Capt Amarinder asks Jaitley why Modi has not withdrawn petition against Punjabi farmers despite commitment

AMRITSAR:Congress candidate from Amritsar Capt Amarinder Singh today asked the BJP candidate Arun Jaitley as why the Gujarat Chief Minister and the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has so far not withdrawn the petition against the Punjabi farmers from Gujarat.

In an informal conversation with reporters before embarking upon a ‘Road Show’ from DAV College to Hindu College here today, he said, despite the passage of almost two months of the public commitment he made during a rally at Jagraon in Punjab on February 23 last, nothing has been done by the Gujarat government till now.

“We want  Jaitely to clear the air on such an important issue that touches every Punjabi including him (Jaitley) since he also claims to be one”, he remarked, while adding, Jaitley owed an answer primarily for three reasons.

One, he is an MP from Gujarat. Two he has been claiming to have roots in Punjab and three he is now contesting from the most important city of Punjab that is representative of its history and culture. “That makes it all the more important for him to spell out his stand”, he asserted.

“I am not asking much from Jaitley”, he remarked, while adding, “It is a simple question as why is Gujarat government not prepared to withdraw its appeal in the Supreme Court against the Gujarat High Court verdict that is in favour of Punjabi farmers?”

Replying to a question that Jaitley was claiming that he was only talking about issues while he (Capt Amarinder) was talking about persons only, Capt Amarinder remarked, “when a person himself becomes an issue and that too for all the wrong reasons, whether he be Modi or Majithia, obviously questions will be raised”.

He asked, why Jaitley was shying away from giving answers to his questions. He pointed out, he has asked for Jaitley’s position on several issues, but he was yet to answer any of these questions. “Does it not smack of either arrogance or ignorance?” he asked, while adding, “he has had enough of monologues, time has come for dialogues now and this is the time for answers to the questions his monologues have generated”.

LUCKNOW:The ongoing war of attrition in the ‘Gandhi parivar’ saw another salvo being fired today. This time round it was BJP candidate and Maneka Gandhi’s son Varun Gandhi who took on Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter and cousin Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on her observations about him.

Shortly after filing his nomination from the Sultanpur constituency, Varun Gandhi said: “I have always practiced the politics of decorum. I have always viewed others’ respect as my own. In the past decade whether it has been a member of my family or a senior leader of any political party, in my speeches I have never crossed the ‘lakshman rekha’ of decency. In the past few days, a few statements have been made.All I would like to say is that my inherent decency and large heartedness should not be construed as weakness by anyone.”

Varun’s hitting out at Priyanka (without naming her) does not stop here. He said “there has been talk of my own path. I have always considered the nation’s path more important than my own. In my lifetime, if I am able to constructively contribute towards nation building, I would consider my life meaningful”.
He added, “I have always practiced the politics of principle centered around important issues of our time. It is my request to all that instead of personal attacks, we debate unemployment, corruption, poverty, illiteracy. Let us try to raise the level of discourse rather than lowering it. When we practice politics centered on personal criticism, we deviate from the crucial issues of our times. If India has to move towards the politics of hope, we will have to raise the level of debate”.

Significantly, Priyanka Gandhi was in Amethi

Priyanka hit out at Varun by saying that “this is not a family tea party. It is an ideological war’. She stressed that she could not side with anyone, even if they were one’s blood relations, if they were on the other side of the ideological war. Without naming Varun she said that he had expressed his views in the last elections and she strongly disagreed with them. She termed it as a betrayal of ‘my family” and added “my father died for the unity of the country. I cannot disregard it for anybody, even if it is my own child”.

Earlier on 11 April Priyanka had ruffled Varun’s feathers shortly after Rahul had filed his nomination from Amethi. Addressing Congress workers at a closed door meeting in Munshiganj she had said that Varun was her brother but he had gone astray.
She had added that when a young one in the family chooses the wrong path, it is the elders who show him the right path. The elder sister had urged the party workers “ to show my brother the right path”.

Priyanka’s observation drew a sharp retort from Maneka Gandhi. At a public meeting in her constituency Pilibhit, she said that if serving the nation was going astray, the country will decide who went astray.She stressed that Varun had not chosen any wrong path but was doing his duty towards the country.
Away from the ongoing war of words between the cousins, the Gandhi versus Gandhi battle was also being fought at another level. On Monday UPA president Sonia Gandhi while addressing an election meeting in Aonla indirectly took on her sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi on the lack of development in the constituency. She regretted that the region did not have any institute for training and higher education for girls. Neither was there sufficient healthcare facilities for the poor.The plight of the sugarcane farmers was bad.

Significantly Maneka Gandhi is the sitting MP from Aonla.

AMRITSAR:BJP candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha Arun Jailtey today talking about property tax in the State said one of the issues being raised in the Amritsar Parliamentary constituency relates to the levy of Property Tax.

“How did this levy come about? On 8th December, 2006 just before the code of conduct for the February, 2007 elections were to be announced, the Government of Punjab headed by Capt. Amarinder Singh and the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar headed by its Mayor Sunil Datti entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Govt. of India on 8th December, 2006, accepting all conditions imposed by the Congress led Government of India, for giving grants to Punjab under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. A handwritten note signed by the Govt. of India, Punjab Government and the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar stated that “Subject to commitments given by the Govt. of Punjab vide the Chief Secretary’s letter No.SUDA/JNNURM/6/148 dated 7.12.2006”. This sentence was interpolated by hand in the MOU”, he revealed.

The letter of the Chief Secretary of Punjab dated 7th December, 2006 itself committed to the Government of India that “the Government of Punjab would modify the existing rates of user charges of water supply and sewage as well as, put in place, a new system of taxation of municipal properties latest by 30th June, 2007 in all municipalities specially those covered under JNNURM”. After taking over the Government in 2007, the SAD-BJP government deferred the implementation of this proposal by at least six years since they were an imposed, said he.

Adding further he said is it not true that this Capt. Amarinder Singh heading the Punjab Government in 2006 and Sunil Datti heading the Municipal Corporation of Amritsar, who are responsible for having initiated, committed this new system of levy of Property Tax?

GUWAHATI: Ten coaches of the 15666 BG Express derailed at Ajuri station near Morigaon in central Assam early today and 50 passengers were injured, Northeast Frontier Railway sources said.

The three coaches of the Dimapur-Kamakhya train jumped the tracks but toppled down near Jagiroad in Morigaon district at 0205 am.

Senior railway officials have rushed to the site and rescue operations are on.

CHANDIGARH:All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) in a letter to Narinder Modi has suggested that a high level committee be constituted to review the power sector reforms and recommend corrective measures to chalk out a road map for “Power to all at affordable rates “.

AIPEF has forwarded a copy of a resolution to Modi that was adopted in its federal council meeting demanding immediate stoppage of blind privatization, introduction of franchisee system in power distribution and outsourcing of departmental works.

AIPEF will oppose crony capitalism, blind privatization policies & address the crisis being faced by Indian Power Sector that is threatening to undermine the economic survival of the Nation. The copies of resolutions have also been sent to Prime Minister and all Chief Ministers. Shaliender Dubey Chairman AIPEF personally delivered copy of resolution to Rajnath Singh BJP President.

The main resolution adopted by Federal Executive has demanded that proposed amendment in Electricity Act 2003 which is aimed at to further privatize distribution of power be withdrawn. The proposed amendments will lead to Creation of multiple agencies, adding cost at every level which ultimately affects consumer. It has demanded that disastrous reform policies be rolled back and pro people agenda should be incorporated in Electricity Act 2003.
V K Gupta Spokesperson of Federation said that the very purpose of changing Electricity Act in 2003 was to reduce the losses in Power sector, improve the financial health of the sector & reduce the subsidy burden of Govt. Due to faulty policies as pointed out above the contrary has happened.

The financial health of power sector has further deteriorated & Government is now even subsidizing private Discoms. What is more serious is that due to continued wrong energy policies banking sector may collapse under the burden of non-performing assets being generated by Power Sector.
Moreover autonomy & independence of Electricity Regulators has been completely eroded as it has been captured by vested interests due to interference by state Government’s even in tariff matters under the clause of public interest. Most of regulatory commissions are headed by retired bureaucrats who are enjoying all powers without any responsibility.

Padamjit Singh Chief Patron of Federation said that the concept of achieving low tariffs through competitive bidding in Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) has been completely defeated by the changes made in terms of reference after award of contract by giving various concessions to successful bidders. The accounts of all private sector Discoms and generating stations must be subjected to any scrutiny like CAG Audit. These Discoms and generating companies are adding cost by purchases at very high cost from their own sister concerns which is ultimately burdened on consumer.

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CHANDIGARH: The recent 3 days visit of Kejriwal in Punjab has shaken the Sikh Politics and the Sehajdhari Sikhs have extended their unconditional support to Kejriwal. In the past these Sehajdhari Sikhs had been playing a vital role in every elections by extending their unconditional support to the Congress against the SAD as their voting rights in the SGPC elections were curtailed by the NDA Govt in 2003.The Sehajdhari Sikh Party challenged it and the High Court has revived their vote right but the fate of 170 elected SGPC members have hung in balance as the case is pending adjudication in Supreme Court.
Sehajdhari Sikh Party has broken its ties with the Congress as the Union Govt. failed to support their cause in Court rather contrarily supported the SGPC by filing affidavits against them. Sehajdhari Sikhs felt cheated and dubbed by the Congress and so they decided to go with Kejriwal. The National Executive Council passed a resolution in support of AAP and handed over to Mr.Munish Sisodhia. This will be a big gain for AAP as 75 lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs will support Kejriwal in Punjab said Dr.Paramjeet Singh Ranu National President of the Sehajdhari Sikh Party.

Strengthening his statement on authentic figures Dr.Ranu said that the 2011-12 Census report confirmed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs states that the total Sikh population in Punjab is of 1.75 Sikhs. Out of which only 55 lakh Sikhs were enrolled by the Gurdwara Election Commission in the electoral roll during the SGPC elections 2011. If 50 lakh were deducted to be minors or non –eligible voters then still the remaining approx. 75 lakh Sikhs were directly ignored by the Gurdwara Election Commission in the SGPC elections declaring them as non-sikhs or patits. Whereas they are the people who have are Sikh(Sehajdhari Sikhs)as per official census report of the Union Govt.

Sehajdhari Sikh Party was the first to support veteran Anna Hazzare’s anti-corruption crusade for Jan-Lokpal bill and gave dharnas and memorandums to the Governor Punjab for court arrests in Chandigarh on the call of Anna team in August 2011. Dr.Ranu added that more than 80 percent of the total world Sikh population is of the non-baptized (sehajdharis) Sikhs and during the SGPC elections the Akali Dal Badal treats them step-motherly but during general elections they try to harp on the vote bank of the youth of sehajdharis. He gave a slogan for the party “ Je Shiromani Commette vch vote nahi ta Akalidal lai koi support nahi” (Means if no vote in SGPC then no support for Akali dal)

Dr.Ranu said that his party was feeling much desperate as no common man could dream of contesting elections in this country because of the prevailing methodology of Indian politics which was over powered by money media and mafia, but now Arvind kejriwal has setup an example in the country that a common man can also dream of giving clean and strong governance if his efforts are honest and sincere. Its the need of the hour to restrain the communal forces like RSS-BJP to overpower the country and for that in the interest of national integrity and to safeguard the minorities, all secular forces should come on a common platform.
He further said that to save the future of Punjab it is a high time to wake up and come togather to fight against corruption, unemployment, narcotics, land mafia and vendata politics of groupism. For a real progressive Punjab its the need of the hour to implement progressive policies like as formulated by Mr.Kejriwal. He added that though at some place the selection of candidates have not been done on merits but forgetting all that the people should come forward for supporting the mission of Kejriwal to safe guard the minorities from the communal forces. This is the reason why Sehajdhari Sikh Party has extended its unconditional support to Kejriwal.

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Congress has raised questions over running of joint office of SAD and BJP from the Khanna Smark in Amritsar,named after late Hasrbans Lal Khanna led a mob of disgruntled elements on 14th Feburary 1984, at Amritsar during a ‘Bandh’, to indulge in nefarious anti Sikh activities.

Mr. Sukhpal Singh Khaira Chief Spokesman of PPCC in a statement said here that Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and THE Shiromani Akali Dal must explain their position for running a joint SAD-BJP office from Harbans Lal Khanna ‘Samark’, the memorial of a man responsible for committing a nefarious, provocative and highly sacrilegious act against the 4th Guru Ram Das ji. He added that Arun Jaitely BJP candidate from Amritsar must explain how he deserves the votes of Amritsar residents after humiliating its founder? (copy of the White Paper issued by the SGPC depicting his anti Sikh role attached).

Khaira stated that it was extremely humiliating, shameful and deceitful for Badal and the SAD to run a joint SAD-BJP office from the Harbans Lal Khanna ‘Samarak’ at Amritsar and seek votes for Jaitely, in view of extremely derogatory, provocative and highly sacrilegious act committed by Mr. Harbans Lal Khanna against the 4th Guru Ram Das ji.

As brought out by the official White Paper issued by the SGPC, Mr. Harbans Lal Khanna led a mob of disgruntled elements on 14th Feburary 1984, at Amritsar during a ‘Bandh’, to indulge in nefarious anti Sikh activities.

As per the White Paper, Khanna then Ex-MLA and District President of the Amritsar unit of the BJP, broke a replica of the Darbar Sahib at the Railway Station. Similarly, a picture of the 4th Guru Ram Das, on display for the past several years, was damaged beyond recognition and lighted cigarette was struck into it by Mr.
Khanna. The shitting and pissing on the picture was a part of the highly sacrilegious and provocative act of the mob, led by Harbans Lal Khanna. Mr. Khanna and other culprits were apprehended by the local administration for these nefarious and sacrilegious activities. It was on 2nd April 1984, that Mr. Khanna was gunned down in his shop in Amritsar city.

Now the SAD and the BJP are running their joint office from the Khanna ‘Samarak’ to support the election campaign of Mr. Arun Jaitely, their candidate from the Amritsar Lok sabha. Mr. Badal, SAD and the SGPC President Mr. Makkar must explain their position to the Sikhs and Punjabi’s, for the dire need to run their political office from a place to support the BJP, whose owner had humiliated, disrespected,desecrated and denigrated the replica of Darbar Sahib and the picture of most pious, revered and peace loving 4th Guru Ram Das ji. Needles to mention, Guru Ram Das ji was the creator and planner of the township of Ramdaspur, which later became the holy city of Amritsar in the year 1574.

The foolish and selfish act of Mr. Badal and the SAD, who claim to be the sole champions of the Sikh community, only goes to show their lust for power, disregarding such heinous activities of the BJP and its communal anti Sikh leaders like Mr. Khanna. Although, Mr. Badal has failed to clarify the conflicting ideological stances of the SAD and the BJP, on several contentious issues raised by me earlier, that include the BJP manifesto promise of Uniform Civil Code, which is totally contrary to Mr. Badal’s act of burning Article 25 (2) of the Constitution, demanding a separate religion status for the Sikhs, or the forcible eviction of 50,000 Sikh farming families from Gujarat by the Modi govt. Mr. Badal cannot ignore and escape the disrespect meted out to our 4th Guru and the Darbar Sahib, by fascist BJP and its leaders like Mr. Khanna.

He added,” If Mr. Badal can oppose the BJP in Haryana and support the INLD led by Chautala’s for personal friendship, I am sure he has the audacity to oppose the anti Sikh activities of a criminal and fascist leader like Mr. Harbans Lal Khanna and the BJP. I urge Mr. Badal to shift his office, snap ties with a party like the BJP and seek their apology. In the same breath, I also demand an unconditional public apology from Mr. Jaitely the BJP candidate for the sacrilegious act of his senior partymen like Mr. Khanna. What moral authority would he have to seek the votes of the people of Amritsar, after humiliating its founding father Guru Ram Das ji? In case he fails to do so, I would urge all peace loving and brave Punjabi’s to give a crushing defeat to Mr. Arun Jaitely in Amritsar and the BJP across the country, for theirnefarious anti Darbar Sahib, anti Guru Ram Das, anti Sikh and antiPunjab activities”.

AMRITSAR: AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Amritsar, an eye surgeon Dr Daljit Singh has congratulated Arun Jaitely on buying a swank bungalow in Amritsar’s most posh locality.

Talking to media here today he said, “ At least Mr Jaitely has shown some intent of striking roots unlike Capt Amarinder Singh. But Amritsar has had a bad experience with the previous MP, who was not only from Mr Jaitely’s Party but also in his avowed tutelage.

Dr Daljit Singh also had a sharp question for Mr Jaitely. “Public representatives should be like Caesar’s wife, they should not only be honest but perceived to be so too. There is a lot of speculation about this purchase. It would be good if Mr jaitely clarifies a few points.”

Dr Singh’s list of questions to Jaitely, is it true that the house has been purchased for a consideration of mere Rupees one Crore? Is this price a reality or there is more than meets the eye?

Is it true that the going market rate of a similar property in the locality would be upward of Rs 2.5 Crores?

Have the property prices really slumped or this is a special case?
What norms have become accepted in transactions involving property and whether these require to be made more transparent?

“Why don’t you not disclose the full purchase price to the public and put the speculation to rest”?

CHANDIGARH: Bathinda mp Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said the real character of Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP) candidate Manpreet Badal was being laid bare with people coming forward to testify against his atrocities in Bathinda, Gidderbaha and elsewhere.

In a statement here, Mrs Badal while welcoming the entry of Congress leaders including municipal councillor Anil Bhola into the SAD today, said the atrocities committed by the PPP chief while in office as Finance Minister were being uncovered now and asked Manpreet Badal to come clean on the allegations levelled against him.

The mp said Anil Bhola had clearly stated that the PPP chief had tried to grab 16 acres of ancestral land of the family in the heart of Bathinda in 2009. “Many other people in Gidderbaha have also complained of excesses at the hand of the PPP chief”, she added.

Mrs Badal said it was amazing that the PPP chief had not deemed it fit to provide any answer to the people about excesses committed by him. “He has been talking about the need to maintain probity in public life but it seems this adage does not apply to him. The fact of the matter is that he has misused his position as Finance Minister to arm twist people to obey his dictates”.

The Bathinda mp said what was common knowledge among the people of Gidderbaha was now becoming known to the people of the entire Bathinda constituency. “He may have been making high sounding speeches about ethics and morality on the lecture circuit but the people understand that he does not practice what he preaches”. She said it was this aware electorate which could differentiate which candidate and party was good or bad for them and who would determine the PPP candidate’s fate on April 30.

The SAD leader said as far as she was concerned, she let her work speak for itself. “When I first came to this constituency there was a demand for clean potable water which I have fulfilled by installing 652 RO plants and 357 water works in the entire constituency. She said similarly other demands of the people which had been met by her included establishment of 57 new grids and sub stations, establishment of a girls colleges at Mansa, upgradation of 24 schools and establishment of nine Model and seven Adarsh schools.

Mrs Badal said she had also played a key role in establishment of the Central University at Bathinda which was a boon to the area, a super speciality hospital and a multipurpose stadium at Bathinda, Sports School at Ghudda village besides a number of railway over bridges and under bridges. She said she had concentrated on each and every section of society by ensuring all beneficiaries could avail of social welfare schemes besides ensuring the distribution of 24,000 new tube well connections to farmers.

The MP said besides her career as a politician she had also tried to reach out to the people on a personal level through her “Nanhi Chaan” social initiative. She said this initiative had bettered the lot of thousands of women in her constituency.

AMRITSAR: Congress candidate from Amritsar Capt Amarinder Singh today questioned the silence of the BJP candidate Arun Jaitley on some crucial issues concerning Punjab saying he was trying to evade these issues deliberately.
“For last two weeks we have been reading your monotonous monologues that smack of self righteous egoistic arrogance touching almost everything under the sun but Punjab”, he told Jaitely why remarking, it either betrays of his (Jaitley’s) ignorance or arrogance.

He asked Jaitely to spell out his stand on the crucial Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal that concerns each and every Punjabi. “You just can’t evade the issue by saying it is sub-judice as people of Punjab would like to know yours and your parties opinion about it”, he said, while adding, Wwe will also like to know about your stand on inter-linking of rivers in Punjab”.

“We have had enough on developing Amritsar as a tourist centre, which for your kind information it already is, enough of developing it as a trade centre, generating employment and so on”, he said, while adding, “in fact your colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu new it better but was not allowed to do anything. Better seek his opinion before committing anything lest u cut a sorry figure like him, he advised Jaitley.

Referring to generating employment, Capt Amarinder told Jaitley, “Uou probably don’t know that 18700 industrial units shut down in Punjab during the last 7 years while you were in power in alliance with Akalis and will you please let us know whether you have some magic wand to waive it around and create investments and jobs”.

Capt Amrinder informed Jaitley that Punjab’s debt had already crossed Rs one lakh crores and it was continuously multiplying. “Your government is taking loans to pay interest on this debt and now RBI has refused any further overdraft to the state resulting in delayed salaries and pensions by over three months”, he told Jaitley while adding, “I hope you answer these questions rather than going on and on with the self centred monologues that have become so characteristic of your style”.
Capt Amarinder pointed out, he had been asking so many questions to Jaitley for such a long time. “But the gentleman (Jaitley) has chosen not to answer”, he said, while adding, “he is either ignorant and has no answers or he is arrogant and does not want to answer”.

Howvever Capt Amarinder Singh condemned the attack on the party’s rural district office headquarters here yesterday and warned against vitiating peaceful atmosphere.He also asked the police to immediately arrest the culprits lest it be believed that they were having the police patronage.

He said, “it was an act of sheer cowardice aimed at scaring our workers who bravely and courageously tried to confront the attackers who fled after firing the gunshots”.

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RAIKOT: Shiromani Akali Dal President and Deputy Chief Minister Punjab Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal today said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is a ‘Candy Kid’ who sees toffees, candies and chocolates in everything. Badal was commenting on the Rahul Gandhi’s statement of describing Gujrat Model as Toffee model.

Replying to media queries while campaigning for MKulwant Singh SAD-BJP candidate from Fatehgarh Sahib constituency, Mr. Badal said that Rahul Gandhi was still behaving like a child dreaming of sweets and toffees whereas Congress has did its best to present him as a youth icon for ten crore youths of the country, who have crossed the age of eighteen years and were casting their votes for the first time.

Describing Gujrat Model as a role economic model for every developing country of the world, Mr. Badal quipped that only an inexperienced leader of a party which has become synonymous with inflation and massive corruption could use such childish comments for development model of Gujarat.

Addressing the massive gatherings at Raikot and Amargarh, Badal said that Congress has nothing to claim on the development front and this was the reason its leadership was trying to divert the development agenda with negative politics. “Congress known for its three characteristics inflation, massive corruption and inefficiency, has put the country into the vicious circle of poverty, thus, it needs to be thrown out of this country in these Lok Sabha polls,” he added.

Describing NDA government as the only option to put Punjab and the nation on the path of rapid development, Badal appealed the voters to vote for NDA to affirm that this Government has to go democratically. He said that the common man suffered a lot by voting UPA into power for consecutive two terms. “The decade long rule of UPA was very troublesome for common people. This government, which has downgraded the country, has to go. Let us work for a progressive NDA government”, he added.

Lauding the achievements of Mr. Kulwant Singh, Shiromani Akali Dal president said that Mr. Kulwant Singh achieved heights through his dedication and honest style of working. He said that Shiromani Akali Dal chosen Mr. Kulwant Singh keeping in view his honesty, commitment and approach to all the sections of society. He expressed hope that SAD-BJP alliance would register victory at Fatehgarh Sahib Constituency with a margin of more than 20000 votes from all 9 vidhan sabha constituencies.

Adresssing the rally at Amargarh, Sukdev Singh Dhindsa said that NDA government during its rule kept the level of inflation under control besides boosting the economic growth. He said that it was also matter of record that only SAD-BJP governments brought pro people policies, whereas, Congress used its powers to loot the national resources.

Sukdev singh Libra, former Congress MP from Fatehgarh Sahib also addressed all the rallies in favour of SAD-BJP candidate. He said that he had joined Congress only to save the government of a Sikh Prime Minister but later he witnesses that Dr. Manmohan Singh were being used as ruber stamp by congress leadership. He said that Congress has a very strong anti sikh and anti Punjab lobby that did not allowed Dr. Singh to take any decision in favour of Punjab. “This was the reason of my homecoming to Shiromani Akali Dal. Latest disclosures put stamp on my words and now it is time for all of us to completely reject this party to ensure development of Punjab.

AMRITSAR: “A leading news channel yesterday gave the results of their tracker opinion poll. This poll gave to the BJP 226 seats in parliament and to the NDA an absolute majority of 275 seats. This is the first opinion poll to have given an absolute majority to the NDA”, says senior BJP leader Arun Jaitely candidate for Amritsar Lok Sabha.

Continuing further he said, “I believe that this poll has captured the emerging trend. As polling date approaches closer in every phase, the groundswell becomes clearer. There are two clear trends in the groundswell, its anger against the Congress and the hope in Narendra Modi. My own view is that the actual poll always results in the front runner getting more than what is projected”.

“As the Congress shrinks further, its campaign has resulted in a naught. The campaign is too abstract and confused. The message is not clear. The Congress Party changed track yesterday. Rahul Gandhi led campaign and the accompanying advertisements were given a backseat. The Congress President Sonia Gandhi herself decided to lead from the front. She addressed the country by booking television time on all channels” added he.

Adding further he said, “The desperation was clear. Speeches, interviews and press conferences of political leaders are always covered by the media. The Congress President does not have to buy television time in order to have her speech conveyed to the people. The idea was to change the principle communicator of the party from the son to the mother. This was an expression of lack of confidence in Rahul Gandhi, in as much as his speeches to the people were not working. Messages on paid television time cannot last minute change the electoral agenda. Price rise, mismanagement of the economy, corruption, dilution of the office of Prime Minister cannot be a part of either ‘Bhartiyata’ or ‘Hindustaniat’. This message will not click. The only message yesterday’s speech of Sonia Gandhi telecasted on paid television time is that Congress party’s new slogan now is “Mein Nahin Mom”.

AMRITSAR: “The Congress appears to be getting more and more desperate”, says Amritsar Lok Sabha Candidate Arun Jaitley. In a statement here today he said, “Two national papers carry reports what is happening within the Congress. The first report suggested that the desperation was so high that in order to confine Modi, Priyanka Gandhi had agreed to contest Varanasi seat against Narendra Modi. Another paper reports that the Chief Ministers of the Congress have been told that if you cannot win seats, you will be replaced”.

Continuing further he said, “If both the reports are true, they only confirm how far cut off from reality the Congress has been. The Gandhis are under siege. The situation is akin to what happened to Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi in the run up to the 1977 general elections. Economic populism did not work. The family charisma has faded away. But a party which is merely a crowd around a family probably felt that the current leader in the family has not clicked. The real solution to the problem is to make Congress a more structured party. The Congress party solution is, if one incumbent in the family fails, the alternative can only be another member of the family. In an earlier write-up, I had almost predicted this. I only wish that the desperate solution of Varanasi had been actually implemented. The country now needs the myth of the other family member also to be exploded”.

Alleging further he said, “The problem is not with the Congress Chief Ministers. If the Congress loses, it is not because of its Chief Ministers. It is squarely because of the quality of government they ran and the non-inspirational personality of Rahul Gandhi. When the problem is within the family, why is the Congress looking for scapegoats outside”?

Talking about his rival candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency Jaitleysaid, “Captain Sahib has an unbeatable capacity to singularly lower the level of political discourse. In a civilized issue based election, he is a fish out of water. My advice to all my friends, supporters and well wishers in Amritsar is that we must fight this election with elements of civility, dignity and keep it issue based. An increasing desire is being witnessed in Amritsar for Narendra Modi to be the next Prime Minister. I can also smell the positive attitude of the people towards me and the issues which we are raising. We must not deviate from this agenda.

Jaitley said, “The Captain had called me an outsider. Unlike him, I have hundred per cent Majha blood in my veins. I had promised that this being my ancestral town, I will have a residential base here. I have implemented that promise. What about Captain himself ? Will the people of Amritsar have to wait for days altogether outside his Patiala palace in order to meet him”?

AMRITSAR: “Why is it that Rahul Gandhi has not been able to click as a leader acceptable to this country? This is the question every Congress member must reflect upon”, says Amritsar BJP Lok Sabha candidate Arun Jaitley.

“Rahul’s communication skills are at best modest. Let alone the average common citizen, his ability to inspire even the Congress cadre is questionable. His understanding of economy is a suspect. But latest desperation that he has displayed makes one wonder whether his level of discourse can at all be prime ministerial”, added Jaitley in his campaign diary today.

Talking about marriage issue of Modi, Jaitley said, “In an affidavit before the Returning Officer in Vadodra, Narendra Modi disclosed the name of his “wife”. This fact is sufficiently in public domain that Narendra Modi and the lady were made to solemnize a marriage as young children. They never lived together. Modi dedicated himself to spiritual and political activities. The lady lived with her parents, and worked as school teacher.

By all accounts, the comments of lady have been extremely dignified. The requirement of filing an affidavit with the nomination form was directed by the Supreme Court as a part of the voter’s right to know facts even about the private lives of their candidates. Since the marriage was never acted upon in accordance with the requirements of the then law, Narendra Modi was earlier leaving the column regarding the name and assets of his spouse blank. It is only in September, 2013 that the Supreme Court clarified that no column of the affidavit could be left blank. Narendra Modi, therefore, made a truthful disclosure. Since when has declaration of a lawful relationship, whether acted upon or not, become a political issue”?

“Indian politics has an unstated code of conduct. Ordinarily, we don’t drag families and ladies into controversy. Rahul Gandhi is guilty of breaching that code. He must remember that the disturbed matrimonial relationship of a former Indian Prime Minister was never a political issue. How many current senior Congressmen are in illicit relationships and yet have paraded their wives only for photo opportunities during nominations. Surely if people have a right to know about the “legal” relationship of Modi, they also have a right to know about the illicit relationships of Congressmen. The latter is more relevant for people’s right to know about the ethics of their candidates”, Jaitley quipped.

“However, devoid of serious political issues and understanding of those issues, Rahul Gandhi has reflected his immaturity and desperation by making the ‘Modi marriage’ as a political issue”, Jaitley concluded.

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Congress has raised questions over running of joint office of SAD and BJP from the Khanna Smark in Amritsar,named after late Hasrbans Lal Khanna led a mob of disgruntled elements on 14th Feburary 1984, at Amritsar during a ‘Bandh’, to indulge in nefarious anti Sikh activities.

Mr. Sukhpal Singh Khaira Chief Spokesman of PPCC in a statement said here that Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal and THE Shiromani Akali Dal must explain their position for running a joint SAD-BJP office from Harbans Lal Khanna ‘Samark’, the memorial of a man responsible for committing a nefarious, provocative and highly sacrilegious act against the 4th Guru Ram Das ji. He added that Arun Jaitely BJP candidate from Amritsar must explain how he deserves the votes of Amritsar residents after humiliating its founder? (copy of the White Paper issued by the SGPC depicting his anti Sikh role attached).

Khaira stated that it was extremely humiliating, shameful and deceitful for Badal and the SAD to run a joint SAD-BJP office from the Harbans Lal Khanna ‘Samarak’ at Amritsar and seek votes for Jaitely, in view of extremely derogatory, provocative and highly sacrilegious act committed by Mr. Harbans Lal Khanna against the 4th Guru Ram Das ji.

As brought out by the official White Paper issued by the SGPC, Mr. Harbans Lal Khanna led a mob of disgruntled elements on 14th Feburary 1984, at Amritsar during a ‘Bandh’, to indulge in nefarious anti Sikh activities.

As per the White Paper, Khanna then Ex-MLA and District President of the Amritsar unit of the BJP, broke a replica of the Darbar Sahib at the Railway Station. Similarly, a picture of the 4th Guru Ram Das, on display for the past several years, was damaged beyond recognition and lighted cigarette was struck into it by Mr.
Khanna. The shitting and pissing on the picture was a part of the highly sacrilegious and provocative act of the mob, led by Harbans Lal Khanna. Mr. Khanna and other culprits were apprehended by the local administration for these nefarious and sacrilegious activities. It was on 2nd April 1984, that Mr. Khanna was gunned down in his shop in Amritsar city.

Now the SAD and the BJP are running their joint office from the Khanna ‘Samarak’ to support the election campaign of Mr. Arun Jaitely, their candidate from the Amritsar Lok sabha. Mr. Badal, SAD and the SGPC President Mr. Makkar must explain their position to the Sikhs and Punjabi’s, for the dire need to run their political office from a place to support the BJP, whose owner had humiliated, disrespected,desecrated and denigrated the replica of Darbar Sahib and the picture of most pious, revered and peace loving 4th Guru Ram Das ji. Needles to mention, Guru Ram Das ji was the creator and planner of the township of Ramdaspur, which later became the holy city of Amritsar in the year 1574.

The foolish and selfish act of Mr. Badal and the SAD, who claim to be the sole champions of the Sikh community, only goes to show their lust for power, disregarding such heinous activities of the BJP and its communal anti Sikh leaders like Mr. Khanna. Although, Mr. Badal has failed to clarify the conflicting ideological stances of the SAD and the BJP, on several contentious issues raised by me earlier, that include the BJP manifesto promise of Uniform Civil Code, which is totally contrary to Mr. Badal’s act of burning Article 25 (2) of the Constitution, demanding a separate religion status for the Sikhs, or the forcible eviction of 50,000 Sikh farming families from Gujarat by the Modi govt. Mr. Badal cannot ignore and escape the disrespect meted out to our 4th Guru and the Darbar Sahib, by fascist BJP and its leaders like Mr. Khanna.

He added,” If Mr. Badal can oppose the BJP in Haryana and support the INLD led by Chautala’s for personal friendship, I am sure he has the audacity to oppose the anti Sikh activities of a criminal and fascist leader like Mr. Harbans Lal Khanna and the BJP. I urge Mr. Badal to shift his office, snap ties with a party like the BJP and seek their apology. In the same breath, I also demand an unconditional public apology from Mr. Jaitely the BJP candidate for the sacrilegious act of his senior partymen like Mr. Khanna. What moral authority would he have to seek the votes of the people of Amritsar, after humiliating its founding father Guru Ram Das ji? In case he fails to do so, I would urge all peace loving and brave Punjabi’s to give a crushing defeat to Mr. Arun Jaitely in Amritsar and the BJP across the country, for theirnefarious anti Darbar Sahib, anti Guru Ram Das, anti Sikh and antiPunjab activities”.

GURDASPUR: BJP Lok Sabha candidate for Gurdaspur Constituency and seasoned politician Vinod Khanna today replied to the allegations made by his opponent Partap Singh Bajwa of Congress that Vinod Khanna doesn’t possess a local address.

Standing right before his house in Pathankot, an confident Khanna mocked for his words. He said ‘Bajwa calls me a paratrooper. But little does he know what a paratrooper means. Paratroopers are sent on a special mission. This special mission that I am on, to defeat Bajwa is going to cost him dearly,’ ‘If only Bajwa had visited constituency at least once, he would have noticed my humble abode and the local address,’ he said pointing at his house located in Pathankot area of Gurdaspur constituency.

‘Bajwa was so busy partying in Delhi, that he paid zero attention to the constituency. Where was he in the last 5 years? what work has he done ? No wonder he was rated as one of the worst performing MP’s by a survey recently,’ he added. In a survey done by a leading news paper in the national capital, Congress candidate and PCC Chief Pratap Bajwa was ranked to be one of the worst performing MPs in the 14th Lok Sabha. Khanna has been a three time MP from Gurdaspur and was a senior minister in PM Vajpayee cabinet.

CaptAmrinderSingh

AMRITSAR: Congress candidate from Amritsar Capt Amarinder Singh today filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India seeking to include the cost of the house the BJP candidate Arun Jaitely purchased, as election expense since it is aimed at garnering support from the people as they have been considering him as an outsider.

The complaint filed through his Election Agent, Karanpal Singh Sekhon says, “The said house has been purchased by Arun Jaitley as part of his election campaign, in what he perceives is a fulfillment of a promise made during his campaign speeches to the electorate of Amritsar”.

It adds, “the house has been purchased as an integral part of his campaign efforts and strategy to establish to the electorate of Amritsar that he is not ‘an outsider’ and so this ought not to be an impediment in their mind should they choose to vote for him”.

It points out that the party symbols, flags and other material being affixed to such house would show that it has been specifically purchased and is being used for such election purpose and campaign.

Suggesting that the actual cost of the house should be much more than Rs one crore, it says, this 340 square yard, five bedroom house in Green Avenue colony, which is one of the posh colonies of Amritsar merits some verification as the market value may be many times more, stated in the notice.

Referring to the EC rules, it says, “Para 18.9.1 of the Handbook for Returning Officers, 2014 which would require that such expenditure of the purchase of this house and its running expenses be reflected in the day to day account expense register maintained by Arun Jaitley, failure to do so in terms of Para 18.9.2 being a major default and an election offence under Section 171, The Indian Penal Code, 1860”

It also refers to the Section 77(3) read with Rule 99 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, which provides that the maximum election expenditure which can be expended by a candidate is Rs. 70,00,000/- and violation of this would amount to a corrupt practice under Section123(6) of The Representation of People Act 1951.
“If Shri Arun Jaitley is admitting in public domain that he has purchased this house for Rs. 1 crore ( the actual value may be higher) then he is, by admission already in breach of Section consequences thereof must follow and no further campaign / election expenses can take place/ be permitted”, it adds.

HAMIRPUR: Rajinder Rana congress parliamentary candidate from Hamirpur filed his nomination today alongwith his thousands of supporters.
Chief Minister, virbhadra singh, industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri, HPCC president Sukhivinder Singh Sukhu, Chairman state level planning, development and 20 point implementation programme committee, Thakur Ram Lal, MLA Kuldeep Kumar, Anita Verma, Urmil Thakur and other distinguished luminaries were present on the occasion.
Later addressing a gathering, chief minister said that the previous BJP government under the patronage of prem kumar dhumal the former chief minister had broken all records of corruption. The ‘thekedari pratha’ flourished under the BJP regime and due impetus was given by dhumal to his family keeping aside the interest of the general public, remarked the chief minister.
He said that Prem kumar dhumal and his son Anurag Dhumal were suffering from HPCA phobia and were so much engrossed into HPCA that instead of discussing healthy politics they have made HPCA their prestige issue. He said that Prem kumar dhumal was himself Chief Patron of HPCA and his son being the President had made HPCA it a family affairand instead of sports body, and dhumals made use of the same for their political gain.
He said that why Dhumal was fearing the ongoing investigations, as only those found guilty in the mess would be dealt with as per the law and those who were clean need not to worry, said virbhadra singh. He asserted that the Hamirpur lok sabha seat would certainly be won by congress candidate rajinder rana who enjoys the support of the common man and committed for the welfare of the people of the area. He said that rajinder rana views politics from the angle of serving the people and not for his own benefit as was evident from the fact that he sacrificed his four years of MLAship for serving the people of Hamirpur in more better and effective manner.
Chief minister said that even Murli manohar Joshi the veteran BJP leader has also admitted that there was no Modi wave in the country and the Gujarat model of development was not applicable to for all states. Chief minister said that it was opposite on the tounge of prem kumar dhumal and his son who don’t even hesitate praising Modi. chief minister said that this time there won’t be any ‘if and buts’ but the people will decide and differentiate between the good and the bad. The BJP has routed the economy of the state during its regime and now to hide their sins were raising up baseless issues.
Industries minister, Mukesh Agnihotri, and other leaders also addressed the gathering on the occasion.

AMRITSAR:AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple, whatever AAP was doing, only for the wellbeing of the people of nation.

Talking to media, about the anti Sikh riots of 1984, Kejriwal said that party was trying best to get justice for the victim family.

He said that people working for the party are volunteers but certainly not shrewd politicians like others.

He claimed that his party adhere the real policy of Gandhism which was allegedly distorted by other politicians. He said that they would show the people what was the real “message of Gandhi ji”.

Talking about his resignation being Delhi Chief Minister, Kejriwal said, “Resignation was submitted purely on the basis of principles. People, who are telling me “Bhagora”, knew nothing about “Tayag” (sacrifice)”.

Taking dig at BJP he said, “What BJP people knew about Tayag. Today even a peon is not ready to forgo his position”

At the same time he said, “Lord Rama went to exile for fourteen years while leaving his kingdom. Thanks God BJP was not there at that time, otherwise they would have described Lord Rama as “Bhogra””.

Launching scathing attack on political outfits, he said, “Congress and BJP are plundering the nation as greedy for power”.
He claimed that his party may get 50 seats after poll results.

Attacking at big shot of BJP and Congress he said that defeat of Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi from Amethi and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narndera Modi from Varanasi was necessary. He informed that AAP party would leave no stone unturned. He said that both were accountable for communalism (Sampradiekta).

Earlier, in the morning, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple here today. He was accompanied by his followers including Ludhiana AAP candidate Advocate Harvinder Singh Phoolka and Punjabi singer Jassi.

Before going to Golden Temple, there was a impressive road show of Kejriwal, passed through the various streets and main bazaars of the city including Company Bagh, Hall Bazar and finally reached at Golden Temple.
Arvind’s road show caused a veritable traffic Jam as he neared the temple.

Throughout the road show, Kejriwa remained in the open jeep which moved all the way in “human chain” created by the AAP volunteers and activists.

Kejriwal during the road show was shaking hands with people fearlessly, but he was under the hawk eyes of volunteers to avoid any untoward incident. There was tight security in mufti by policemen.

In Golden Temple, Kejriwal, avoided shortcut like other politicians to enter in the sanctum sanctorum as choose the routine route like humble devotee. He also paid obeisance at Akal Takhat (highest Sikh temporal seat).

During Road show, Kejriwal was urging his activists repeatedly to remain within the discipline.

An ophthalmologist octogenarian Dr. Daljit Singh is AAP candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha elections was also with Kejriwal in the road show.

AMRITSAR: To a question that Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal had said yesterday that he will leave politics if he (Capt Amarinder) returned to Amritsar after April 30, former Chief Minister and Congress candidate from Amritsar Capt Amarinder Singh shot back, “I am sorry, he will again be badly disappointed”.

“Earlier he used to say that I will not even come to Amritsar and won’t even be seen during the campaigning and now he has changed his statement”, he pointed out, while adding, “This is not unexpected of a mind that is thoroughly hallucinated for multiple reasons and I am sure he will not resign from politics after he sees me in Amritsar even after April 30, because he is a congenital liar like his father”.

AMRITSAR: Punjab State Services Federation, a conglomerate of various employees’ unions of the state, has declared its support for Capt Amarinder Singh. A delegation of the federation met Capt Amarinder here and conveyed its support to him.

Capt Amarinder expressed his gratitude to the employees and regretted that they had to face so many hardships as they were not getting their salaries on time. He assured, he will ensure that at least they got their salaries on time.

The president of the federation, Surinderjit Singh Walia, who is also the president of the PSEB Employees Federation, said while the Akali-BJP alliance had failed on all fronts, the employees were the worst victims.

He pointed out, the employees have not got their salaries which is their rightful due for three months. They are talking of development and promising so many things but the reality is that they have not the money even to pay salaries to their staff, he pointed out.

Walia said, it was a unanimous decision of all the employees unions to support Capt Amarinder Singh to ensure that he raises his voice in support of the employees.

Others present on the occasion included Nirmal Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Baldev Singh, Harjinder Singh and Ravinder Singh.

CHANDIGARH: Total 253 candidates remained in the electoral battle for 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab as 27 candidates have withdrawn their nomination on April 11 and 12.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Supreet Singh Gulati today said that 455 nominations were filed by the 350 candidates, which were reduced to 280 after the scrutiny of nominations. He further said that now after the withdrawal of nominations on April 11 and 12, 253 candidates would contest for 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab.
He said that Hoshiarpur Parliamentary Constituency have 17 candidates, Ludhiana 22, Fatehgarh Sahib 15, Ferozpur 15, Gurdaspur 13, Anandpur Sahib 18, Khadoor Sahib 17, Patiala 20, Sangrur 21,Bathinda 29, Faridkot 19, Jalandhar 24 and Amritsar 23. Bathinda parliamentary constituency have maximum 29 contesting candidates whereas in Gurdaspur only 13 candidates remained in the fray.
It may be mention here that Independent candidate Mr. Simarjeet Singh Bains from Ludhiana constituency has been allotted Letter Box as election symbol and Mr. Simaranjit Singh Mann SAD-A was allotted Hockey and Ball.

jaitley

AMRITSAR: SAD-BJP Alliance candidate Mr. Arun Jaitly, claimed that congress is shifting down to third position in the whole country and same in Amritsar.

“The rousing support as a party candidate I am geeting from Amritsar’s rural area as well as city, said Jaitely, while addressing rally in Attari region.

Jaitley stated that the he has been visiting the village of Amritsar constituency for the last several days and the huge welcome and response of the voters has made him feel that this constituency will also push Congress to 3rd positions like other part of the country.

Jaitley applauded farmers of Attari Border Areas and said that brave farmers faced 1965 and 1971 war with utmost bravery and also during black days of militancy.

Jaitley posed a question to Captain Amrinder Singh that what central government has given to Amritsar during its rule in the country form last 10 years.

He further said that when Atal Bihari Vajpai was Prime Minister, all the facilities were given to the farmers through Prakash Singh Badal Government of Border Areas of Attari.

He appealed to voters to ask questions to captain that what he has done for the people of Amritsar during this Chief Minister ship and why he is befooling them with false promises.

AMRITSAR: Congress candidate from Amritsar Capt Amarinder Singh today paid homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives on April 13, 1919. He was accompanied by senior party leaders including Mr RL Bhatia, MLAs Raj Kumar Verka, OP Soni, Gurjeet Aujla and others.

Capt Amarinder paid floral tributes to the martyrs. He said, this place reminded every countryman about the heavy price the people of India paid for getting freedom.

The former Chief Minister interacted with the people who included both locals as well as outside tourists. Many people asked him various questions on different issues.

AMRITSAR:Congress candidate Capr Amarinder Singh today had a dig at the Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal for selling fake dreams to people of Amritsar about Arun Jaitley becoming the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister who can cure all the ills inflicted by them on Punjab.

Addressing a series of public meetings in the villages Thobah, Tehri and Chugawaan falling under Ajnala and Raja Sansi assembly segments, Capt Amarinder said, first of all Jaitely is not going to win as is more than obvious from the mood of the people of Amritsar. “Probably Badals believe that Jaitley either has a magic wand or has got some currency note-printing machine and he will flush them with money”, he remarked.

He pointed out, during the last seven years since they took over, Punjab could not manage to get a single project from the Government of India worth its name. “The one they got was shelved since they could not provide the matching grants”, he disclosed.

Replying to Badal’s allegations that this was because the Congress led UPA government discriminated against the Akali-BJP government in Punjab, Capt Amarinder retorted with facts and figures to nail his (Badal’s) lies.

He revealed that between 2007 and 2013 the same Congress led UPA government had provided Rs 12,000 crores to Gujarat ruled by the BJP, Rs 8000 crores to Karnataka which was mostly ruled by the BJP during this period, Rs 12,000 crores to West Bengal which was earlier ruled by the Left parties and later by the Trinamool Congress, both opposed to the Congress. “If UPA had no problem with these states why should it discriminate against Punjab?” he asked.

At the same time the former Chief Minister explained, this money was granted to the states after they submitted their proposals and projects with a provision for the matching grants. Compared to that, the Congress leader added, Punjab submitted just two projects which got cancelled since they could not provide the matching grants.

20140410 Proper hand washing Sydney Royal_1  20140410 Proper hand washing Sydney Royal_2

With the change of season, NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has reminded people of the importance of correct hand washing to help reduce the risk of food poisoning and food-borne illness.

Ms Hodgkinson today visited the NSW Food Authority’s stand at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which has made correct hand washing its theme this year.

“More than four million cases of food poisoning are reported in Australia each year and poor personal hygiene has been identified as a common cause,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Hand washing is the most simple and yet the most effective means of reducing your risk of food poisoning.

“If you start with dirty hands then none of the other measures matter – before you prepare or serve food ensure your hands are clean.”

Ms Hodgkinson said one of the NSW Food Authority’s golden rules of food safety is to ‘keep it clean’.

“At the top of that list is the reminder to wash and dry your hands thoroughly before beginning to prepare or eat any meal – even a snack,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Good and thorough hand washing removes dirt, leftover food, grease and harmful bacteria and viruses from your hands preventing them from spreading to food, work surfaces and equipment.”

Visitors to the NSW Food Authority’s Easter Show stand will be guided in correct hand washing techniques using a special gel, and then assess their effectiveness under a UV viewing area.

“This is a fun and interactive way of explaining the science of food safety,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“It is especially important to educate children about the importance of washing their hands, especially prior to handling food.

The NSW Food Authority’s stand is located in the ‘Food Farm’ section of the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and is open daily until April 23.

Visit www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au for more information about hand washing and food safety.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner and local MPs Mark Coure and John Flowers have toured the new $39 million St George Hospital emergency department, which is nearing completion.

Mrs Skinner, Mr Coure (Member for Oatley) and Mr Flowers (Member for Rockdale) inspected the emergency department, which is fully funded by the NSW Liberal & Nationals Government.

The trio then visited the hospital’s maternity unit to open a $27,000 infant resuscitation cot which will provide vital care to newborns experiencing problems after birth.

“The people of St George have watched with great interest as their new emergency department has taken shape,” Mrs Skinner said.

“Having walked through it, I share their excitement. It will be a wonderful facility for patients and staff alike.”

The new emergency department is about 75 per cent complete, with partition wall framing and services such as ducts and pipes in most rooms.

Mrs Skinner said the new emergency department – which is due to open in October – will boost capacity at a time of unprecedented growth.

“Once the emergency department is complete it will have expanded treatment areas to improve patient flow – not just in the emergency department but throughout the hospital,’’ Mrs Skinner said.

The new emergency department will provide two designated fast track zones, one for adults and the other for paediatrics.

The adult fast track zone features 14 treatment spaces (eight treatment spaces and six consultation rooms) and is designed for lower acuity patients who can be diagnosed and treated quickly.

At completion, the new emergency department will also include:

  • five resuscitation bays
  • an acute hall with 34 treatment spaces
  • an Emergency Medical Unit
  • relocation of Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre (PECC)
  • satellite imaging
  • expanded waiting and triage
  • eight space off-street ambulance drop off zone
  • potential for additional storeys to be added in future redevelopment stages.

Following the tour of the new emergency department, Mrs Skinner, Mr Coure and Mr Flowers visited the maternity unit to open the infant resuscitation cot.

The cot, valued at $27,000, has an inbuilt oxygen and air outlet for newborns who experience complications immediately after birth. This can prevent long-term damage to the brain.

“I was pleased to be able to purchase the cot from the Humpty Dumpty Foundation as it will provide invaluable, specialised care for St George Hospital’s smallest patients,” Mrs Skinner said.

Mr Coure and Mr Flowers welcomed the progress on the new emergency department.

Late last year the pair joined Mrs Skinner in announcing $800,000 to progress planning on a major redevelopment of St George Hospital, which would expand intensive care, high dependency and cardiac care services, create new operating theatres and enhance inpatient wards.

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to view our new emergency department as it enters the final stages of construction,’’ Mr Coure said.

“I am proud to serve in the NSW Liberal & Nationals Government which is delivering vital health infrastructure projects such as this across the state.”

Mr Flowers said: “The new emergency department will be a state-of-the-art facility that will raise the standard of healthcare in the St George district. It will ensure St George Hospital can deliver frontline care to our growing community for many years to come.”

Construction of the St George Hospital emergency department will be complete in the second half of this year. It is expected it will open to the public in October.

Other major hospital redevelopments currently underway across Sydney include: Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospital ($324 million), Campbelltown Hospital ($139 million) and Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital $120 million).

Parramatta is set to host regular sittings of the state’s new super tribunal, NCAT, Attorney General Greg Smith SC announced today.

“From 30 June, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) will sit at Parramatta three days a week after securing a hearing room in the Commonwealth Law Courts building,” Mr Smith said.

“This is great news for Western Sydney and consolidates Parramatta’s position as the state’s largest legal hub outside of Sydney’s CBD.”

“It follows confirmation that the Court of Criminal Appeal will sit in Parramatta for two weeks in July and August, with the Chief Justice of NSW Tom Bathurst to be among the judges presiding over the hearings.”

“Chief Justice Bathurst has also agreed to examine the possibility of regular Supreme Court sittings in Parramatta and is awaiting a formal proposal from the local legal profession.”

NCAT began operating on January 2 and has conducted more than 28,000 hearings in its first 100 days.

It is a one stop shop for specialist tribunal services in NSW, dealing with a diverse range of matters including tenancy disputes, consumer complaints, professional disciplinary hearings and applications for guardianship.

“While the old Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal sat in Parramatta until early 2012, many of the tribunals that have joined NCAT have never conducted regular hearings in Sydney’s west,” Mr Smith said.

“NCAT will provide the people of Western Sydney with quick and cost effective access to justice.”

“Tribunal proceedings are typically less formal than a traditional court hearing and often achieve earlier resolutions.”

It is anticipated that up to 40 matters could be listed on each hearing day in Parramatta.

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Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the NSW Government has completed Opal electronic ticketing on the train network and will now move to the rollout on buses.

Opal is now live at 66 extra stations on the Central Coast, Hunter and Blue Mountains lines today – completing the rollout of Opal on all Sydney Ferries services and 308 suburban and intercity train stations.

“This is a landmark day for public transport customers. We have provided electronic ticketing for any customer travelling on the entire Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink intercity networks,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I am pleased to announce we’re now shifting our attention to buses and from Monday 14 April, customers on 24 bus routes in northern Sydney’s Kuring-gai and Hornsby region will have access to all the benefits of the Opal card.”

The extra routes provide services to the Berowra, Hornsby, Macquarie University, Gordon and Chatswood areas and carry 3.6 million customer trips every year, travelling more than 5.1 million kilometres.

“I have always said the bus rollout is the most challenging phase – technologically and operationally,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Now that we have completed the rollout of Opal onto trains and ferries, we can focus on introducing Opal for customers on more than 5,000 buses around Sydney and the regions.”

The bus rollout on Monday 14 April will extend the Opal bus customer trial, launched in September last year, from the 594 route to every route from the Transdev-operated Mount Kuring-gai bus depot covering bus services  556 to 599.

With Opal, bus customers simply tap on when they’re boarding the bus, and tap off as they’re stepping off. Opal automatically calculates bus fares based on on-board GPS technology, accurately measuring the straight line distance from tap on to tap off.

Opal fares for buses include:

  • Cheaper adult single bus fares by up to 9 per cent compared to MyZone tickets;
  • Opal Weekly Travel Reward, earned with 8 paid journeys on Opal making bus travel twice a day Monday to Friday cheaper than a MyBus TravelTen;
  • A more customer-friendly bus-to-bus transfer fare system – if your transfer is within 60 minutes you will only pay one fare for your whole journey.

Because Opal is precise and the current system isn’t, there will be some examples where a journey’s fare moves to a different fare band, and some customers will pay less.

“Opal provides cheaper fares and means you never have to worry about queuing for a ticket or being caught out with no coins again,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Opal is now accepted on all Sydney Ferries services from Manly to Parramatta and all train stations from Bathurst to Bondi Junction and Dungog to Bomaderry plus the 333 bus route from Circular Quay to North Bondi and the 594 bus route.

From this week, the Child/Youth Opal card has been available, with all the benefits, at half the price.

“The new green coloured Child/Youth Opal card works in the same easy and convenient way as the Adult Opal card, with child fares at 50 per cent of an adult fare,” Ms Berejiklian said.

To order an Adult or Child/Youth card go to www.opal.com.au or call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL). You can also visit the Transport for NSW stall at the Sydney Easter Show and get your Opal card on the spot. 

Minister for Sport and Recreation Gabrielle Upton says parents seeking school holiday activities for their kids should take advantage of the ‘Kids in the Park’ program in Sydney Olympic Park from 12-27 April.

With the Easter school holidays rapidly approaching, the unrivalled program offers a wide range of activities, ranging from archery and acrobatics to skateboard clinics and writing workshops.

“There are more than 50 separate fun activities in the ‘Kid’s in the Park’ program across the Easter school holidays, many of which are low-cost or free,” Ms Upton said.

“Working parents are often looking for activities that keep their kids healthy, engaged and entertained, which is sometimes a difficult trifecta to achieve.

“The ‘Kid’s in the Park’ program offers something for everyone and is perfect for parents and kids of all ages.

“Kids’ minds and bodies can stay active and involved with activities ranging from futsal camps and writing workshops, to digital filmmaking and skateboard clinics.”

Minister Upton added ‘Kids in the Park’ activities run throughout the school holidays and cater for kids as young as two years old up to 18 year olds.

“As both a Minister and a mother, I understand just how important it is to keep our kids physically active,” Ms Upton said.

“Programs like ’Kids in the Park’ provide a wide variety of opportunities to keep kids occupied and amused these school holidays, without breaking the budget.”

In addition to the ‘Kids in the Park’ program, Sydney Olympic Park will also be playing host to the 2014 Sydney Royal Easter Show (10-23 April), giving kids the chance to experience a taste of the country in the city.

For information and bookings, please visit the website at www.kidsinthepark.com.au

 

ACTIVITIES FOR ADVENTUROUS KIDS

ACTIVITY WHERE DATE COST
ANZ Stadium Explore Tour ANZ Stadium Daily (Closed Good Friday and Easter Sunday) C $18.50, A $28.50 Family (2A+4C) $70 GOOD-VALUE!
Clue Trails Download map from website Daily FREE!
Clue Trails at the Armory Visitor Centre and  Newington Armory Weekends FREE!
Crack the Code Download map from website Daily FREE!
Crack the Code at the Armory Visitor Centre and  Newington Armory Weekends FREE! ($5 refundable deposit)
Discovery Trails Download map from website Daily FREE!
Fizzics – Fantastic Flight Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 22 April $25
Fizzics – Gross and Gory Science Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 14, 22  April $25
Fizzics – Exploring Science Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 14 April $25
Fizzics – Lego Robotics 1 & 2 Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 15, 23, 24 April $40
Fizzics – Liquid Nitrogen Show Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 14 April $15
Lodge ‘Wild West’ Residential and Day Camp NEW! Lodge, Newington Armory 14-17 April 4days / 3 nights: $340,

Per day $70 (meals included)

Riding the Rails Newington Armory Sundays $5 GOOD-VALUE!
Segway Fun Rides Newington Armory Daily (Closed Good Friday and Easter Monday) Child/concession/student from $35 and Adult $45
Space Racing for Kids Next to lillies on the Park Café, Bicentennial Park 14 April $10 for members $13 non-members – Discounts available to group bookings!
Urban Jungle Adventure Park Aquatic Centre Daily Child/Adult $35 per person incl pool entry
Working at the Armory Armory Visitor Centre 16 April $5 per person Child must attend with an adult

 

ACTIVITIES FOR EASTER KIDS 

ACTIVITY WHERE DATE COST
Sydney Royal Easter Show Sydney Showground 10-23 April Child from $21.10 Pre-purchase tickets for savings!
iSkate @ Monster Monster Skatepark Daily at the Easter Show $30 for lesson incl. gear or $20 for drop in ride
Kick @ Monster Monster Skatepark Daily at the Easter Show $30 for lesson incl. gear or $20 for drop in ride
Project Freeride @ Monstor Monster Skatepark Daily at the Easter Show $30 for lesson  incl. gear or $20 for drop in ride

 

ACTIVITIES FOR SPORTY / ACTIVE KIDS 

ACTIVITY WHERE DATE COST
AC Milan Junior Soccer Camp Athletic Centre 22-24 April $325 for 3 days (Incl. official kit – shirt, shorts and sock)
AFL Clinic Tom Wills Oval 24 April $5
All Day Holiday Recreational Program Sports Centre 14–17, 22–24 April $54 per day
 

Archery — Aim For Fun

 

Archery Centre Weekends (closed Easter Sunday) $22
Archery — Kids On Target and Little Archers Archery Centre 14 April – 25 April (excl Anzac Day) $16 GOOD-VALUE!
Bike Trails Bicentennial Park and Newington Armory Daily FREE! Bike hire available
BMX and Mountain X Monster BMX and Mountain X, Hill Rd Daily FREE!
Cheer and Dance Sports Centre 14-16 April $29
Circus Skills Circus Arts,

Aquatic Centre

Daily Monday – Friday (closed Good Friday and ANZAC Day) $25
Disc Golf Newington Armory Weekends FREE! ($5 refundable deposit)
Diving Aquatic Centre 14-17 and 22-24 April 5-10yrs $22 11-18yrs $28
DrumzBuzz Newington Armory 12-24 April $19
Flying Trapeze Circus Arts,

Aquatic Centre

Daily (Closed Good Friday and ANZAC Day) $60
G.A.M.E.S Sports Centre 23 April $29
Gym Sports Sports Centre 14-16 April $22
Laser AQ Aquatic Centre 15,17,22 & 24 April $30
Martial Arts for Kids Sports Centre 22 April $29
Mega Circus Mix Circus Arts, Aquatic Centre Mon – Fri (Closed Good Friday and ANZAC Day) $49
Mighty Woof Dog and Owner Fitness Peace Monument 16, 20, 23, 26 April $35 per family
 

Splasher’s Water Playground

 

Aquatic Centre Daily Child $6 and adult $7

GOOD-VALUE!

Sports Camps Australia Biking Camp NEW! Newington Armory 14-16 April $240 for 3 days
Sports Camps Australia Football Camp NEW! Tom Wills Oval 14-17 April $320, extended day $30 per day
Sports Camps Australia Insideout Futsal Camp NEW! Tennis Centre 22-24 April $150 per camp
Swimming Lessons Aquatic Centre 14-17, 22-24 April From $46.50 per week
The Amazing Chase Bicentennial Park & Newington Armory Daily FREE!

 

ACTIVITIES FOR NATURE-LOVING KIDS 

ACTIVITY WHERE DATE COST
BirdLife – Kids Go Birding Blaxland Riverside Park 25 April FREE!
Park Patrol – Untangling the Web Education Centre, Bicentennial 15 April FREE! Bookings essential

 

ACTIVITIES FOR CREATIVE KIDS 

ACTIVITY WHERE DATE COST
ARTEXPRESS at the Armory 2014 exhibition Armory Gallery, Newington Armory 4 Mar – 27 April FREE!
ARTEXPRESS Kids in the Workshops Armory Gallery, Newington Armory 15 and 22 April FREE!
Cookies and Craft at Lilies Lilies on the Park café, Bicentennial Park 15, 18, 22 April $22
Digital Filmmaking Workshop Building 22,

Newington Armory

15-17 April $295
Kites and Cake at Lilies Lilies on the Park café, Bicentennial Park 16 and 23 April $22
Pizza and Pasta at Lilies Lilies on the Park café, Bicentennial Park 17 and 24 April $22
The Writing Workshop —  Fantastc Beasts Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 26 April $132
The Writing Workshop – Kids in the Park Special Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 22-24 April $160 for 6 hours over multiple sessions
The Writing Workshop – Skilled Young Writers Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 17 April $132
The Writing Workshop – Write Your Own Book Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 16 April $132
The Writing Workshop – Writing for Persuasion and Advocacy Education Centre, Bicentennial Park 12 & 27 April $13

 

Six citizens have been honoured last night for their exemplary service to multicultural communities in NSW at the Premier’s Harmony Dinner – an event which culminates the NSW Government’s Multicultural March celebrations.

The winners of the Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals received their awards in front of over 900 guests at Rosehill Racecourse attending the gala evening, including Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello described the recipients as “champions of multiculturalism”.

“These awards celebrate the remarkable stories and achievements of these six individuals who have served their communities with honour and enriched our state’s cultural diversity.

“NSW is truly one of the most multicultural societies in the world, with 200 different languages spoken at home and over a quarter of our citizens born overseas.

“Ultimately what unites our culturally diverse communities is a sense of mutual respect and belonging through our shared Australian identity,” Mr Dominello said.

Chair of the Community Relations Commission Vic Alhadeff said the Premier’s Harmony Dinner, now in its third year, was an evening of colourful celebration, bringing people together from across different cultures, faiths and linguistic backgrounds.

“We should be immensely proud to live in a cohesive and respectful society which has welcomed so many people from all over the world,” Mr Alhadeff said.

In 2012 a Multicultural Honour Board was inaugurated to posthumously record the names and achievements of significant immigrant pioneers.

“The inductees are all true pioneers and leaders among our different migrant communities. We recognise them tonight for their dedication to promoting harmony and unity in our community.

“In a short period the Premier’s Harmony Dinner has won its place on Destination NSW’s calendar of significant events. With attendance growing by over 200 this year – this celebration is set to flourish for many years to come,” Mr Dominello said.

The evening was made possible by the support of our sponsors and we sincerely thank B1 Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and JaeMy Holdings.

20140411 Sushi research

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, said the NSW Government and rice growers are helping to meet Australia’s growing demand for sushi, by increasing production of short-grain varieties to be used in the popular Japanese dish.

Ms Hodgkinson, who has this week meet with industry officials and rice growers at the Sydney Royal Easter Show to discuss opportunities for the important sector, said the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has been working closely with SunRice to develop suitable and sustainable varieties of sushi rice in response to increased demand.

“NSW consumers are following the international trend of swapping sandwiches for sushi,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Ninety-nine per cent of all rice grown in Australia is grown in NSW, contributing more than $1 billion to the State’s economy.

“It is estimated Australians enjoy more than one million serves of sushi each year and it is now a hugely popular take-away food option as people seek a healthy, alternate low GI, low salt and low-fat diet.

“This huge increase in sushi consumption has bolstered demand for sushi rice production, which is why the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government has increased research in this area to ensure our growers are properly equipped to meet this demand.”

Ms Hodgkinson said researchers at DPI’s Yanco Agricultural Institute are developing two short grain replacement varieties of sushi rice that will be earlier maturing, with good yield potential and can be sown later giving growers more options.

“This kind of research is vital to maintain the State’s outstanding reputation in producing rice which meets domestic and global market requirements and is seen as a clean and green product,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The research is part of a partnership between DPI, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and SunRice, which funds rice breeding, molecular markers and grain quality research for the Australian rice industry.”

SunRice general manager consumer markets, David Keldie, said Australia has seen an increase in demand for sushi style rice varieties that will continue to grow in response to worldwide adoption of sushi as a healthy and convenient food.

“There are about 65,000 sushi outlets internationally, far outstripping the growth of fast food restaurants,” Mr Keldie said.

Caption: Colleambally rice grower, Sharon Breed, NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, and SunRice general manager consumer markets, David Keldie, at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

scam

Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres is warning NSW consumers about scam phone calls and emails reported to Fair Trading, Telstra and media outlets in recent weeks.

Mr Ayres said consumers had reported receiving unsolicited calls and emails from scammers claiming to represent Telstra and trying to scam them in a number of ways.

“This week a pensioner reported to her local radio station that she had received a call from someone claiming to be from Telstra and making her an offer on the basis of an authorisation from Telstra,” he said.

“She then called Telstra and it was confirmed as a scam.

“Another consumer reported a call also allegedly from Telstra informing her there was some problem with her internet connection and seeking confirmation of her personal details.

“This is just another variation of the Microsoft scam, where scammers seek remote access to your computer so they can then raid your personal information, including bank account details.

“Scammers have reportedly threatened to sue people for putting Telstra’s infrastructure at risk.

“When the person has requested proof that they are a Telstra rep, scammers have given out a fake number for Telstra which, when the consumer calls, puts them back on the line with the scammer.

“Scammers are also well-versed at creating a sense of urgency to incite fear and anxiety that your device has been compromised and must be fixed immediately.

“If you provide your credit card details and give remote access to your computer, the scammer may not only take more than the stated ‘fee’, but also infect your computer to gain access to your personal information and commit other acts of fraud.

“Yet another consumer reported receiving a fake Telstra invoice via email.

“What alerted her to it being a scam was that the account was several hundred dollars above what she expected and when she contacted Telstra she discovered her account was not due and certainly not for the amount the scammers claimed,”  Mr Ayres said.

Telstra urged customers to be very wary of unsolicited telephone calls they receive at home, or emails they’re sent from unfamiliar sources. .

“These ‘hoax’ callers and emailers are trying to trick our customers and obtain their personal information, including their personal banking details.  Our advice is to hang up and hang up immediately,” a spokesperson said.

Telstra’s tips to avoid scams are:

  • If you’re not sure that the person on the other end of the phone is who they say they are, then hang up and call the organisation by using its official contact details;
  • Don’t share personal, credit card or banking details over the phone, unless you’ve made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source;
  • Be careful of making calls to phone numbers beginning with 190. These are charged at a premium rate and can be expensive.
  • Never visit websites given to you by an unsolicited caller or provide your e-mail address to an unsolicited caller:  They could be trying to infect your devices with malicious software (also known as ‘malware’) or a virus, or want to gain remote control over your computer;
  • Don’t respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you don’t recognise. Similarly, don’t click on links in SMS that come from numbers you don’t know.
  • If you have any suspicions or doubts or you think something’s not quite right, just hang up.
jaitley

AMRITSAR: Former Punjab Police cop Jaswant Singh created scene in the press conference of BJP candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha election Arun Jailley here today. His appearance in the press conference was all of sudden; attracted the entire media, as all still and movie cameras focus were changed from Jaitaly to Jaswant Singh who was raising slogans against terrorism saying, “Khalisthan Murdabad”.

He asked the Jailtey to clarify his stand on the issue of Terrorism and what are the opinions of his party on this issue. Jailtey in his reply said, “We are against Terrorism”.

Then he asked the Jaitley, why he and his party supporting the SAD government led by Parkash Singh Badal who during 2007 has paid rich tribute to late Khalsitan Protagonist Dr. Jagjit Singh Chohan Singh in the Punjab Assembly.

Visibly perturbed Jailtey asked him to give in written, former cop who was carrying his grievances with him in written with him, instantly put before Jaitely and asked him now give reply. Jailtey got infuriated and kept all the mics of electronic media aside, by saying that he will not talk on this issue.
Former cop was urging Jailtey for his reinstatement in the Punjab Police department since he was dismissed in frivolous ground as he raised his voice against the act of Punjab government for honriong Dr. Chohan in the floor of the house in 2007.

It may be mentioned here that Jaswant Singh has resigned from Punjab police head constable protesting homage paid to Khalistan ideologue Jagjit Singh Chohan by state assembly had left the Parkash Singh Badal-led Akali Dal government embarrassed. But Punjab Government while ignoring his resignation, dismissed from services in 2007.

Jaswant Singh, was posted in Amritsar, had resigned, saying that he did not feel like being part of the state police in a government that was paying homage to former terrorists.

He had resigned by saying that he never wanted to work under this such government that eulogises former terrorists. These people like Chohan were accountable for the killing of hundreds of innocent people, including policemen on duty, during days of terrorism in Punjab.

“I have fought terrorism strongly during its peak and have seen several colleagues being killed in encounter. It’s a shame that their sacrifices have been forgotten and those responsible for terrorism are being paid homage,” Jaswant Singh told media.

The policeman, who has been in Punjab police for 19 years, said he was not worried about his fate.

In his resignation letter, Jaswant Singh said that he would be proud to do labour and earn two square meals a day than to work under a government that promotes terrorists.

Chohan, died at Tanda town in Punjab in 2007 and thereafter he was given tributes by Badal and other Akalis in the assembly despite protests from the opposition Congress that he wanted a Khalistan – a separate Sikh state once demanded by radical Sikhs – ideologue and had lent open support to terrorism in Punjab between 1982-95.

Chohan was also member of the Punjab assembly in 1960s and had remained state finance minister in 1967.

A doctor by profession, he later went abroad and spearheaded the Khalistan movement from Britain. He had declared himself as ‘president’ of Khalistan.

GURDASPUR:The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President, Partap Singh Bajwa, today said the public criticism of the Parkash Singh Badal government by none else but its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, had not only exposed the chinks in the working of the alliance partner but substantiated his party’s stand that all claims being made by this government were bogus, hollow and without any basis.

He flagged off nine high tech vans for campaigning in all the nine Assembly segments of his Lok Sabha constituency from Gurdaspur today.

Bajwa, the Congress candidate from Gurdaspur seeking re-election, said, “The BJP has described the state of governance in Punjab as poor while both Chief Minister his Deputy Chief Minister son, Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, had been making tall claims of implementing governance reforms and cutting red tape to end corruption. The BJP’s open criticism of the government has only proved that the Badal government has only been misleading the people and building castles in the air”.

He said that the BJP had to finally express its resentment about ill treatment being meted out by the senior alliance partner and the state bureaucracy was an indication that the party had to take this extreme step to give vent to its anger after having failed all other inner alliance channels. The editorial carried by BJP’s official mouthpiece “Kamal Suneha” betrayed the official line of the party.

The PPCC chief said all along, Mr. Badal and the senior BJP leaders had been claiming that the alliance was more than political and it represented social harmony. Even the BJP’s Amritsar candidate, Mr. Arun Jaitley, had taken this line but now the frustration among even the BJP ministers in the state had been exposed and that too by the party itself.

“Now Mr. Badal cannot dismiss this criticism of the functioning of his government as some baseless charges by the opposition. The public has a right to seek answer from him as to how come that even the alliance partner of the Akali Dal had very serious reservations about the functioning of the government”, he added.

What was all the more serious matter was that the party had publicly stated that senior police officers were not listening to the BJP ministers and other leaders. Not only that. The party had gone to the extent of charging the Deputy Chief Minister of ignoring the public grievances as the Home department was with him. He said the functioning of this modern face of the Akali Dal has now come under question and that too by the alliance partner. Such charges could not be just dismissed by him as he claimed himself to be the CEO of the state.

The high tech vans flagged off by Mr. Bajwa have been equipped with LCDs and generators and would cover 15 to 20 points every day. A 22-minute film would be exhibited propagating the achievements of the UPA government with an appeal from Mr. Bajwa to the voters. Six jingles have also been prepared.

Earlier in the day Mr. Bajwa chaired a meeting of Senior Congress Leaders from Gurdaspur in District Congress Bhawan Gurdaspur. He took the over view of the preparation for the campaigning by the leaders in his constituency. He also appealed to leaders to be united and fight against the communal forces.

CHANDIGARH:Vote for India Kirron’s message to Chandigarh voters .She twitted Good morning Chandigarh! Today is one of the days when we can change the destiny of our country. So go out & vote. Your vote counts. VOTE 4 INDIA.”

AMRITSAR: BJP candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha election Arun Jaitley here today express hope that heavy polling would go in favour of BJP.

Addressing the press conference here today, he said that heavy turnout today during poll at Delhi, Haryana, West UP, Kerala today, was recorded that indicated that people wanted change of government. Heavy poll percentage has combination with anti incumbency.

Adding further, he said that heavy percentage would help NDA to form next Government under the leadership of Narendra Modi in the Centre.

He said in Chandigarh party also expecting poll results in favour BJP.

“After poll results, BJP would be reasonably confident for comfortable majority for NDA to form Government”, added Jaitley.

Talking about his rival Congress candidate Capt Amarinder Singh, Jaitley alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh’s vision for logical debate is missing as most of the time he talks on nonexistent issue.

Blaming Capt for Property Tax in Punjab, he claimed that when centre government signed MOU with the state at that time Capt Amarinder Singh was the chief minister of Punjab. So, here the statements of Capt that people in Punjab were tenets in their own houses, that depicted double standard of Capt Amarinder Singh.

NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi voted here Thursday in the Lok Sabha election.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal also voted in separate polling centres.

Sonia Gandhi was accompanied by Congress leaders Ajay Maken, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Haroon Yusuf when she reached the Nirman Bhawan polling booth in the heart of the capital.

After voting, a smiling Gandhi flashed her inked finger to the media.

Kejriwal told journalists after casting his vote that he was confident that the AAP would win all seven seats in Delhi.

Earlier, Ajay Maken made a similar claim for the Congress, saying voters would reward the Congress-led UPA with another five-year term.

CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat has set a new record in voting with 74 percent polling. Earlier in 1984 68 percent polling was recorded.

Chandigarh witnesses battle between Pawan Bansal of Congress, Kirron Kher of BJP and Gul Panag of AAP. All of them claim that high voting is in their favour.

BJP candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha election Arun Jaitley here today express hope that heavy polling would go in favour of BJP.

He said in Chandigarh unit of party also expecting poll results in favour BJP.

In Haryana also 73 percent voting was recorded which has broken the record of 2009. The highest voting in Haryana was 74 percent.

NEW DELHI:Voting began on Wednesday in six constituencies spread across four northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Manipur – in round two of the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections.

People began voting for one seat each in Nagaland and Manipur and two seats each in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. In Arunachal Pradesh, simultaneous elections are being held for 49 of the 60 assembly seats.

Elections are being held in Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat, one of the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Manipur. Among the 10 contestants are nominees of BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Naga People’s Front, NCP, JD(U) and Aam Admi Party. Three independents are also in the fray.

VADODARA: BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Wednesday filed his nomination papers from Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency in Gujarat.Modi filed his nomination papers at the Collectorate office here, flanked by several party leaders and supporters.

“I am confident that people of Vadodara will celebrate this festival of democracy and vote for the BJP in huge numbers,” Modi added.

Vadodara is considered a BJP stronghold with the party winning the seat by almost 1.5 lakh seats in 2008. Six of the seven assembly segments in the constituency are held by the BJP while the remaining seat is held by an independent, who is now in the BJP fold.

AMRITSAR: Congress candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh today alleged that Badal family including the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia responsible for ruining the real estate business in Punjab for their personal interests.
Talking to a delegation of the property and real estate dealers led by its president Sanjeev Rampal at the Congress Election Office here today, Capt Amarinder agreed with them that the state government, particularly Majithia, was squarely responsible for their plight.

The property and real estate dealers told him that their investments had been blocked and the value of their properties was getting depreciated instead of getting appreciated. They said, many of them were forced to go for distress sales and even then they were not able to make up their losses.

Capt Amarinder said, this election will mark the beginning of the end for the Akali regime and hoped that they are able to see the writing on the wall. He said, the Badals and Majithia were deliberately destroying the real estate market so that the owners go for distress sale and they (the Badals and Majithia) are able to buy costly properties at cheap prices and sell these later on exorbitant prices.

He promised to get the matter investigated thoroughly and urged the property and real estate dealers not to succumb to the bullying and pressure tactics of Badals and Majithia.

 

AMRITSAR: AAP Lok Sabha candidate from Amritsar and noted eye surgeon octogenarian Dr Daljit Singh, today brushed aside Congress’s pet policy on FDI in retail and said. “It would completely weaken India and will destroy almost all of our smaller stake holders, whether they are in agricultural sector, retail, manufacture, distribution or transport, etc”.
He added, “The mammoth foreign monoliths are ‘monopolists!” “They are carrying forward the colonial agenda and are modern colonists. They capture, brow-beat and subjugate local competition. India can do without such ‘investments’.”

Pointedly asking his rival Capt Amarinder Singh on his party’s adamancy for FDI retail, Dr Daljit Singh inquired “Why is congress hell-bent on bringing FDI retail in India ? Who is going to gain from this venture?” He further said –“It was for all to see how China is dumping its third grade products in Asian countries especially South Asia. In Pakistan, China has captured even their the ‘vehicle number plating’ business. Congress should open its eyes and not take egoistic decisions that go against the mettle of the country”, he asserted.

He further added that Indians are not laggards. If we like some foreign models and patterns why can’t our local industry and enterprising top brains implement those projects in India on their own with technical help from other countries? Talking about the first to open in India – the American store ‘Walmart’ in Amritsar he asked “What is so great about ‘Walmart’?” “Could Indians not build a Walmart look-alike “Why have foreign brands become so important that we are in a tearing hurry to let them capture Indian markets and ready to throw the livelihood of crores of people and sell their stakes to foreigners. Can Indians not create brands?”

Returning his attention to rival Capt Amarinder Singh, Dr Daljit Singh reminded the ex CM about his alleged doublespeak. “Why has the Captain picked a quarter of a century old painful issue of Operation Blue Blue Star in these elections? He is part of the same regime (Congress) that was the decision maker and inflicted the heinous ‘operation’ as well gave wind to the anti-Sikh riots.”

AMRITSAR:Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa today said the BJP has reasserted its Hindutva agenda in its election manifesto and there was nothing new in it. The organization is however, highly critical that Shiromani Akali Dal has shelved the Sikh agenda fearing loss of Hindu votes and were blind to see the real designs of its alliance partner.

Dal Khalsa’s political secretary Kanwar Pal Singh said if the BJP can stick to its Hindutva agenda why Akalis were so scared that they can’t talk of core Sikh issues. “The Hindutva influence has corrupted the rank and file of one-time political party of the Sikhs and has allowed Capt Amrinder Singh to hijack elements of the Panthic agenda for the anti-Sikh Congress Party”, said he.

He said the threat the BJP poses to the Sikhs and Punjab was both internal and external. Spelling out the real agenda of the BJP, he said the ideology of Sangh Brotherhood was to eliminate all diversity from the subcontinent and bring everything under the umbrella of Hinduism and establish Hindu Rashtra.

Reacting sharply on BJP manifesto, he said the proposed implementation of uniform civil code was in total contrast to Sikh demand for separate Personal Law. “Sikhs aspire to have their own separate personal law, while the BJP’s agenda aims to crush Sikh aspirations and subsume their distinct identity”.

The Congress organised massacres of the Sikhs in November 1984 and this was emulated by the BJP against Muslim minority 18 years later. Clearly, BJP had learned nothing from the crimes of the past but saw a purpose in using the same methods once again to terrorize a non-Hindu minority.

This proves beyond any doubt that BJP and Congress were two sides of the same coin. They were political opponents but ideologically stand on the same foundations, he pointed out.

jaitley

AMRITSAR:Asserting that after preaching theo-fascism for a long time the BJP was now resorting to economic-fascism, Congress candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh today asked the BJP leader Arun Jaitely to explain how Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail was going to hit the common retailers.

“Jaitely is so self-contradictory that on the one hand he welcomes FDI and at the same time he opposes it in the retail sector”, he pointed out, while adding “you can’t practise partial-liberalism this will only mean that like a pseudo-Punjabi you are a pseudo-liberal”.

He pointed out, there were already several multi-brand retail outlets owned by big domestic industrial houses like the Reliance, Birla, Bharti and others. “If the powerful domestic behemoths could not pose any threat to the small traders across the country how will the foreign investors do that?” he asked, while warning against creating a sense of fear and animosity against the foreign investors in retail segment.

The Congress leader advised Mr Jaitely to learn from Chinese example which has allowed 100 per cent FDI in retail way back in 2004 and still ensured that the interest of the domestic small retailers and vendors are not harmed. “We can always provide protection to domestic traders and retailers while allowing FDI”, he said.

“Jaitely can’t create panic by spreading a rumour without any substance”, Capt Amarinder said, in response to Jaitley’s assumption that FDI in retail will destroy the small trade at a place like Amritsar. He also dared Jaitley to give one example to qualify for a debate with the Congress on the issue. “Yes we will like to debate with you, but give us at least one example as how FDI in retail will destroy small domestic retailers”, he said.
The Congress leader pointed out, there were already so many multi-brand retail stores run by domestic business behemoths like the Reliance. “Tell me how many foreign investors will be stronger than Reliance?” he asked Jaitley, adding, if Reliance could not pose any threat to the small retailers how can the foreigners. He said, it will not make a difference to retailers but will certainly provide better choice to the consumers besides generating jobs.

The former Punjab Chief Minister found nothing new in Jaitely’s statement. He said, there can be only two reasons. “Either Jaitley was trying to create deliberate fear and panic among the small retailers for votes in the election season or was doing somebody’s bidding lest they face competition from the bigger names from abroad”, he remarked.

“For country’s sake please don’t create fear and panic among the people. You have already done it in the past and divided people to great harm to the nation and don’t do it now with the economy”, Capt Amrinder urged Jaitely and the BJP.

LUDHIANA: A meeting of congress candidate for parliamentary elections Ravneet Bittu was held at the office of Rajat Sood, General Secretary of Ludhiana Dyeing Industries Association in which Bittu demanded support from the association.

Bittu was flanked by Congress MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu and district chief (rural) Malkeet Singh Dakha during the meeting that continued for nearly an hour today.

Issues regarding the problems being faced by the dyeing industries were discussed during the meeting. Bittu assured that if the dyeing units support him and brings him to power, he would work for the betterment of the industries in Ludhiana.

Vinod Thapar, knitwear club chairman, Charanjeev Singh of Woolmark who were also there in the meeting said that the credentials of Bittu cannot be questioned as he is the grandson of former senior congress leader and former chief minister of the state Beant Singh.

Thapar said that it is the Bittu who could bring revolutionary change for the industry in the state.
Rajat Sood said that several points were discussed between Bittu and other members of the party. He said that subsidies of the central government were not reaching to the dyeing industry in Ludhiana and focus should be put on this grave issue.
Sood also said that the industry requires funds for improving the infrastructure so that the industry could flourish.
Bittu during his interaction with the dyeing unit owners said that he would take their issues to the central level in case he was elected as member parliament from Ludhiana. He said that it was the congress party that could lead the industries to a better future.
In the meeting other members who were present included Pankaj Sood, Rajesh Sood, Pardeep Dhall, Narinder Sharma, Madan Lal Singhania, Harpal Singh Kakkar and Rahul Verma.

CHANDIGARH: On the penultimate of filing of nominations in Punjab, 150 nominations filed throughout the state and with these the total number of nominations touches 236. Tomorrow being public holiday on account of Ram Naumi, there will be no nominations and the last day of nominations was April 9.

Disclosing this here today, Mr. Supreet Singh Gulati, Additional CEO informed that today prominent amongst those who filed their nominations included Mr. Arun Jaitely, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Mrs. Preneet Kaur, Mrs. Ambika Soni, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Manpreet Singh Badal, Manpreet Singh Ayali,Ravneet Singh Bittu , Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Bhagwant Mann.
He said that in Bathinda parliamentary constituency today 13 nomination were filed which included Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal SAD having covering candidate Mr. Bikram Singh, Navneet from Shiv Sena, Geeta Ranni from Akhil Bhartiya Shiv Sena Rashtrawadi, Gurcharan Singh Independent, Manpreet Singh Badal INC having Gurdas Singh as covering candidate, Gurdeep Singh Indian Krantikari Lehar, Kartar Singh Independent, Bhagwant Singh CPI (ML), Jagdish Rai Sharma Nav Bharat Democratic Party and Rajinder Singh SAD (A). Besides that, in Faridkot Joginder Singh (INC), his covering candidate Mrs. Krishan Kaur (INC), Prof. Sadhu Singh (AAP), Mrs. Reena Kumari, Democratic Party of India(A), Mrs. Paramjit Kaur Gulshan (SAD), her covering candidate Nirmal Singh (SAD), Seetal Singh (Independent), Darshan Singh (SAD-Amritsar) and his covering candidate Mrs. Jaswinder Kaur (SAD-Amritsar), in Gurdaspur Sukhwinder Singh (BSP) and his covering candidate Kulwant Singh (BSP), Sucha Singh (AAP), Gurmeet Singh (CPI/ML) and Varinder Singh (CPI), in Sangrur Bhagwant Mann (AAP), Harinder Kumar ( Independent), Madan Bhatti (BSP), his covering candidate Dhanna Singh, Joginder Singh ( CPI/M) and Mahmood Ahmed Thind (Indian Union Muslim League ) , in Khadoor Sahib Ranjit Singh (SAD), Balwant Singh ( BSP-Ambedkar), Balwinder Singh ( CPI/ML New Democracy), Simranjit Singh Mann (SAD-Amritsar), Gurnam Singh( Independent) and Mahinder Singh ( Independent), in Fatehgarh Sahib Kulwant Singh (SAD), his covering candidate Manpreet Singh, Sadhu Singh ( INC) , His covering Candidate Gurpreet Singh, Dharam Singh ( SAD-ASR), Nirmal Singh ( Nationalist Congress Party) and Lachman Singh (Independent) , in Ludhiana Simarjeet Singh (Independent), Balwinder Singh (Independent), Manpreet Singh Ayali (SAD), his covering candidate Harbir Singh, Ravneet Singh (INC), his covering candidate Gurkirat Singh, Navpreet Singh Bedi (Independent), Harvinder Singh Phoolka (AAP) and Navjot Singh Mandair ( BSP), in Amritsar Arun Jaitely (BJP), Yousuf Mohammed (SP), Kanwaljit Singh (Democratic Party of India), Rehmat Masih (Independent), Bal Krishan Sharma ( Independent), Buta Singh ( BSP-Ambedkar), Rattan Singh Randhawa ( CPM Punjab), Amarjit Singh ( Bharti Communist party), Balbir Singh Bharti (Bhartiya Gaon Taj Dal), in Hoshiarpur Anoop Singh ( Independent), Yamini Gomar (AAP), Shamsher Singh ( SAD-ASR), Davinder Singh ( Independent), Vijay Sampla (BJP), his covering Sudesh Sampla, Mohinder Singh Kaypee(INC), his covering Mrs Suman Kaypee, Bhagwant Singh Chauhan (BSP), his covering Gurlal, Anu Kumar ( Independent) and Rahul Paul ( Independent), in Anandpur Sahib Prem Singh (SAD), his covering Mrs. Balwinder Kaur , Daljit Singh ( Independent),Harcharn Singh ( Independent), Faqir Chand ( Independent), Jaswant Singh Mann ( Independent) and Ambika Soni (INC), in Ferozepur Sher Singh(SAD), his covering Krishna Rani, Ram Kumar (BSP), Sampuran Singh ( Independent), Punjab Singh ( Independent) and Shesh Karan ( Independent) , in Jalandhar Paramjit Kumar ( Bahujan Mukti Party ), Subash Goria( Shiv Sena), Vijay Kumar & Darshan (both Independents), Santokh Singh Chaudhary (INC),is covering candidate Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, Sukhvinder Singh (BSP), Tarsem Peter(CPI/ML New Democracy), Love Kishore and Manjit Kaur (Independent) and Tara Singh (BSP/A), in Patiala Preneet Kaur (Congress), her covering candidate Raninder Singh, Amrik Singh ( New All India Congress Party), Dharmvira (AAP), Bhim Singh and Ranjit Singh (Independent), Mohinder Pal Singh ( SAD/A), Deepinder Singh Dhillon (SAD) and Ranjit Kaur( Bhartiya Gaon Taj Dal) have filed their nominations.

Additional CEO Mr. B. Purushartha said that after the enforcement of Model Code of Conduct total 104 KG heroine has been seized worth Rs. 500 crore against the seizure of 23.5 kg in Assembly elections 2012. Besides that 13129 Kg Poppy husk and Opium 56.5 Kg, Drug Powder 25.64 Kg have also been seized by the Static Surveillance Teams and Flying Squads. He further said that 1,28,374 Litre illicit liquor and 2,13,445 litre country made have also been recovered by the excise department.

CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal today described Captain Amarinder Singh’s admission that AAP was directly hurting only the Congress as the first unintended acceptance of an imminent defeat.This also confirmed the SAD view that the Congress was heading for a the number three slot in the state, way behind SAD-BJP and even AAP, said the party’s general Secretary and Principal Spokesperson,Harcharan Bains, claiming that the admission by Captain Singh had vindicated the SAD-BJP stand that the Congress was likely finish only among also rans.

The SAD General Secretary said that it was significant that the Congress appeared to be scared of a party with which it had formed a
government in Delhi “Such an important admission in the thick of the election campaign by a responsible and senior leader like Captain Amaridner SIngh showed
that the reality was begininng to sink in into the Congress minds.Captain Singh is usually the last person to concede superiroity to any
opponent, said Bains.

Bains said that the the admission by the Congress must come as a shocker to those who might still had hoped for the party to put up some kind of a fight in these elections after fielding their main leaders.
“Up to now, the Congress leaders had either been writing off AAP as a non-entity or claiming that it would adversely affect the SAD-BJP candidates more than the Congress. With today’s admission by Captain Amarinder Singh, the Congress has acknowledged the ground reality that the Congress was slipping even behind AAP in Punjab,” said the SAD General Secretary.

aap

AMRITSAR: Amritsar’s unit of Aam Aadmi Party elated as AAP’s National convener Arvind Kejriwal’s arrival in the city on April 11th .Dr Ravijit Singh son of AAP’s Amritsar candidate and noted eye surgeon Dr Daljit Singh, while talking to media persons today said that Amritsar would be the obvious choice as the starting point of Kejriwal’s Punjab tour”.

He said that the national convener would pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and seek blessings for AAP –a party which has created a revolution in the entire nation.On the 11th of April Kejriwal would pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir before starting his road show which will span the heart of the city.

Today Dr Daljit Singh as usual started early and went through lanes of the famous Tahliwala Bazar opposite Gurudwara Shaheedan , Sultanwind, Kot Baba Deep Singh . He also opened his poll office at Chogawan and spent time with residents of Daburjee, New Amritsar etc.

MAJITHA(Amritsar): In a mild setback to former Chief Minister and Congress candidate for Amritsar LokSabha seat Captain Amarinder Singh, more than one and half dozen Congress local leaders and workers today left the party and joined ShiromaniAkali Dal (B). They were welcomed by Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia into the Akali Dal who honoured the Congress workers with the Siropas.

Majithia who addressed the hug gathering of supporters during the joining ceremony meanwhile asked the voterstio support SAD-BJP candidate ArunJaitley in the elections. He said the NDA was allset to form the next government in Centre and Jaitley would bring funds for development and progress in the rural areas. He hit hard at the Congress for sheltering the corrupt and the tainted.

He said this was the reason that Captain would be badly defeated in the election as he can not distinguish between good and bad.

He also hit hard at Congress leader Bir Devinder saying calling his a chameleon who changes colour on seeing the opportunities and he has no commitment to show any where. He said the Congress party is full of such people. He added that Jaitley would be the Voice of Amritsar in Centre and would bring projects and development to Amritsar and other parts of the state.

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