The Hindustan Times – On record day of polling, Punjab voters keep the three parties on tenterhooks

Pawan Sharma

Chandigarh, 5 February 2017. The voting pattern in Punjab’s Malwa region, which accounts for 69 of the 117 assembly seats and reported a turnout of 80% on Saturday, points to a fiercely fought three-cornered battle.

But in Doaba and Majha regions, where voting percentages were lower than those in the last election, indicate a two-horse race.

These “conflicting signals” from Punjab voters could cause confusion, as well as worry, for the ruling SAD-BJP combine, the Congress, which is desperate to make a comeback, and debutant Aam Aadmi Party that is looking to capture a state outside Delhi.

Saturday’s turnout of 78.62% is a new record for the state, a shade higher than 78.57% in the 2012 election.

The voters in the Malwa region, which covers half the state, would make or mar the fortunes of the three parties, say analysts.

In Punjab’s poll math, it is long-held belief that the party that wins Malwa rules the state.

Another factor behind Malwa leading the state in voter turnout was heavy mobilisation and a three-legged race. Until AAP entered the fray, elections in Punjab were largely a contest between the Akalis and the Congress.

An “AAP wave” in Malwa districts was pronounced. And that was the reason that at least nine of the 14 Malwa districts recorded a voting percentage of above 80%.

Mansa district, which has three seats, led the state with a turnout of 87.34%. In all, at least 30 seats saw above 80% voting.

“The assembly segments, including those in Malwa, with turnout lower than that in 2012 point towards two-horse race,” a Punjab-based political observer, who didn’t wish to be identified, told HT.

For instance, all the seven constituencies in Sangrur district recorded above 80% polling.

In Fazilka district’s Jalalabad segment, where SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal is locked in a tight contest with Bhagwant Mann of the AAP and Ravneet Singh Bittu of the Congress, turnout was above 86%.

The last-minute support extended by Dera Sacha Sauda helped lift the spirits of the SAD rank and file, battling anti-incumbency and voter discontent.

The polling percentage in chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s Lambi constituency was 78%, down from 87.29% in 2012.

Comparative lower turnout in Majha and Doaba regions have the parties, especially the AAP, worried as the so-called wave in its favour seemed to have failed to cross the mighty Sutlej river.

The contest for the majority of the 48 seats in the two regions was between the Congress and the SAD-BJP.

In Majitha, where senior minister Bikram Singh Majithia is in the running, only 68% voters exercised their franchise in contrast to 81.84% the last time.

Doaba reported 74.77% polling against 76.69% in 2012 while Majha clocked 75%.

Till 2007, Punjab used to vote out the ruling party but in 2012, voters pulled a surprise by returning the SAD-BJP combine.

Is another surprise coming Punjab’s way? We will know on March 11.

Advertisements – Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars Appeal Sikh Masses to Defeat Badals; Condemn Dhumma and Rode

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar, Panjab, 3 February 2017. Reacting sharply to the announcement by Sirsa cult chief to support SAD-BJP candidates, Sarbat Khalsa Jathedars have taken a strong stand against Akali Dal (Badal).

Interim Akal Takht Sahib Jathedar Bhai Dhian Singh Mand, and Jathedar Baljit Singh Daduwal both condemned Akali Dal (Badal) from taking support from anti-Sikh cults.

In a video statement, Bhai Daduwal not only condemned Badals, but also lashed out on Damdami Taksal Jathedar Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma and Jasbir Singh Rode. He alleged that both Dhumma and Rode had sold their consciousness while support Badals.

“Sant Samaj, as well as other Panthik leaders have clarified that they are not endorsing Badals, however Dhumma has continued to misuse the name of Damdami Taksal and Sant Samaj to further his support for anti-Sikh parties,” Bhai Daduwal said.

Interim Akal Takht Jathedar Dhian Singh Mand said that the real face of Badal led Akali Dal has come to fore with their nexus with Sirsa cult.

Recalling the acts of blasphemy committed by Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Jathedar Mand said that by wearing attire like tenth Sikh master Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Sirsa cult chief had hurt Sikh sentiments.

He added that Sirsa cult chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was also responsible for the murders of innocent Sikh youths as well as wrongful indictment of Sikh activists under fake charges.

He said that now it has become very clear that why the Parkash Badal led Punjab government didn’t take any suitable action to trace the culprits of state-wide sacrilege incidents.

He added that delivering justice to Sikh masses was apart, the Punjab government massacred the innocent Sikh youths and booked hundreds of Sikhs activists across Punjab in fake cases.

He added that by hurting the Sikh sentiments, the Badals have itself equipped the Sikh masses with anger to make them out of power.

Both appealed Punjab masses to boycott Akali Dal, as well as the Congress for its role in 1984 anti-Sikh massacres.

Gent – Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara

Akhand Path – Non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib
06 January 2017


Granthi Ranjit (Master Ji) Singh


Granthi Singh – Jaswal Singh


Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji


The second Pathi (reader) on the left


Pyar Kaur


Granthi Singh doing path

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
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Man in Blue

Human Right Without Frontiers International – Russian anti-cultist Alexander Dvorkin attacks Hindus, 01 February 2017. This is the second scandal with the involvement of FECRIS vice-president Alexander Dvorkin that effects Russian-Indian relations.

The story begun more than year ago and involved the Center for Promotion of Conservation and Development of Indian Culture “Shri Prakash Dham” founded by Hindu Shri Prakash Ji in Moscow area and officially registered by the Ministry of Justice of Russia in 2002. Shri Prakash Ji has lived in Russia for more than 27 years.

The Russian federal news agency Rosbalt wrote that Hindus have accused the Orthodox theologian of discrimination on religious grounds.

Referring to Prasun Prakash (son of Shri Prakash Ji) the news agency wrote: “…he and his family were subjected of attacks by the President of “Russian Association of centers for study religions and sects” and the “Center for religious studies in the name of the Holy Martyr Irenaeus” headed by Alexander Dvorkin, as well as his “accomplices”.

Russian Indian claims that Dvorkin systematically “defiles Hinduism as a world religion and hurts the feelings of hundreds of millions of believers around the world” on its Internet-resource and in social media.

In this regard, Prasun Prakash calls his friends, acquaintances and public in general, including people who could somehow influence the situation, ‘to pay attention to the activities carried out by Alexander Dvorkin and his associates which is illegal and undermines friendly relations between Russia and India'”

After an attack in December 2016 on the home of Prasun Prakash and his family, he initiated online petition: “I humbly urge the heads of both states, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both countries, Mr. Sergey Lavrov and Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, and the representatives of the Embassy of India in Russia, to turn their attention towards this urgent issue, and enable the Hindus in Russia to lead a peaceful life with assurance of safety against any kind of persecution from radical elements like Mr. Alexander Dvorkin and his accomplices.”

It should also be noted that Shri Prakash Ji, acting within the legal framework, is seeking protection from the religious extremists in court. The last hearing took place on 19 January 2017, but it has been rescheduled for 13 February, Prasun Prakash said on his Facebook page:

“The hearing supposed to be the final and the whole community waited for our victory this day. But the public is also aware of how the radical elements in person of Alexander Dvorkin love to use petty tools by which they manage to delay the process.

This is done to gain time and utilize it to continue spreading slander through paid publications and TV shows. Also a second goal is pursued, attracting false witnesses who do not even know against whom and what they testify.

Thus, the mud is used as advertising to attract witnesses-actors or in the case of our hearing, the actor who plays the role of the new administrator the RACSRS’s web-site [the web-site of the Russian Association of Centers for Study Religions and Sects – our note].

In this regard, the hearing was postponed on February 13. Considering the fact that before the hearing Alexander Dvorkin and his attorney had long time negotiation with the new administrator, I have no doubts that this is another shameless attempt to win time for new attacks on my religion, my Father and family, as well as on our cultural center and millions believers of Hinduism around the world.”

Details on the mechanism of protraction of the judicial system have been explained by a correspondent of the Moscovskaya Pravda newspaper, who was present at the hearing:

“It became clear that Anna Nikolaeva [secretary of Dvorkin – our note] has no more to do with the web-site, because she resigned from her post, and from December 9, 2016 the administrator is a different person.

But if get former administrator out of the trial, there are no legal basis to continue the trial in the Lublin District Court because the new administrator is registered in the Vladimir Region. So the legal proceedings has to start in another region – essentially from scratch. But interest of the plaintiff is to get final decision without delay.”

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Dawn – Kashmir Day to be observed today

Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad, 5 February 2017. The people of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) will observe the ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ on Sunday to reaffirm their support for the struggle of the people of India-held Kashmir for their right to self-determination pledged under several UN Security Council resolutions.

Pakistanis and Kashmiris have been observing the Kashmir Day every year on 5 February without any discontinuity since 1990.

The call to observe this day was first given by then emir of Jamaat-i-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed and it was endorsed by then prime minister Benazir Bhutto and then chief minister of Punjab Nawaz Sharif.

On Sunday, rallies, seminars, demonstrations and other events, such as speech and essay competitions in educational institutions, will be organised across Pakistan and AJK, notwithstanding the harshness of weather, as an expression of unwavering support to the struggle of Kashmiris.

However, the main event of the day will be the formation of symbolic human chains at five or six points linking AJK with Pakistan, in a loud and clear message to the international community in general and India in particular that Pakistanis and Kashmiris are like “one soul in two hearts”.

Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates in different parts of the world, mainly the United Kingdom and United States, also hold rallies to voice their support for the oppressed but resilient people of India-held Kashmir.

A special joint session of the AJK Legislative Assembly and the AJK Council has also been convened to meet here at 2pm on Sunday.

Weather permitting, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would address the special session and in case he fails to make it to Muzaffarabad owing to inclement weather, his message would be read out.

A special function in connection with the Kashmir Day will be held in Convention Centre Islamabad with Pakistani and Kashmiri leaders among the speakers.

Prime Minister Sharif will host a dinner in the honour of Kashmiri leadership from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday night.

On Saturday, AJK ministers and lawmakers visited different camps of Kashmiri refugees and distributed ration packages among them with the cooperation of the federal ministry of Kashmir affairs.

Messages from Srinagar

In their messages on the eve of the Kashmir Day, pro-freedom leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Syed Shabbir Ahmed Shah expressed their gratitude for the government, people and armed forces of Pakistan for their unflinching support to the Kashmiris’ struggle.

“People in India-held Jammu and Kashmir are challenging a big power and Pakistan is the only country that acknowledges our right to self-determination and extends its persistent support to us,” Mr Geelani said.

“But we hope that Pakistan will play more effective and active role in this regard,” he said, asking Islamabad to activate all of its foreign missions to highlight the Kashmir issue and human rights violations in an operative method.

In his message, incarcerated chairman of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah said that observance of 5 February as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ was “encouraging and praiseworthy”.

Fair plebiscite

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged India to stop bloodbath in held Kashmir and allow holding of free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations, adds APP.

He said in a message for the last seven decades India had denied valiant Kashmiris the right to self-determination promised to them by the international community through numerous UN Security Council resolutions.

The prime minister said the people of Pakistan joined their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in observing the “Kashmir Solidarity Day” to reaffirm the country’s moral, diplomatic and political support to their legitimate struggle for their basic human rights, especially the right to self-determination, enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain has said the dream for peace in the region would remain elusive until resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris.

In a message, Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the Kashmir Day had special significance this year because the recent uprising in India-held Kashmir, following the July 8 extra-judicial killing of popular youth leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani had shaken the conscience of the international community.