HT Image
HT Image

Debutant faces two ex-MLAs

Nestled in the Himachal foothills, Pathankot witnessed rare snowfall recently, leaving people guessing about the hows and whys.
By Aseem Bassi | Hindustan Times, Pathankot
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2012 02:27 PM IST

Nestled in the Himachal foothills, Pathankot witnessed rare snowfall recently, leaving people guessing about the hows and whys. On the political turf, too, it is anybody's guess who will win the assembly seat.


In this new district, the BJP as well as the Congress have changed their candidates from 2007. The BJP's Punjab unit chief Ashwani Sharma, a first-timer, is facing Congress nominee and former MLA Raman Bhalla. Congress rebel and ex-MLA Ashok Sharma is contesting as an Independent after being denied the Congress ticket.

The weather is chilly and rainy, but with D-day fast approaching, no candidate can afford to stay indoors. Wrapped in a shawl, Ashwani Sharma moves in an Innova amid the downpour. The vehicle stops in Indira Colony, which is close to his residence, and he alights to address a meeting in a house.

In a room jampacked with his supporters, Ashwani Sharma begins his speech like this, "Even though this is my first election, I have already devoted decades to the party."

Then, he takes out his trump card. "It was the BJP that got district status for Pathankot. Earlier, we had to go to Gurdaspur for official work. Vote for the SAD-BJP combine so that we can establish the entire set-up here," he says.

Desisting from targeting his opponents, he asserts, "The SAD-BJP government has a very good report card and I don't need to comment on my rivals."

About the BJP's poll prospects under his leadership, he claims, "The party has made gains on the development plank. We are confident of a good result."

On the BJP's decision to give him the ticket at the cost of former cabinet minister and sitting MLA Master Mohan Lal, he says, "It is the party's decision. Master Mohan Lal has assured me of support and I will learn a lot from his political experience."

Meanwhile, having a much-needed cup of tea in his Toyota Fortuner, Congress candidate Raman Bhalla says, "The SAD-BJP alliance has nothing substantial to show. This area has been ignored and it continues to have inadequate infrastructure."

Getting off the stage after a speech, Bhalla tells HT, "My poll plank is development. Grant of district status has not solved Pathankot's problems. I would focus on providing more employment opportunities for the youth and get a package that will encourage the industry to come here instead of going to the neighbouring hill state."

On infighting in the Congress and the presence of a rebel candidate, Bhalla says nonchalantly, "There is infighting in every party. The party has given me the ticket and every Congress worker must abide by the decision."

Bhalla won the 1992 assembly polls, but lost in 1997. He failed to get the ticket in the 2002 and 2007 elections. Now, the party has again reposed faith in him.

Ashok Sharma, who has been expelled by the Congress, says, "Apart from overall development, my priority is to remove corruption, especially in politics."

"During my tenure as MLA from 2002 to 2007, I worked for getting four new roads. I will work with NGOs for the city's development and come up with a master plan," adds Ashok Sharma, who has hired an Innova for door-to-door campaigning.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
CRPF personnel being vaccinated against Covid-19, at Hindu Rao Hospital in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
CRPF personnel being vaccinated against Covid-19, at Hindu Rao Hospital in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

Paid shots from March 1 as India expands Covid-19 vaccine drive

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:23 AM IST
The decision marks a significant opening up of the vaccination drive, with the roll-out for the general public being moved up from the previously estimated window of mid-March, and comes at a time when the country is on the brink of a second wave of infections.
Close
Digital media includes intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook, and publishers of news and current affairs content. It also includes so-called curators of such content.(Reuters file photo)
Digital media includes intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook, and publishers of news and current affairs content. It also includes so-called curators of such content.(Reuters file photo)

Govt rules for online media to include takedown power

By Deeksha Bhardwaj
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:05 AM IST
Digital media, as defined in a document that lays out the government’s framework to regulate online content, will cover digitised content that can be transmitted over the internet or computer networks.
Close
Referring to the 2019 decision to scrap the special status of J&K, Pujani said: “We reiterate that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of India."(AP file photo)
Referring to the 2019 decision to scrap the special status of J&K, Pujani said: “We reiterate that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of India."(AP file photo)

‘Patron of terror’: India hits out at Pakistan at United Nations

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:48 AM IST
India’s “right of reply” to the Pakistani minister’s speech was delivered by Seema Pujani, second secretary in the permanent mission to the UN. She described Pakistan’s continued misuse of various platforms for “baseless and malicious propaganda against India is not new”.
Close
The government hopes to cover an estimated 10.5 million paddy growers this year, against last year’s 10.2 million.(PTI file photo)
The government hopes to cover an estimated 10.5 million paddy growers this year, against last year’s 10.2 million.(PTI file photo)

2020-21 likely to see record paddy procurement

By Zia Haq
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:36 AM IST
Paddy is the main summer staple that drives the incomes of millions of farmers. The ministry’s official figures show the government’s total procurement of summer paddy has touched 65.8 million tonnes until January 22 against the purchase of 56.5 million tonnes in the corresponding part of last year.
Close
Javadekar said that further steps for administrative work in the Union territory will be taken soon.(ANI Photo)
Javadekar said that further steps for administrative work in the Union territory will be taken soon.(ANI Photo)

Union Cabinet approves L-G proposal for President’s rule in Puducherry

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:25 AM IST
L-G Tamilisai Soundararajan recommended imposition of President’s Rule in Puducherry after the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies did not stake claim to form the government
Close
A view of Motera Stadium, the world's biggest cricket stadium. (ANI Photo)
A view of Motera Stadium, the world's biggest cricket stadium. (ANI Photo)

BJP, Congress trade barbs over Motera stadium renaming

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:21 AM IST
At a cabinet briefing, union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad also hit out at the Congress and wondered if the top Congress leaders such as Sonia or Rahul Gandhi have even bothered to visit the world’s tallest statue, that of Sardar Patel, at Kevadiya in Gujarat.
Close
Facebook said it cannot be compelled by any committee of the parliament or the state assembly to participate in an inquiry and that its move to appear before a parliamentary panel on information technology last month was “a business decision”.(Reuters Photo)
Facebook said it cannot be compelled by any committee of the parliament or the state assembly to participate in an inquiry and that its move to appear before a parliamentary panel on information technology last month was “a business decision”.(Reuters Photo)

Facebook now says it’s not obligated to appear before Parliamentary panels

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:05 AM IST
The exchange and Facebook’s contention that it could choose not to appear before any institution, as long as it follows the laws, is interesting because it comes at a time when the Union government is readying a framework to regulate social media and digital media companies.
Close
Shantanu Muluk, a climate activist, arrives at National Cyber Forensic Lab for an investigation, in New Delhi, India, February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi(REUTERS)
Shantanu Muluk, a climate activist, arrives at National Cyber Forensic Lab for an investigation, in New Delhi, India, February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi(REUTERS)

Toolkit case: Shantanu Muluk’s bail plea hearing today

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:40 AM IST
Additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana, who granted bail to Ravi on Tuesday, posted Muluk’s bail application for arguments on Thursday. Muluk had got transit bail from the Bombay high court on February 16 for a period of 10 days.
Close
In two parallel investigations, the CBI is also probing a multi-crore coal smuggling scam. (FILE PHOTO)
In two parallel investigations, the CBI is also probing a multi-crore coal smuggling scam. (FILE PHOTO)

CBI names TMC youth leader in charge-sheet of cattle smuggling case

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:17 AM IST
  • Earlier this month, CBI in the first charge-sheet in the case had named BSF Commandant Satish Kumar and Murshidabad-based businessman Enamul Haque along with five others for their alleged involvement in cattle smuggling across the India-Bangladesh border.
Close
The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that even under the existing system, Magistrates are made witnesses during trial as they record dying declaration and hold test identification parade. (HT PHOTO).
The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that even under the existing system, Magistrates are made witnesses during trial as they record dying declaration and hold test identification parade. (HT PHOTO).

Top court proposes cadre of magistrates to fill gaps in police investigation

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:55 PM IST
  • The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat apart from Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde were of the view that magistrates should play a more “intrusive” role in investigation.
Close
Police said the accused surrendered after killing the woman.(Representational Photo/Getty Images)
Police said the accused surrendered after killing the woman.(Representational Photo/Getty Images)

College student in Andhra Pradesh killed for rejecting marriage proposal

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:44 PM IST
  • Police said the accused and the victim were in a relationship for a year, but of late she had been avoiding him.
Close
Currently, the Railways have operationalized almost 65 per cent of Mail/Express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to pre lockdown times. (HT PHOTO).
Currently, the Railways have operationalized almost 65 per cent of Mail/Express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to pre lockdown times. (HT PHOTO).

Higher fares for short distance trains to discourage needless travel: Railways

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:31 PM IST
  • The national carrier at present is operating only special passenger trains since the curbs on lockdown were eased. Regular passenger trains have been suspended since March 25, 2020.
Close
When asked about the new strains of the virus that have been found in several parts of the country, Guleria said authorities are closely monitoring the situation.(ANI photo)
When asked about the new strains of the virus that have been found in several parts of the country, Guleria said authorities are closely monitoring the situation.(ANI photo)

New strains not more infectious, need to aggressively monitor situation: Guleria

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:28 PM IST
"Currently we have vaccines with efficacy of 70 per cent , 80 per cent, 90 per cent so even if there is slight fall in efficacy they will still be effective in preventing the virus from further spreading," Guleria told in an interview to ANI.
Close
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel recovered 2 Improvised Explosive Devices (1 pressure cooker and 1 pipe type) placed in a series manner near Dhanora, Narayanpur on Tuesday. (ANI photo)
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel recovered 2 Improvised Explosive Devices (1 pressure cooker and 1 pipe type) placed in a series manner near Dhanora, Narayanpur on Tuesday. (ANI photo)

2 security personnel killed in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur in Maoist attacks

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:16 PM IST
  • Both the casualties took place due to IED blasts.
Close
Motera Stadium is the world's largest cricket stadium. (PTI)
Motera Stadium is the world's largest cricket stadium. (PTI)

Govt clarifies on controversy over Motera stadium being named after PM

Written by Prashasti Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:22 PM IST
Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera, inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind, is part of a larger complex, named 'Sardar Patel Sports Complex'.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP