, at Daba Road said, "I walk with the help of a stick. Nothing can come in my way, when it comes to exercising my right to vote."The physically challenged too were enthusiastic. Dalwinder Kaur, a young girl, reached Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School, Millar Ganj, to cast her vote. Sixty-five-year-old Parveen Gupta, who recently got her knees replaced, said, "I am not feeling up to the mark, but I could not stop myself from participating in the longest-ever elections." 


* A number of residents failed to cast their vote as they did not find their names on the voter list. Those having voter cards expressed their gripe outside polling stations.

* Migrant workers turned up in large numbers at polling stations. Long queues were witnessed in migrant-dominant areas. The workers, who have been living in miserable conditions, do not expect anything from candidates.



Supporters stumble upon novel ideas
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
BJP's prime ministerial pick Narendra Modi was not alone who was projecting the party symbol, supporters of almost all political parties were seen projecting their respective party symbols to woo voters.

At the Atam Nagar constituency, supporters of Akali detractor and Independent candidate Simarjit Bains were seen venturing around the polling booths located in the Advanced Training Centre (ATI) wearing T-shirts flashing the party symbol.

Neither the security personnel nor the election observers took action against the party supporters for wearing the T-shirts.

Sources in the Bains group said, "A majority of Bains supporters are still unaware of the party symbol. In order to insure that the voters could identify the party symbol we devised a novel way of wearing a T-shirt flashing the election symbol."

The SAD was mulling over taking up the matter with the Election Commission. Besides T-shirts, the party symbols were dotting vehicles ferrying the elderly and physically challenged.

Voters get VIP ride

Hundreds of vehicles were pressed into service to ferry voters to polling stations. For poor voters, who could never imagine sitting in swanky sports utility vehicles (SUVs), it was a dream come true. At the break of dawn, supporters of politicians started visiting the houses for poor residents and offered them a ride. Police sources said at some places, the Election Commission had taken note of the malpractice and action was being taken. 



Supermodel polling booths bowl over voters
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Efforts of the district administration fructified as voters were bowled over by arrangements at supermodel polling booths (90 and 91) set up at Ramgarhia Senior Secondary School, Millar Ganj.

A red carpet was rolled out to welcome voters. Supriya, a Class XII student, who accompanied her mother to the polling booth said,"The polling booth was spick-and-span. The booth was decked up like a venue for a function."

The booths looked different from others. A young voter at booth number 92 said, "I did not face any problem in locating the polling station as there was a sign board giving directions."

The booths were painted white, orange and blue. Chilled water was served to the voters. An air-conditioned rest room brought a smile on the faces of senior citizens.

Kuldeep Singh, Assistant Returning Officer, said,"All facilities were provided to the voters. Help desks were set up to facilitate the electorate. We got a good response from them."



Women voters turn up in large numbers 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Women in large numbers turned up at polling stations today. Accompanied by their near and dear ones, the voters came forward to choose their representative.

A good turnout was witnessed at urban as well as rural areas. Shraddha Malhotra, a homemaker, said making the right choice is not as easy as it seems. All four candidates are "heavy-weights". "My husband did not want to vote for my choice of candidate, but eventually I succeeded in convincing him," she said. At many polling stations, elderly women were allowed to stop their vehicles near polling stations, so that they could easily cast their vote. Nandita, an 18-year-old student said it was an amazing experience." 



Markets wear a deserted look
Puneet Pal Singh Gill/Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 30
Shops remained closed in the city today. The district administration had issued orders that all shops and commercial establishments would remain closed on the polling day.

Some shopkeepers opened their establishments after 6 pm. Markets and streets such as Pakhowal Road, Model Town, Sarabha Nagar Market, Ghumar Mandi and Mall Road, which otherwise remain chock-a-block with traffic, wore a deserted look. Chemist shops and eateries were seen open.

Gauravdeep Singh Bhangoo, owner, Pizza King, said he opened the eatery after 6 pm today. "Any person who shows his vote mark will get a discount of 20 per cent," said Bhangoo.

Orders defied

Unheeding the government’s instructions, many business establishments remained open today.

Although markets wore a deserted look, it was business as usual for some factories and establishments.

Ram Naresh, a factory worker, said it was a working day for them today. Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal said action would be taken against violators. A few showrooms were also seen open in the evening. "We opened the shop after casting our vote,” said Rajinder Singh, owner of a garment showroom at Ghumar Mandi.



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