The Times of India – AAP acquires Panthic political space in Punjab

I P Singh

Jalandhar, 7 February 2017. A Panthic stream has always remained in the political scene of Punjab with different shades of Akali groups and leaders representing it at different times.

Now, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has acquired that space without projecting a Sikh as its chief ministerial face.

AAP has occupied the space for the time being, largely because the traditional Panthic representative, Shiromani Akali Dal, is facing opposition from the community.

AAP managed to attract several prominent Sikh activists towards it after Sirsa’s Dera Sacha Sauda announced support to SAD in the Punjab elections. Because many religious Sikhs still find it difficult to vote for Congress because of Operation Bluestar and the 1984 riots, AAP has become more acceptable to them in Punjab.

AAP had already tried to take away the Sikh card from SAD in the 2014 parliamentary elections by fielding senior advocate H S Phoolka, who became the face of the legal battle to get justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots and former diplomat H S Khalsa, who had resigned from government in protest after Operation Bluestar.

Later, AAP party managed to rope in more Sikh faces without entrusting real leadership of the party in Punjab to them. It strongly raised issues of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari in Faridkot and subsequent firing on Sikh protesters at Behbal Kalan.

Though Sucha Singh Chhotepur’s sacking jolted AAP and sidelining of Punjab leaders became an issue, SAD’s unpopularity with several Sikh groups and activists helped Arvind Kejriwal & Co make inroads.

In the recent past, prominent Sikh faces who joined AAP included Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) former general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, leaders of Panthic Talmel Sangathan and Golden Temple priest Bhai Balbir Singh.

Many Sikh groups have openly come in support of AAP recently. Former jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Ranjit Singh has already extended support to AAP.

On social media also there have been several messages by Sikh leaders to neither forget the 1984 riotss nor the sacrilege. Despite SAD, Congress and the AAP dissidents repeatedly questioning party convener Arvind Kejriwal and other senior party leaders to name the CM candidate in Punjab, it has refused to take the bait.

“Yes, AAP has acquired the Panthic political space as there was vacuum. In this particular space, Kejriwal lent the Sikhs a ear and tried to understand their issues in the correct perspective.

Congress leaders are now realizing that AAP has become real challenge for them,” said former SGPC member Advocate Jaswinder Singh, who had resigned from SAD and joined AAP a few months back.

“They are raising bogey of terrorism only out of fear and Sikhs annoyed with SAD and Congress are supporting Kejriwal,” he said.


The Tribune – Winning party may lose mind over state Budget

Ruchika M Khanna, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 7 February 2017. The three main political parties, the Akali-BJP, Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, may have promised the moon to the electorate.

But with the state government having undertaken an exercise to prepare the Budget for the coming fiscal, the first Budget of whichever party wins at the hustings, it is proving that there is almost negligible legroom to fit in the promised “freebies”.

This revelation is getting affirmed as the Finance Department has already started its pre-Budget meetings with various departments. The final Budget will be presented only once the new government takes over. But immediately an interim Budget is likely to be presented in March.

The less than targeted growth in revenue receipts, burgeoning salary and wage bill after nearly 1.50 lakh fresh appointments and fall in revenue expenditure will make it nearly impossible for any of the three parties to implement their election promises.

Official sources told The Tribune that though there had been a growth of almost 21 per cent in the revenue receipts between April and December 2016 as compared to the corresponding period in 2015, it is mainly because of a spike in tax collection post-demonetisation and because of higher devolution of central taxes to Punjab.

The state treasury still has Rs 2,400 crore as pending bills. It is availing ways and means advances and has not paid the amount of power subsidy it should have by the end of three quarters (only Rs 2,829.89 crore of a total of Rs 5,600 crore has been paid).

The state’s own tax and non-tax revenue collection till December 31 was just Rs 22,902.16 crore, as compared to Rs 21,344.47 crore in the same period in 2015, an increase of just 6.7 per cent, against a targeted growth of 11 per cent.

Sources say that though some grey areas will be left (for political announcements of freebies), the state government will have otherwise prepared not just the revised estimates for this year, but also made projections for fund allocation under existing schemes for the next fiscal, by the time the next government takes over.

Koningin Elisabetlaan – Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara – Gent University

Gent Koningin Elisabetlaan
08 January 2016


Gent – Koningin Elisabetlaan/Van Monckhovenstraat
Tram 22 Gentbrugge Dc
Tram 1 Wondelgem
Tram 21 Melle Leeuw
Tram 1 Evergem

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Akhand Path da Bhog
08 January 2016


Reading of the final pages of the Guru Granth Sahib
End of the 48 hour non-stop reading

Mata Sahib Kaur Gurdwara
Kortrijksepoortstraat 49
B-9000 Gent – Oost-Vlaanderen

Gent University (UGent) – De Vooruit –
Wintercircus – De Krook – Gent-Zuid
08 January 2016


Josef Plateaustraat
Many of the University buildings are on or off the

Josef Plateaustraat


Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat – 200 years UGent
A history full of future


Building of the socialist newspaper ‘De Vooruit’
Now ‘De Morgen’

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on February 8, 2017 at 7:01 am  Leave a Comment – Election Commission orders re-polling at 48 stations in Punjab on 9 February

Several EVMs and Voter-Verified Audit Paper Trail machines had developed a snag on Saturday, when the votes were cast.

Chandigarh, 8 February 2017. The Election Commission on Tuesday ordered repolling at 48 polling stations in Punjab on February 9 due to problems with the Voter-Verified Audit Paper Trail and Electronic Voting Machines on February 4, PTI reported.

The re-elections will be held at 32 polling stations in the Majitha, Muktsar, Sangrur Assembly segments and 16 stations in the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency.

Punjab Cabinet Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Bikram Singh Majithia is fighting it out with Aam Aadmi Party candidate Sukhjinder Raj Singh and Congress candidate Himmat Singh Shergill from the Majitha seat.

BJP’s Rajindermohan Singh Chhina, Congress’ G S Aujla and AAP’s Upkar Sandhu have been fielded from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.

The VVPATs used in the Majitha, Muktsar and Sangrur Assemblies and the EVMs used in the Moga and Sadulgarh constituencies were found to be faulty, Punjab chief electoral officer V K Singh told PTI.

The officer said that VVPATs will be used again in the repoll. “A total of 47 VVPATs will be deployed at the polling stations and sufficient numbers of machines have been kept as reserve,” Singh added.

A VVPAT produces a receipt with which the voter can verify if the vote actually went to the person for whom they voted on the EVM.

These machines are being used for the first time in Punjab at over 6,500 polling stations. However, on the polling day, 187 VVPATs had to be replaced.

The polling hours will be between 8 am and 5pm. The poll panel has ordered paid leave in the constituencies that will undergo a repoll on February 9.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted: ”Never has any election seen malfunctioning EVMs on such a large scale. Was it mischief done deliberately by or in collusion with EC?”

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The Hindu – Panneerselvam revolted only after losing CM post: AIADMK

At a time when a political change is happening in the state, the Governor goes from Coimbatore to Delhi and then to Mumbai.

Chennai 8 February 2017. The revolt by Tamil Nadu former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam against AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala is being opportunistic and fuelled by other forces, said a spokesperson of AIADMK on Wednesday.

“Only when his Chief Minister post was taken away he is raising his voice. But that, too after he had submitted his resignation and sending a ‘thank you for your cooperation letter’ to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao,” Avadi Kumar, spokesperson for AIADMK told IANS.

On Tuesday night Mr Panneerselvam dropped a bombshell with his dramatic statement that he was forced to resign as the Chief Minister after meditating for 40 minutes at late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s memorial.

Mr Kumar said Mr Panneerselvam wrote a letter to Mr Modi after resigning his post on his own choice and there was no compulsion on him not to write such a letter.

“He was acting alone, pursuing his own interests. The party did not gain any goodwill by his acts but on the other hand the party had to face the brunt of the government actions, like the police action against the Jallikattu-bull taming sport protestors,” Mr. Kumar said.

Pointing out Mr Panneerselvam’s own statement that he was asked to propose the name of Ms Sasikala for the post of general secretary and later for Chief Minister position, Mr Kumar said: “What prevented him from opposing the move at the first instance itself.”

Mr Kumar also wondered as to the reason for the continued absence of the Governor at a time when there is only a caretaker government in the state.

“We did not know where to reach him and give him the letter of support of legislators for Sasikala, who can stake her claim to form the next government,” Mr Kumar said.

At a time when a political change is happening in the state, the Governor goes from Coimbatore to Delhi and then to Mumbai.

He said this shows that the BJP and the Centre are fishing in the troubled waters.