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Cong seeks deployment of central forces in Patiala, Bathinda

CHANDIGARH, April 25: The Congress today sought adequate deployment of central security forces in the parliamentary constituencies of Patiala and Bathinda. A delegation of the party met the Chief Electoral Officer Kusumjit Sidhu and submitted a letter to her apprising about the atmosphere of terror being created in Patiala and Bathinda parliamentary constituencies particularly among the weaker sections of the society by the ruling Akali-BJP alliance.
According to Karanpal Singh Sekhon, the delegation pointed out, almost all the polling booths in Patiala and Bathinda had been declared sensitive by the Election Commission of India. But no remedial measures have been taken for smooth, fair and fearless conduct of elections. “There is every apprehension of the voters, particularly those belonging to the weaker sections of the society being threatened and terrorized, hence it is important that there is adequate and abundant presence of central security forces made every where so that voters vote without any fear”, the letter to the Chief Election Commissioner said.

The letter pointed out, only five companies of paramilitary forces are going to be deployed in entire Patiala parliamentary constituency, which is wholly inadequate in the prevailing circumstances. “Almost all the polling booths in Patiala and Bathinda parliamentary constituencies have been declared sensitive by the Election Commission and apprehension of incidents of violence and booth capturing at the instance of ruling party, is very much genuine, going by the experience of recently held Panchayat and Municipal Elections wherein the Shiromani Akali Dal (B) indulged in large scale violence, intimidation and rigging”, it said, while adding, “the unfair practices, misuse of official machinery and atrocities committed by ruling party in the above elections are still fresh and vivid in the minds of the people”.

The letter added, the gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that even the Director General of Police, Punjab had demanded 200 Companies of Central Forces, but as of now promise of only 86 Companies has been made. This small number of Central Forces would not make any difference in controlling and handling the delicate and tense situation particularly when a section of Punjab Police has always been playing a partisan role at the instance of their political masters.

BT cotton, water sharing treaty still fresh in people’s memory

BATHINDA, April 27:

The supply of the BT cotton to the farmers in Malwa region, particularly in the Bathinda area and the abrogation of the water sharing agreements is standing good stead for the Congress in the ensuing parliamentary elections.

Accompanied by the Mansa MLA S SS Gagowal, S Raninder Singh addressed a series of meeting in the villages of Mansa Assembly segment constituency today. He pointed out, it was after a long time that the farmers of Malwa belt had heaved a sigh of relief after BT cotton was made available to them during the government of Congress led by Capt Amarinder Singh. He pointed out, “the BT cotton not only changed the economy of the region, but also revived it”. He said, otherwise the farmers were left to their own mercy.

While addressing well attended meetings, in villages which included Burj Rathi, Bhai Desa, Sadasinghwala, Heerewala, Narinderpura, he also referred to the abrogation of the water sharing treaties with the neighbouring states. He asserted, “had the previous Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh not abrogated those agreements, the Malwa region would have turned into a barren desert without water”. He criticized the Akalis, particularly the Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his Deputy Chief Minister son, Sukhbir Badal for never raising the genuine demands of the farmers, and for always misleading people and playing with their feelings. He pointed out that Capt Amarinder Singh had put at stake his own government to save the water and economy of the region.

Appealing to the people to vote for the Congress he said, there were more reasons than one to elect him as Prime Minister. He is not only a Punjabi but a Sikh too. He pointed out, 110 crore people have reposed their faith in Dr Manmohan Singh and it is our duty to endorse that faith. “If we as Punjabis do not do that, we will betray our conscience”, he pointed out, while adding, Dr Singh was the pride of each and every Punjabi

Appealing to the people to vote for the Congress he said, there were more reasons than one to elect him as Prime Minister. He is not only a Punjabi but a Sikh too. He pointed out, 110 crore people have reposed their faith in Dr Manmohan Singh and it is our duty to endorse that faith. “If we as Punjabis do not do that, we will betray our conscience”, he pointed out, while adding, Dr Singh was the pride of each and every Punjabi.

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Appealing to the people to vote for the Congress he said, there were more reasons than one to elect Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. He is not only a Punjabi but a Sikh too. He pointed out, 110 crore people have reposed their faith in Dr Manmohan Singh and it is our duty to endorse that faith. “If we as Punjabis do not do that, we will betray our conscience”, he pointed out, while adding, Dr Singh was the pride of each and every Punjabi.

Badals conceded defeat too early: Amarinder

Karanpal Singh Sekhon

: Former Chief Minister and the Chairman of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee Capt Amarinder Singh today said, the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Deputy Chief Minister son, Sukhbir Badal had conceded the defeat earlier than expected. He observed, “their sense of defeat is well found, as they have judged the mood of the people who are set to teach them a lesson”.

Reacting to the stand taken by the father-son duo that the May 7 and 13 elections would not be a referendum about the performance of their government, Amarinder observed, “their running away from owning up the responsibility ahead of the elections simply proves that they have conceded the defeat”. Otherwise, he pointed out, if they were confident enough they would certainly admit the fact that elections are referendum on the performance of their government. “They have nothing to their credit except murder, excesses, criminal intimidation of Congress workers and rampant corruption”, Capt Amarinder said.

The former Chief Minister pointed out, first it was the junior Badal who shed off the responsibility claiming that defeat or victory would be that of the party’s and not his and now it is the senior Badal who refuses to accept and admit that these elections are going to be a referendum on the performance of their government.

“Badals’ fears are understandable as they are headed for a historic defeat by losing all the 13 seats this time despite trying to use all the foul means and now they have started searching for excuses”, Capt Amarinder observed, while adding, “otherwise why should they shed off the responsibility and run away ahead of the contest”.

Capt Amarinder dared the father-son duo to lead from the front and accept the challenge. “The leaders don’t shy away and run away like cowards, they lead from the front with courage and conviction come what may”, he pointed out, while asking them, “moreover if you are so confident about your achievements and victory why are you shying away from claiming the credit?”

The Campaign Committee chairman remarked, “the Badals have nothing to their credit except for criminal intimidation, murder and excesses on Congress workers”. Now they have realized that their time is up and the day of the judgement has come so they have started making the ground for running away. “But you will certainly meet your nemesis at any cost no matter what excuses you try to put forth to defend yourself”, he warned them, while adding, the victims will certainly avenge the excesses through their votes.

PCC seeks registration of FIR against Badal

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has sought registration of an FIR against the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the SAD-BJP candidate from Anandpur Sahib, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema and one Bharat Bhushan Sethi for the alleged forgery by preparing the reemployment order of Sethi in backdate to hoodwink the Election Commission of India.

In a complaint submitted to the Chief Election Commission the Coordination Committee of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee pointed out, while the election code of conduct came into force on March 2, 2009, the Punjab cabinet under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal approved the reappointment of Sethi on March 3. Sethi had retired on February 28, 2009. However, the date mentioned on the appointment orders was February 26, 2009.

The complaint said, Sethi was reemployed because of the persuasive influence of Dr Daljeet Cheema, a former political advisor of the Chief Minister, who is contesting parliamentary elections from Anandpur Sahib constituency as Akali-BJP candidate. Sethi is now campaigning in his official car for Cheema since he also belongs to Anandpur Sahib.

Urging the Election Commission to cancel the reappointment of Sethi, the complaint sought regristration of FIR against Badal, Dr Cheema and other officers connected with forgery in preparing the re-employment order in back date with dishonest intention.

It also sought the disqualification of Dr Cheema from Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency for committing the corrupt practices as defined under Section 123(7) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 by using his persuasive influence over Badal for reemploying Sethi.

The complaint also sought departmental disciplinary and action against Sethi for participating in political activities in support of Shiromani Akali Dal (B) candidate Dr. Cheema.

PCC for immediate implementation of pay commission recommendation

CHANDIGARH, April 23, 2009

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has sought immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission in the state. In a joint statement issued here today, the Chairman Punjab Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee Capt Amarinder Singh and the PCC working president Lal Singh said, the government was deliberately dilly-dallying the issue to deny the employees their rightful due.

The two leaders pointed out, the government was earlier trying to use the excuse of election code of conduct. Now with the implementation having been cleared by the Election Commission of India, the government has no reason for delay. “By constituting a committee for the implementation which is supposed to file its report within 15 days the government is only biding the time”, the senior Congress leaders said, while adding, the matter of the fact remains that the government is neither sincere nor serious about implementing the recommendations.

Capt Amarinder and Lal Singh observed, there is every apprehension that the government might back out after the elections and delay the matter for an uncertain period of time. They asked, “what is the logic behind constituting a committee when everything is already clear, these are just delaying and denying tactics”.

Expressing their solidarity with the protesting employees who are seeking immediate implementation of the pay commission recommendations, the Congress leaders said, their sympathy and support was for them as they understood their problem. They remarked, “the government must accept the fact that it has already turned bankrupt as earlier it had presented the vote on account budget and now it is denying the employees their rightful due”.

The Congress leaders asked the government, “at least be sincere and sympathetic towards the people who are running your show against all odds”. They regretted that this was the extreme of insensitivity on part of the government that it did not care even for its own employees what to speak of the common masses.


Punjab Congress seeks foolproof security measures

CHANDIGARH, April 23, 2009
Karanpal Singh Sekhon

The Punjab Pradesh Congress has sought adequate security across the state in general and the Congress workers and leaders in particular. A delegation of the PCC leaders met the Director General of Police recently to bring to his notice the violence and use of force against the Congress activists and ruthless suppression of the weaker sections by the Akali leaders.

The delegation listed the details of the criminal activities being committed at the behest of the ruling Akalis in the state resulting in intimidation of the Congress workers. It pointed out, “the dare-devil looting of weapons in Hoshiarpur, murderous attack on Devinder Singh Goldy General Secretary Punjab Youth Congress S/o Sukhdev Singh Ex. Congress Sarpanch in village a Nizamiwala, in Dakala assembly segment of Patiala Parliamentary Constituency, threatening letter to P.P.C.C Secretary Dr. Robinder Singh of Mohali and written request from Rana Gurjeet Singh Congress Candidate from Khadoor Sahib Parliamentary Constituency are only ominous signs of what is in store in the future”.

The party demanded that active and prominent Congressmen should be provided with effective security cover on the recommendation of the party candidates, chairman Punjab Congress Campaign Committee and PCC President.
It also demanded that the Akali leaders and workers who have a track record of indulging in violence in elections should be bound down under preventive laws to ensure their good conduct through legal course and surveillance and their provocative gestures and deeds should not be allowed to create fear and reaction among the leaders and workers of the Congress party lest the situation may go beyond control.

The party sought that the vulnerable areas like habitats of the weaker sections should be effectively covered by police patrolling and other means as provided by law to ensure that they may freely exercise their legal right to vote. Besides, it asked for “sufficient and adequate deployment of para-military forces well in advance”.

The party also sought setting up of a complaint cum grievance redressal control room at every sub-divisional headquarters and the input/output of the cell should be made totally transparent.

Congress complains to EC against Asthana, Fastway channel

Chandigarh, April 9

The Punjab Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee today submitted a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner of India questioning the political role of the former Patiala DIG, SK Asthana and his presence in the election meetings of the Shiromani Akali Dal, presided over by its president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

In a complaint to the ECI, Col (rtd) CD Kamboj, the coordinator of the campaign committee pointed out, the media had widely reported about the presence of Asthana in a meeting with Sukhbir Badal in Patiala on Wednesday and other party workers, in clear violation of the EC guidelines as also his service conduct.

Moreover, the complaint pointed out, Asthana was a DIG till recent past and has appointed most of the junior level officers including the SHOs in the area. His presence in the Akali meetings is clearly aimed at influencing his subordinates to work for the Akali candidate, Prem Singh Chandumajra. The complaint sought strict action against the police officer, who has been acting and behaving more like an office bearer of the SAD than a responsible government official.

In a separate complaint, the campaign committee has urged the ECI to order the Fastway TV channel to stop repeated airing of the movie “Hawaiin”, which is based on the 1984 Delhi riots. The complaint pointed out, the movie was being aired at frequent intervals everyday without any break, with the sole motive of reviving the tragic memories of 1984 at the time of elections.

The complaint said, the Fastway TV channel was controlled by Sukhbir Badal, who is also the president of the SAD-B. By screening such a movie which has a tendency to create ill will and hatred between different communities, the SAD-B has violated the code of conduct and was a fit case for being derecognized.

Sangrur BSP candidate resigns, joins Congress

Chandigarh, April 8

Madanjit Singh, the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate from Sangrur today joined the Congress under the leadership of former Chief Minister and chairman of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Singh, a former police officer was quite an influential leader in the BSP. His resignation from the BSP and support to the Congress would certainly boost the prospects of the party (Congress) candidate in Sangrur, Vijay Inder Singla.

Speaking on the occasion, Singh said, he was feeling suffocated in the BSP for various reasons. He alleged that the candidates instead of being offered financial support by the party were being asked to donate funds. He said, he was not sure where this money would go?

More than that, the former BSP leader said, he was quite impressed with the leadership qualities of the former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who was proving to be a mass leader of the Punjabis. He said, he was sure and certain that only Capt Amarinder could ensure the Akalis’ defeat in these elections, which was the need of the hour.

He alleged, the BSP was in league with the ruling SAD-BJP alliance with a clean motive to weaken the Congress. He did not rule out exchange of money for this purpose.

Welcoming Singh into the Congress, Capt Amarinder said, he was getting an overwhelming response not only from the common masses from across the state, but also the senior leaders of the parties like Akali Dal, who were feeling suffocated by the dictatorship of the Badals.

Capt Amarinder said, the countdown for the Akalis in general and the Badals in particular had already begun and their days were numbered. He observed, the state of Akali Dal was like that of a sinking ship and people were jumping towards the safer shores of the Congress.

The former Chief Minister pointed out, the recent state of affairs within the Akali Dal gave enough indications that the party was disintegrating and the government was falling apart and most of the disillusioned and alienated leaders were keen to make a safe exit at the right time. “Sooner the better”, he remarked. (eom)

Congress ridicules Akali charges over Bunny

Chanidgarh, April 6
Karampal Singh Sekhon

The Congress today ridiculed the Shiromani Akali Dal charge of its role in the revolt by Jasjit Singh Bunny, the son of deceased Cooperative Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh. An official release of the party said here today, the Akalis’ frustration is too understandable as they were too shocked and stunned. They are now trying to search people whom they can blame for their own sins.

The release said, it is too well known and more than clear that what were the reasons for Bunny’s revolt. Particularly, the autocratic behaviour of the Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal, which was the immediate provocation. The release said, “it is suprising that the Akalis now see the Congress hand in every thing that is happening inside the party”.

The party advised the Akalis that they should better introspect themselves than blame others for their own faults borne out of arrogance and autocratic attitude of the leadership.

The release made it clear that the revolt by the son of a former minister and a senior leader was quite an internal matter of the Akalis and the Congress had nothing to do with it. But if the Akalis really think that all the decisions related to them have Congress influence, they should acknowledge their own inefficiency.

The Congress release said, the party had full sympathies with the bereaved family and it did not want to play any politics with the tragedy. But it is sad, that the Akalis instead of understanding the plight of the family members were trying to play politics with them and attribute so many motives.

Moreover, it added, Capt Kanwaljeet was quite a respected leader of Punjab and everybody should respect the sentiments of the family. The Congress sympathises with the family as anyone should feel about a tragedy and untimely death of a family member. “We are here to share the grief and not take any political mileage out of it”, the release said.