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Monday, April 18, 2011

Election 2011 in hills.. Statehood test by proxy... Large turnout in Hills, parties hope for win...Election Commission has failed to conduct free and fair poll in Darjeeling: Asok... Gorkhaland or Sixth Schedule?...Gorkha youths vote for ‘better life’... Hill-plain divide in snack sales... Fair-& free chant in red and green camps Congress suspends six more rebel candidates... Rain hits poll zone, not turnout....Poll officer dies on duty .... Enclave protest at EC officials

Election in hills peaceful
Dr. H.B.Chhetri, Spokesperson and GJM Kalimpong candidate in Kalimpong
Paul Simick President, Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Forum after casting his vote in Kalimpong 
Inspite of call of ILTA Lepchas casted their vote in Kalimpong
An elderly woman voter in Kalimpong interacts with Dainandini channel of Kalimpong News

Couple 115 yr old Jaybahadur Chhetri and 103 yr old Sarmaya Devi Chhetri of Dimdima Forest near Bhaktinagar at Betgara Primary school booth. Photo: BNA
Statehood test by proxy

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling: When Gorkha Janmukti Morcha candidate Trilok Dewan unexpectedly came face to face with Subash Ghisingh at a polling booth here on Monday and both looked a little confused, it all seemed a little symbolic.
For, the contest in the hills is not just about winning the three Assembly seats. It’s more about getting a clearer picture of the relative mandate their two parties have in this nook of the Himalayas, especially following Ghisingh’s sudden reappearance in the hills.
If the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) is wiped out in the elections, it would be a nasty blow to Ghisingh’s recent resurgence drive. A poor showing by the Morcha would mean the hills are far from politically stable, a situation that could have unpredictable fallouts irrespective of who forms the government in Bengal.
So, both Ghisingh and Dewan betrayed their awkwardness when they ran into each other at the Shree Ramakrishna B.T. College booth. Ghisingh was returning after casting his vote while Dewan was entering the premises to inspect the polling. The results would also guide the next government’s efforts at peace in the hills. Ghisingh is against statehood and only wants more autonomy in the shape of Sixth Schedule status, while Morcha boss Bimal Gurung does not want to negotiate on anything short of Gorkhaland.
They did not exchange words but made way for each other to pass. Initially, both seemed to hesitate to take the first step before Ghisingh decided to come forward and cross the Morcha leader.
Gurung cast his vote at Subash Primary School at his native Bara Patabung in Darjeeling. He said: “The people have rejected Sixth Schedule status. We are 100 per cent confident of winning the elections and our representatives will have to raise the issue of Gorkhaland in the Assembly or else they will be asked to resign.”
Ghisingh, however, rejected any solution outside the Sixth Schedule, even Union territory status for the hills.
“That is useless,” he said. “I am saying that no one will give Gorkhaland. We are fighting the polls with the demand that a new Gorkha hill council be put in place under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.”
Although the Morcha and the GNLF are the main contenders, many are refusing to write off the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League candidate in Darjeeling, Bharati Tamang. They believe that the seat will witness a fight between Bharati and Dewan, with GNLF candidate Bhim Subba reduced to an also-ran.
Bharati, whose husband Madan Tamang was killed in daylight in the heart of Darjeeling town last year, cast her vote at the same booth as Ghisingh. “So far, I am satisfied with the way the poll is being conducted,” she said with folded hands.
One problem for the non-Morcha parties has been their inability to have polling agents at most of the booths because of a lack of organisational strength.
“We have some agents in some booths. Well, people fear to come out in the open,” Bharati said.
Ghisingh had a different take. “There is no need for polling agents as the Election Commission has distributed voter slips at people’s homes. That was the main job of the polling agents; so now they have no work,” he said.
Hill-plain divide in snack sales
Avjit Sinha in Siliguri and Vivek Chhetri in Darjeeling, TT: Dharmendra Choudhury grins as he stirs the tamarind water in the large earthen pot on his cart.

“Elections help sell my phuchkas,” the 14-year-old Siliguri boy says, gazing happily at the long queues before the booths at Margaret School.
Poll heat or the rising mercury, nothing can keep business away from phuchkawallas, he adds with an air of wisdom. “We leave even the dabwallas (sellers of green-coconut water) behind on a hot day.”
Up in the hills, Anand Gupta casts a mournful look at his tub of alur dum (potato curry).
“Business has been bad today. For every Rs 5 that I earn on a normal day, I guess I will make less than Rs 2 today,” says the 28-year-old eatery owner.
Yet his shop in Darjeeling’s S.M. Das Road is located near two polling stations, the Nepali Girls’ Higher Secondary School and the Municipal Girls High School.
Call it the hills-plains divide in election-day business.
The explanation seems to be that the voters at the Darjeeling booths are all from the neighbourhood. Arriving from distances less than a kilometre, none seems hungry or interested in eating out.
It’s not clear how far the voters are coming from in Siliguri, but Dharmendra’s brisk sales may have to do with the plains’ hotter climate and the enduring popularity of thephuchka, a light snack one can taste even if one is not hungry.
The boy parks his cart near the school on most days anyway, but today his father left him specific orders to “man the booth” while he himself scouted for business nearby. “On an average school day I sell around 100-150 pieces; today I have come with 400 pieces. Each costs one rupee,” Dharmendra says.
An unexpected customer turns up: a police constable. “I hadn’t expected him, you see,” the boy whispers. “I thought only voters would come. But now I feel I’ll make better sales than I thought. It’s only 11am; I think more policemen will come.”
Some 5,000 voters are expected at this booth. Dharmendra has never heard of the candidates, Asok Bhattacharya and Rudranath Bhattacharya, but he has heard of the CPM and the Trinamul Congress.
“One has a red flag and the other a flower and grass,” he says shyly. He has an afterthought: “I have heard that the results will be declared from Siliguri College sometime next month. On that day, I’ll go there with my cart.”
In Darjeeling, the crowds are passing by Gupta’s shop without a glance and heading towards the booth. “I make a profit of about Rs 1,000 on a normal day but there is no hope today. I shall close my shop in the afternoon. After all, I have to cast my vote too,” he said.
On most other days, long queues form for his hot alur dum — especially on cold, rainy afternoons — and Gupta can hardly catch his breath. The dish consists of three or four pieces of potato in thick gravy, served with crunchy potato chips, fried noodles and roasted maize. Price: Rs 5 a plate.
Gupta isn’t the only one to lose business today. Less than one in 20 shops has opened in Darjeeling Market, and the whole of Judge Bazaar and Chowk Bazaar are shut along with the flea markets dotting Nehru Road.
“There are hardly any shoppers in town today, so we have decided to take the day off,” a businessman says. “The staff wanted a holiday and there was no question of not letting them go and cast their votes.”
Fair-&-free chant in red and green campsCongress suspends six more rebel candidates
TT, Calcutta, April 18: The Congress today suspended six more rebels contesting as Independents and urged the Trinamul Congress to “reciprocate”, a call that left the latter bristling and denying it had any such candidates.
The Congress had earlier suspended 13 dissidents who too were contesting as Independents against Trinamul candidates. The six handed the punishment today include two sitting legislators — Ram Pyare Ram and Abdul Khalek Molla. The remaining four are from Nadia.
“We have suspended six dissidents today for contesting as Independents after being denied tickets. We have already taken the disciplinary action against 19 party leaders and functionaries. We want Trinamul to likewise suspend those party candidates who are contesting against our nominees,” state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya said at a news conference in Press Club this afternoon.
Told that Mamata Banerjee had already suspended two Trinamul rebels for contesting against alliance candidates, Bhuniya said: “That is not enough. Trinamul rebels are in the fray in other places too.” The Congress leader, however, did not identify the constituencies from where such candidates were contesting.
A Trinamul general secretary challenged Bhuniya to name the seats where Trinamul rebels were contesting against the Congress.
“Let Manas name a single seat. No Trinamul candidate is contesting against the Congress anywhere in the state,” he said.
Mamata has publicly suspended Asok Mondal and Tapas Saha so far. While Mondal is apparently backing Fazle Haque, a Congress dissident contesting as an Independent from Cooch Behar's Dinhata, Saha is contesting as an Independent against the Trinamul candidate in Tehatta.
Congress sources said that by suspending six more dissidents, the leadership was trying to send a “stern message” to Adhir Chowdhury, Deepa Das Munshi and Shankar Singh who have been backing such rebels as Independents in Murshidabad, North Dinajpur and Nadia.

Of the 19 suspended dissidents, 12 have been from these three districts. The sources said Nadia Congress chief Singh was backing the four dissidents who were suspended today as he was “unhappy” with Mamata offering only one out of the 17 seats in the district to the party.
Asked if the high command was considering disciplinary action against Deepa, Chowdhury and Singh, Bhuniya did not give a direct reply. “They are respectable leaders. We are keeping watch on them and have sought reports from our local leadership.”
AICC sources said it was “unlikely” that any action would be taken against Chowdhury and Deepa "considering the political clout they enjoy in their respective districts".
Election Commission has failed to conduct free and fair poll in Darjeeling: Asok

SNS,SILIGURI/DARJEELING, 18 APRIL: “The Election Commission has failed to conduct a free and fair poll in three subdivisions of the Darjeeling Hills,” the state urban development minister, Mr Asok Bhattacharya, claimed today. The polling in the Darjeeling Hills was held under the shadow of fear, he said. “As apprehended, the GJMM activists captured several booths. The election agents belonging to the non-GJMM parties, including those of the CPI-M, could not enter the polling stations. The election has been reduced to a mockery of democracy,” Mr Bhattacharya alleged.
Slamming the Darjeeling district administration, he said: “Despite having evidence of GJMM chief Mr Bimal Gururng's complicity in several crimes, the administration had kept on dithering in booking him.”  “We are unhappy with the role played by the Election Commission,” he said adding that his party would lodge a complaint with the EC and the district magistrate tomorrow demanding immediate arrest of Mr Gurung.
Speaking on the issue, CPI-M state committee member Mr Jibesh Sarkar said that the role of the administration was dubious. “Mr Gurung threatened to hound out Mr Subash Ghisingh out of the Hills in public. Is this not evidence enough to have him arrested?” he asked.GJMM rejects Ghisingh’s proposal The Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) today rejected the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chief, Mr Subash Ghisingh's demand for sixth schedule status for the Darjeeling Hills and said people would force him out of the Hills for undermining their desire for a separate state of Gorkhaland. Taking offence at Mr Ghisingh repeatedly pitching for the sixth schedule status at his public meetings and media interactions since returning to the Hills earlier this month, GJMM general secretary Mr Roshan Giri said: "Even GNLF supporters are now pained and angry with him."
Mr Ghisingh has for the past few years been a votary of the sixth schedule status ~ a constitutional provision for fast development of tribal areas by setting up autonomous regional councils authorised to take legislative decisions independently and having access to annual grant-in-aids and other additional revenue sources.
"People had thrown him out of the Hills earlier. They will again show him the way out. We don't have to do anything," Mr Giri said after casting his vote.
Large turnout in Hills, parties hope for win
IANS, Darjeeling, 18 April: The tourist hub of Darjeeling Hills saw a festival-like ambience today as people voted in large numbers amid the Hill town’s signature weather complete with fog, wind and occasional showers.
The Gorkha community voters turned out in their traditional dresses at the polling stations since morning, forming large queues here and in Kalimpong and Kurseong sub-divisions.
Polling was peaceful in the six constituencies of Darjeeling district in the first phase of Assembly elections with 35 per cent voting registered till 1 p.m. against an overall 49 percent in the six northern districts.
However, in many of the booths, agents of parties opposed to the predominant Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM) were absent.
Mrs Bharathi Tamang, Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League (ABGL) president and candidate from Darjeeling, said: “I am hopeful of victory after seeing the voters gathered in large numbers in front of all polling booths."
The internationally famous Darjeeling mall, a tourists' delight, was virtually empty. Very few people roamed around and most of the shops were closed because of the polls. The three Hill subdivisions ~ Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong ~ saw a greater voting percentage than the plains in the district.
Darjeeling constituency recorded 42 per cent polling, Kalimpong 49, Kurseong 40, Siliguri 37, Matigara-Naxalbari 24 and Phansidewa 27 till 1 p.m.
The state's highest polling station at Sirikhola Primary School at an altitude of 2,800 metres, registered 50 per cent polling till 1 p.m. Polling there was conducted under candlelight as electricity was not available. Mr PK Roy, first polling officer of Sirikhola, said people of all communities cast their votes with enthusiasm.
"As there is no electricity, we are unable to send information to sectoral offices on a regular basis," he added.
In Darjeeling district, the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were replaced in nine booths.
Mr Rohit Sharma, the GJMM candidate from Kurseong, said people voted fearlessly. Mr Prakash Dahal, GNLF candidate from Kalimpong, said the party will win the seat.
About 72 companies of Central paramilitary forces were deployed in the district to face any eventuality.
Grey sky can’t keep Hills indoors
Deep Gazmer, TNN, Apr 19, DARJEELING: The Hills went to polls today with a gloomy morning and the hint of a drizzle. This time, unlike the 2009 Lok Sabha election, Gorkhaland was not the only issue. Development and the kind of legislators they will be sending to the assembly seemed to be major concerns, especially among young voters who turned up in surprisingly high numbers.
Markets, shops and business establishments downed their shutters in the three Hills constituencies to be a part of the "historic polls" in Bengal.
Excited first-time voters and those who had been there and seen it all, lined up at booths from early morning. "It's a big day for me. I will choose the person that I feel will best represent our people," said Prerna Dechen, a first-timer, chatting enthusiastically with her friends in the queue outside St Teresa School booth in Darjeeling. Some others, who refused to be named, were worried about the lack of development and the plummeting tourist business.
For many, like Seera Khatun, Gorkhaland was the only issue. "I will vote for the candidate who is willing to work for our aspiration of a separate state. Very few of the candidates are intellectuals and well read," she said.
Voting remained peaceful throughout the day. The only hitch was with some EVMs but they were quickly replaced. "Voting went off peacefully in the Hills. Not a single incident was reported," said Mohan Gandhi, the district election officer and Darjeeling district magistrate.
By 4 pm, the average poll percentage in the district was 64%, with Kalimpong recording the highest (67%) followed by Kurseong (65%) and Darjeeling (62%)
Candidates in the fray looked excited as they went about checking the polling booths. "I am confident that all three of us will win," said Trilok Dewan, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's candidate at Darjeeling.
Bharati Tamang, the AIGL candidate from Darjeeling, too, looked confident. "I am satisfied with how the voting is going on. I know people will vote for me and my party, who represent their aspiration," she said.
Some booths saw surprisingly low turnouts. "A party that has a strong base has boycotted the polls. Perhaps that is why there is a low voting rate here," said a polling officer at Ghoom Girls High School. The Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxist, which has a strong base in Sukhia and areas of Sonada, Cedar-Rungmukh and Chungthung in Darjeeling constituency, has boycotted the election alleging that political parties in the Hills were not sincere about the statehood demand.
Gorkhaland or Sixth Schedule?
Deep Gazmer, TNN | Apr 19: DARJEELING: Six kilometres separated them, but the chill between mentor and protégé was colder than the misty morning in poll-day Darjeeling. The ballot box brought Subhas Ghisingh and Bimal Gurung the closest they have ever been since Gorkha Janmukti Morcha drove the GNLF supremo out of the Hills three years ago.
Gurung, the Morcha chief, was among the first voters to line up at booth number 23/76 at the Subash Primary School in Barapatta Bong tea estate, about 5 km from Darjeeling town on Monday. His turn came around 8.30am. Ghisingh turned up at booth number 23/29 at Ramakrishna Senior B Ed College at 10.30am — the late vote quite unlike the man who ruled Darjeeling for 20 years. Surrounded by security personnel and GNLF cadres, Ghisingh made his way to the polling booth as the GJM polling agent and supporters looked on.
GNLF could not field a polling agent at Ghisingh's booth. It was much the same story for the other anti-GJM parties. They could give polling agents in very few booths. The Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League could not field a polling agent even in the party chief, Bharati Tamang's, booth 23/128A, near her home.
Ghisingh put up a brave face. "We did not give polling agents as our party is strong enough," he said. "There is no need to have polling agents because this time the Election Commission has provided voters with slips, making it easy for them to identify their booth".
Tamang said they did not have the manpower to give polling agents in all the booths. She hinted at intimidation, too. "The polling agents have to deal with outside pressures," she said, without naming any party. The brutal murder of her husband, Madan Tamang, last year looked set to change the political equation in the Hills.
District election officer Mohan Gandhi refused to comment. "I have nothing to say. It is the prerogative of the political parties to give polling agents. But I can say that polling has been entirely peaceful," he said.
Bimal Gurung seemed in a confident mood. "It will be a hundred percent victory for our party candidates. People believe in us and will support us," he said as he waited for his turn to vote. Gorkhaland was still his target, he said, rejecting allegations that GJM was more interested in achieving an interim council. "I have only one aim and that is to achieve a separate state. I have already asked the party's three candidates to concentrate on the Gorkhaland state demand in the assembly," said Gurung. "People have already rejected the sixth schedule (Ghisingh's plan). There is no place for it in the Hills".
Ghisingh, too, stuck to his guns. "There can neither be a separate Gorkhaland state nor a Union Territory. The only plausible solution is to form a new Gorkha Hill Council under the sixth schedule provisions," he said. On being asked how it felt to be back in the Hills, the GNLF chief, looking dapper in a tie, smiled and said: "The same as before."
He admitted to being unsure of the results. "It can go either way. We may win or lose but our party will remain strong," he said.
Gorkha youths vote for ‘better life’
TNN | Apr 19, 2011,KOLKATA: The Left is desperately banking on a division of opposition votes in the Darjeeling region, where its support base is shrinking, and a surprising turnout may throw up some unpleasant surprises. Most of these seats have sitting Left Front MLAs.
In Darjeeling, the high number of first-time faces in the voter queues was a surprise. But Gorkhaland did not seem to be their major or even over-riding concern. Most of these Gorkha youngsters said they were pitching for "anyone who would give them a better life". Statehood is still a strong factor but not as much as in the 2009 Lok Saba elections, it would seem.
The Dooars, too, saw a surprisingly high turnout of Adivasis, who are asserting their identity like never before. If the Gorkha and Adivasi votes go to the Opposition, it can seal the fate of the Left in 12 constituencies.
The high poll percentage may throw out set equations in Uttar Dinajpur and Malda, where many seats are in a triangular fight. The campaign by Congress and Deepa Das Munshi's campaign for dissidents might lead to polarisation of votes, giving the Left an advantage in seats such as Hemtabad (SC) and Malda's Englishbazar.
Tea workers vote with vigour
Pinak Priya Bhattacharya, TNN | Apr 19, JALPAIGURI: They could not cast their votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls as the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parshad ( ABAVP) had called for a poll boycott. This time, when they have a chance to elect their MLA, they came out with unrestrained zeal.
Despite the fact that it was a tough choice to choose from too many contestants, the tea workers of the Dooars — mostly tribals — flocked to the polling stations in the thousands .
From Ghatia in Nagrakata to Satali in Kalchini, long queues were seen in almost every polling station in the tea gardens from the early morning hours. Men and women were seen eagerly waiting for their turn.
"I came here at 8am to find at least 50 people ahead of me. This election is of special importance to us," said Sandip Ekka of Nagrakta. Sankar Oraon of Banerhat echoed the thought. "Everyone has his eye on the Dooars to see what happens here. As a responsible voter I want to make sure that the right person gets my vote," he said.
The tea garden belt has traditionally been a Left bastion, but this time the voters seemed to be judging first and then casting their votes. The five seats in the Dooars – Malbazar, Nagrakata, Madarihat, Kalchini and Kumargram – which mainly comprises of tea gardens are witnessing a multidirectional fight for the first time ever.
Mainstream parties like the Left, Trinamool Congress and Congress are jittery this time because the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikash Parishad (ABVP), its faction the Dooars Terai Adivasi Vikas Parshad, and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha have fielded candidates, that too at a time when identity politics is at its strongest.
It has made these seats more interesting for political observers as no one is sure which way the wind will blow.
Realising that they are going to play a vital role this time, more and more tribals came out of their garden quarters to cast their votes as the day progressed. According to the administration, the turnout in the tea belt was above 83% (up from 79% in the 2006 assembly polls).
The overall turnout in Jalpaiguri was more than 83%. No untoward incident was reported. A polling personnel deployed in a booth in Jalpaiguri town got sick and was replaced. In Cooch Behar, too, more than 83% votes were cast.
Rain hits poll zone, not turnout
TT, April 18: The rain came, and sent voters scurrying for cover, even keeping away a few from the booths for some time but not enough to dampen spirits in a region where reports of 85 per cent polling made both Mamata Banerjee and Biman Bose happy, a rare occurrence in the history of Bengal politics.
The Trinamul chief said at a meeting in Birbhum that she was happy with the polling though she said she wanted 100 per cent turnout in the next five rounds.
The Assembly elections to the six north Bengal districts in the first phase ended more or less peacefully, a fact that has been acknowledged by almost all political parties, which, along with the common people, have heaped praises on the Election Commission.
“Over 70 per cent voting has taken place, and we have gone ahead in one direction. Now we want 100 per cent voting in the rest of the regions. Each vote will count,” Mamata told the rally at Bolpur, where about 20,000 people had assembled on the Dak Bungalow grounds.
“People came out to vote fearlessly,” said leader of the Opposition Partha Chatterjee of the Trinamul Congress. “The turnout was very good. As for the rains, they are a good omen for Trinamul.”
The heat and sun was almost unbearable like any other April day till the afternoon when suddenly it started raining in North Dinajpur and Cooch Behar and parts of Jalpaiguri and South Dinajpur districts.
Thundershower accompanied by squall and a wind speed of 50-60kmph hit the districts around 4.30pm. Polling was stopped for sometime in Raiganj (North Dinajpur) and Cooch Behar, when voters broke the queues and took shelter on the verandah. The voting resumed after 30 minutes.
CPM state secretary Biman Bose praised the Election Commission for the “free, fair and peaceful” polls today in the six districts — Malda, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Darjeeling.
“There were lots of provocation from the Opposition. But polling was free and fair...peaceful...wonderful. I congratulate the people for that. Generally, it was a good election,” Bose said at the party headquarters in Calcutta.
“I am happy with the poll will be around 80 per cent. Owing to rain in the afternoon, some voters had stayed away but later joined the queues. The Election Commission has done its job well. I find the Election Commission’s role proper,” he added.
No one knows for sure who will benefit from this large turnout but both the Left and the right confidently stated that it would go in their favour.
While Trinamul’s Darjeeling district chief Gautam Deb said people had turned up in large numbers to cast their votes for his party, CPM’s Asok Bhattacharya said the region had traditionally seen large turnouts which had always helped the Left.
It is not that this region had seen widespread violence on polling day in the past. But this time, even allegations of partisanship on the part of the polling personnel or charges of party cadres bullying voters were missing.
Partha Chatterjee’s only grouse was that 83 electronic voting machines malfunctioned during the day.
“The state government was responsible for the maintenance of these machines,” Chatterjee said. “Biman Bose can answer how well these machines were maintained.”
Bose, however, dismissed the malfunctioning as “small and stray incidents”.
“These are stray and small incidents,” Bose said.
“There have been arguments between ruling and Opposition parties. In Moynaguri, an Opposition leader had arranged for drinks and food for some voters in a bid to influence the latter. But that was stopped by the Election Commission. But no major incident happened.”
Asked how many seats the Front was expecting in north Bengal given that he was happy with the turnout, Bose said: “Ask them (the Opposition). They had said we will get golla (zero) after roaming around in helicopters. But Front will get majority of the seats in north Bengal.”
A senior resident of Panchanandapur, Santi Mondal, who was a voter for Malda’s Mothabari constituency, said: “Given the situation in the state, where political fortunes appear to have reversed, we had been expecting that some trouble would break out. However, things were exceptionally normal today, even compared to previous polls. We feel the entire credit goes to the Election Commission and the security personnel who manned the booths and kept vigil in all areas.”
Aparna Mukherjee, a young woman who voted in Cooch Behar constituency, said she not only felt secure but was touched by the courtesy displayed by the security men.
“While standing in the queue I found an old and frail lady, somehow reach the booth. She was panting and immediately the paramilitary officials offered her a chair and gave her some water,” she said. “After she got back her breath they requested us to allow her to jump the queue so that she could quickly cast her vote.”
As the curtain came down on the polling today, Khokan Das of Jalpaiguri, a Trinamul supporter, hoped that the “transition” of power at Writers’ Buildings from the Left to the Trinamul would be just as peaceful. “Change is coming, that’s for sure,” Das said. “Let us hope it is peaceful as well.”
Poll officer dies on duty
TT, Cooch Behar, April 18: A presiding officer died in Jalpaiguri’s Kumargram, a few hours after he complained of nausea and breathlessness. Doctors said he died because of cardiac respiratory failure.
The family of Maneshwar Roy, an inspector at the state food supplies department, blamed the sector office for his death, saying it had not done enough.
The 55-year-old polling officer was posted at Raidak Tea Garden Bengali Primary School in Kumargram constituency this morning when he started vomiting at regular intervals.
At first he was taken to the garden hospital around 11am and shifted to Alipurduar Sub Divisional Hospital four hours later.
Roy’s brother Subhas said the family came to know about his illness from the hospital. “Neither the sector officer or other officials bothered to inform us,” he said.
The family shifted Roy to a nursing home in Cooch Behar in the afternoon but he died at 9.10pm. “We have decided to file a police complaint in Alipurduar against the sector officer and other officials,” Subhas said.
Enclave protest at EC officials

TT, Cooch Behar, April 18:Election Commission officials travelling through a Bangladeshi enclave in India were shown black flags by the residents to protest against the authorities’ nonchalant attitude towards their problems.
The officials were returning after conducting the polls at Shalmara in Nazirhaat II gram panchayat when they were shown flags and banners that read “shame to the Indian Election Commission” in the Mashaldanga enclave.
The demonstration was organised under the banner of the Bharat-Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Co-ordination Committee to protest the election officials trespassing on Bangladesh.
“The Election Commission has been using the enclave but the (Indian) government is silent about solving the problems of the residents of the enclaves,” said Diptiman Sengupta, the convenor of the committee.
Raju Bhattacharya, a resident, said they were opposed to the officials using the highway.
“Five residents of the enclave have been languishing in Alipurduar jail for over two years only because they had sneaked into the Indian mainland. But Indian officials are using the road in the enclave. How do you explain this discriminatory behaviour?” asked Bhattacharya.
The polling personnel had used the road passing through the enclave for travelling between Shalmara and Dinhata, two places in India.
Compendium of activities during 100 days in Sikkim
Prabin Khaling, Gangtok, 18 April: As a follow up of the declaration made at the recently concluded Budget Session to complete the task within 100 days a meeting on Task for each department for 100 days was convened here at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok today. The meeting was Chaired by the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and was attended by Speaker, SLA, Dy.Chairman, State Planning Commission, Cabinet Ministers, MLA’s, Chairpersons, Adyakshas, Upadhyakshas, Chief Secretary, Director General Of Police, Secretaries and Heads of various government departments and representatives of Panchayats.
The Chief Ministers Office had taken out a book of compendium of activities to be taken up during these 100 days by each and every department of the state government. The activities included various activities related to poverty free state to Kutcha house free state and slum free mission adopted by the government. The bottoms up policy of the government with special impetus on Gram Sabha for micro planning of the schemes to completion of PMGSY within 100 days are also included in the book. The book has in it the policy of the government, the objective of the scheme and the time frame for its completion. The book is in itself a guiding principle for the departments and the Chief Minister was very serious while reading the books for all assembled there for the meeting. The year 2011-12 being declared the Year of Innovation for the State of Sikkim every end line of the road map for each department specially mentions, “Innovative schemes to be brought forward before the Government.
Credit will lie on such innovative schemes.” Monitoring and evaluation of all the schemes have been given special emphasis and “should be done at the level of the Head of the Department” the book says.
The Chief Minister started his address by saying that time and tide wait for no man and therefore, there is no rest for me, for you and no rest for out thought processes. While addressing the gathering he said that the government has communicated the commitment in considerable detail and length which shows the concern and seriousness towards the task of fulfilling both the long term and sort term goals laid by the government. The Chief Minister further said that the government has already announced seventeen Missions during the last financial year as a road map of development in various sectors providing for total literacy, green mission, organic mission, poverty free mission etc.
which have to be completed at all costs. He further said that our officials will have to discharge their duties for translating the missions in reality with more sensitivity and human touch. The Chief Minister also urged for more innovative, imaginative and fully grounded thinking on the real life situation.
The meeting also saw an interactive session which was participated by the Heads of various departments.
Zilla Adyaksha (E) Bimal Dawari, Secretary, Health, V.B.Pathak, District Collector (W) Shanta Pradhan and BDO,Ravangla Miss Tshewang Doma also shared their views on the 100 days task laid by the government.

सरकार प्रायोजित गुण्डागर्दीको बिरुद्द आज जनताद्वारा च्याखुंग बजार बन्द अनि जोरथांग – सोरेंग बाटो जाम  

हिज राती जीवन गुरुङले च्याखुंग बजार निवासी श्री किरण गुरुङको गाडी SK 04/ 9012 (सवारी ) तोड-फोड गरेको बिरुद्द आज चाख्यंग बजार पूर्णरुपले बन्द रह्यो अनि च्याखुंगको जनताले यो गुण्डागर्दीको बिरुद्दमा बिहान साढे आठ बजेदेखि  दिउसो साढे एक बजेसम्म जोरथांगदेखि सोरेंग जाने सडक पूर्णरुपले जाम गरयो | यसरी बजार र सडक बन्द गरेर आरोपी जीवन गुरुङलाई तुरन्त प्रकाउ गर्नु, जीवन गुरुङलाई अपराधी काम गर्नु उत्साहित गर्ने तथा निर्देशन गर्ने मास्टर माईण्ड मंत्री आर०बी०सुब्बालाई प्रकाउ गर्नु पर्ने, च्याखुंग बजारमा शान्ती कायम गर्नु पर्ने, नागरिकहरुको ज्यान र प्राणको सुरक्षा गर्नु पर्ने आदि माग जनताले राख्यो | 
यो भन्दा अघि पनि आरोपी जीवन गुरुंगले मंत्री आर०बी०सुब्बाको उपस्तिथी र निर्देशनमा जीवन गुरुङले सिंग्लिंगमा एक निर्दोष युवा श्री राजेन तामांगलाई प्राण घातक आक्रमण गरेकोछ भने जमानतमा छुटेर आएपछि गत २ अप्रेलको को दिन श्री किरण गुरुङको ज्यानमा घात गर्ने भनेर धम्की दिएको छ जसको FIR सोरेंग थानामा दर्त गरी सकेकोछ | यही जीवन गुरुङले फेरी हिज राती किरण गुरुङको गाडी गाडी तोड-फोड गरेको बिरोधमा जनताले उग्र रोस प्रकट गर्दै यसरी बजार र सडक बन्द गरेपछि प्रशासनबाट  एस०पी० (पश्चिम) ए०एस०पी० (पश्चिम) एस्०डी०पी०ओ (सोरेंग) पी०आई० (नयाँ बजार) घटना स्थलमा आयो | च्याखुंगको जनताले पुलिस अधिकारीहरुलाई बतायो कि यो भन्दा अघि पनि जीवन गुरुङले सोरेंग-सिंग्लिंग निवासी राजेन तामांगलाई प्राण घातक आक्रमण गरेको छ अनि जमानतमा छुटिए पछि आज च्याखुंगमा अशान्ती फैलाउने गुण्डागर्दी गरी रहेकोछ |च्याखुंगको जनताले  एकै स्वरमा बतायो कि यस्तो अपराधी चरित्र भएको जीवन गुरुङ क्षेत्र विधायक एंव मंत्री आर०बी०सुब्बाको संरक्षणमा कानूनदेखि बाचेर हिड्ने गर्छ अनि मन्त्रीकै संरक्षण पाएको कारण बारम्बर यस्तो अपराधी काम गर्ने गर्छ | 
मंत्री र जीवन गुरुङ ठूलो हो कि कानून ठूलो हो भनेर प्रश्न उठाउदै पुलिस अधिकारीहरुलाई जनताले निष्पक्षरुपमा काम गरेर आपराधीहरुलाई कठोर सजाय दिने माग गरयो ताकी भोलीको सिक्किम अशान्ती हुनुबाट बाँच्न सकोस | पुलिस प्रसाशनमाथि बिश्वास र भरोसा रहेको तर पुलिसले पनि सही न्याय नदिए जनता आफैले अब आफ्नो सुरक्षाको निम्ति कदम उठाउने बताउदै यस्तो भएको खण्डमा कुनै  अप्रिय घटना घट्न गए प्रसाशन स्वंय  जिम्मेवार हुने जनताले बतायो | एस०पी० पश्चिमले हस्तक्षेप गरेर जीवन गुरुङलाई अहिले नै प्रकाउ गरी सकिएको अनि सोरेंग  थानामा थुनेको साथै सिंग्लिंग काण्डमा उसले पाएको बेललाई रद्द गर्ने बचन दिएपछि जनताले सडक जाम साढे एक बजे फिर्ता लियो तर बजार बन्द यथावत रह्यो | सडक जाम फिर्ता गरेपछि जनताले च्याखुंग बजारदेखि च्याखुंग स्कूलसम्म न्यायको माग गर्दै अनि गुण्डागर्दीको बिरोध गर्दै रयाली  निकाल्यो | रयालीमा “गुण्डागर्दी बन्द हुनु पर्छ, नागरिक सुरक्षा हुनु पर्छ, दोषी र अपराधीहरुलाई सजाय दिनै पर्छ, प्रजातन्त्रको रक्षा हुनु पर्छ आदि” भन्दै ब्यापक नाराबाजी गरयो | पुलिस प्रशासनले नागरीक सुरक्षाको निम्ति पहल नगरे अब च्याखुंगका जनता स्वंयले आफ्नो सुरक्षा गर्ने अनि ईट्टको जवाब ढुंगाले दिने आज निर्णय लियो |  
( जन रिपोटिंग जेकब खालिंगबाट )

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