SUKHBIR’S SUGAR-COATED BAIT
Akali Dal on Saturday dangled more poll doles. Sukhbir Badal, the dream merchant of the Akali Dal, promised that old age pension will be increased to Rs 2,000 per month and Shagun scheme from Rs 15,000 to Rs 51,000. Besides, 5kg sugar @ Rs 10 per kg, 1 kg of ghee for Rs 25 and free gas connections to all Blue Card families. Medical facility available to Blue Card holders, small farmers, petty traders and construction workers will be increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. Will people bite the bait or bulldoze this bluster? Fingers are crossed!
KEJRIWAL IS AHEAD OF TIMES
The broom-bearers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday resorted to chest-thumping via press statement that how AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal set “an example for other political parties to follow” by asking EC to withdraw his security during his visits to Punjab. An example Kejriwal indeed set through his letter addressed to Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh in which date was written “21-01-2019”. No doubt Kejriwal is ahead of times — at least by two years.
SHOLLY STILL IN FRAY !
Liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda, alias Sholly, and his nephew, Amit Doda, who are in jail in a murder case, failed to withdraw their nomination papers from Abohar segment by the Saturday deadline. Thus, despite having declared support to the BJP candidate, both remain on the EVM. While Amit has been given ‘AC’ as symbol, Sholly has been allotted bucket. “Ashok Ahuja, political agent of Shiv Lal Doda and Amit, came to withdraw nomination papers of the duo but he was not authorised fir it,” said SDM Jaspreet Singh, who is the returning officer. On Friday, Doda had pledged support to BJP’s Arun Narang. Doda’s support to Narang was expected to reduce the division of votes in 60,000-strong Arora community in Abohar.
ADVT COST: NOTHING AAM ABOUT AAP
Aam Aadmi Party may be a new entrant in the state’s assembly elections, but it is ahead of the established political outfits when it comes to poll expenditure! For getting advertisements published in vernacular newspapers without the approval of the election commission’s watchdog media certification and monitoring committee (MCMC), the panel has added a sum of Rs 77,133 to the election expenditure of AAP. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is second on the list with an estimation of cost of such advertisements at Rs 33,057. Similarly, an expenditure of Rs 30,976 was added to the SAD’s account and Rs 13,257 to that of the Congress.
Gurdaspur member of Parliament Vinod Khanna is again in the news for his absence in the poll-bound state. However, the activists of his party are expecting little from the actor, going by the precedent he had set in the 2012 Lok Sabha elections when he despite being a candidate was conspicuous by his absence. Some say he has some health problems. Whatever may be the reason, striking a balance between the glamour world and politics is not always easy!
Formidable rivals in elections don’t trouble a candidate as much as a non-entity namesake can! Parties have been fielding namesakes of candidates of rival outfits for long. The problem is being faced by many candidates in Patiala district. Congress nominee from Samana Rajinder Singh has a namesake in an Independent, who doesn’t even belong to the segment. Similarly, Congress candidate from Shutrana Nirmal Singh has two namesake independent candidates. Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanaur candidate Kuldeep Kaur too has a namesake pitted against her. Thankfully, this time pictures of each candidate will be there on the voting machine beside the name and the party symbol for the ease of the voter. But does that work will be clear on March 11.
(Text by Pawan Sharma, Jatinder Kohli, Vinay Dhingra, Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar and Vivek Gupta)