ON OFFER, BANGLES TO BISCUITS
As the nomination process for the February 4 elections was set rolling, the election commission (EC) has compiled quite an eclectic list of 110 election symbols for the slew of independent candidates. They can take their pick from symbols both interesting and easy to recall, such as syringe, swing, skipping rope, plate containing food, saw, coconut farm, cauliflower, tea filter, cake, bangles, biscuit, pillow, pestle and mortar, colour tray, brush and many more. Officials at the election office said generally candidates choose symbols that they think will resonate with the voters though one wonders how the Punjabi voters would connect with a coconut farm. Election officials said the independent candidates have to choose four options during the nomination, of which one will be allotted to them.
PARAMILITARY ON ALL TIME HIGH
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, it seems, is very wary of giving exact figures of paramilitary forces coming to the state for “free and fair” conduct of polls. A local EC official said the number is manifold higher than the previous polls. About a month ago, Punjab EC officials had sought 1500 companies for the polls. Only Zaidi knows the exact number, which will be in force, said the local official.
Gen.JJ Singh (retd), a political novice handpicked by SAD and paradropped in Patiala, is creating more problems for the “panthic” party than doing any good. He is a target for the radicals as he trims his beard. As if this was not enough, a video showing him abusing has gone viral online. He is saying “if anyone uses wrong methods of winning polls, I will p------d knock him down... without remorse.” He is pitted against Capt. Amarinder Singh of Congress. On his abusive language, he asked them to understand his emotions.
Elections are marked not just by a lot of fights and firefights, but also by a game of musical chairs across parties. And Balluana, a segment in the Malwa region, can well be cited as a classic example. Here, this time the SAD has fielded Parkash Singh Bhatti, who had fought the 2012 election as a Congress rebel, and in 2007 on a Congress ticket. Bhatti had won the 2002 poll for the Congress against SAD’s Gurtej Singh Ghuriana, who has rebelled this time after the SAD poached and fielded Bhatti. Ghuriana may contest as an Independent now. Then there is Giriraj Rajora, who fought in 2012 on Congress ticket, which had led to Bhatti’s rebellion. Rajora went over to the AAP and was even announced as candidate; but changed citing “weak campaign”. Now, he is a candidate of Trinamool Congress led in Punjab by Jagmeet Brar, whose love for AAP has run out. Ghuriana remains out in the cold for now, while the Congress has brought in Nathu Ram from a neighbouring segment to fight for this SC-reserved seat. Yes, it’s confusing; also revealing!
(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Aarish Chhabra)