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Monday, April 4, 2011

Symbols alloted ... Tables turned, Morcha wary... Showcause for poll code flout ... Tables turned, Morcha wary .. कंग्रेस र तृणमूललाई समर्थन गर्नु मोर्चाको मुद्दा होइन सत्ता केन्द्रित कार्यचरित्र-क्रामाकपा ..... हामी कसैलाई समर्थन गर्दैनौं-पाखरिन

KalimNews : After the completion of the hour for withdrawal EC alloted symbols for the forthcoming Assembly election. Symbols of GJM for Darjeeling and Kalimpong - Table: Kurseong- Candle;  ABGL for  Darjeeling and Kalimpong -Candle, Kurseong-Table; GNLF for Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong- Kite.
Tables turned, Morcha wary

Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, April 4: The tables have turned — on the candles and hill voters need to be doubly sure while casting their ballots.
In Darjeeling and Kalimpong, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha is fighting on the table symbol while arch rival ABGL is contesting with the candle. But in the Kurseong constituency, the symbols have been interchanged which could lead to confusion among the voters.
The Morcha has accused the ABGL of indulging in “foul play” to “mislead voters”.
“In all the three constituencies, we had mentioned the candle as our first symbol preference while filing our nominations on March 28,” said Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri.
“To create confusion in the minds of the voters, the ABGL indulged in foul play and also chose the same symbol in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. But the symbol confusion will not affect us much as our supporters are conscious voters,” Giri added.
Sources in the administration said with both the parties opting for the candle in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, a draw was organised. While the ABGL got the candle, the Morcha had to be satisfied with the table symbol.
In Kurseong, the Morcha candidate opted for the candle and the ABGL for the table as their first preferences and so there was no need for a draw, sources said. The Morcha’s second choice in all the three seats was the table.
Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL, said: “We had left the choice of symbols to our three candidates.”
Candidates of both the parties have had to choose their symbols from what was offered by the Election Commission because of the regional nature of their outfits.
The elections in Kurseong are expected to be interesting not just because of the symbol confusion but also because of the GNLF’s sudden spurt in activity.
Over the past one week, the GNLF has organised public rallies in Kurseong, Mirik and Sonada, suggesting that it still has sufficient support base in the region. GNLF president Subash Ghisingh is also expected to return to the hills after three years to campaign for his party, which has been given the kite symbol in all the three hill constituencies.
Palden Bhutia, the president of the Kurseong branch committee of the GNLF, said: “We cannot divulge the exact date when our chief will be coming to the hills but he will definitely come.”
Showcause for poll code flout
TT, Siliguri, April 4: The Election Commission today show-caused Siliguri CPM candidate Asok Bhattacharya on a complaint by the Trinamul Congress that he had violated the model code of conduct by distributing voter slips containing his name and symbol among the electorate.
Bhattacharya, the Bengal municipal affairs and urban development minister, was asked to explain in 24 hours why action should not be taken for flouting the norms.
“The Election Commission has time and again made it clear that political parties or those contesting the polls can issue voter slips, but they must not carry the names, photographs and the symbols of the candidates,” said Vedabrata Dutta, a state committee member of Trinamul.
“We found that the CPM and Asok Bhattacharya were distributing slips that carry his name and symbol with an appeal to cast votes for him. This is a gross violation of the model code of conduct and we want the EC to take appropriate action against him.”
The complaint was lodged by Dutta with the Siliguri subdivisional officer Sourav Pahari. Rudranath Bhattacharya is the Trinamul candidate in Siliguri.
According to Trinamul leaders, Asok’s voter slip is perforated in the middle and on one side, there is a blank space to write voter’s name, serial number, and booth. The slip also states that CPM state committee member Jibesh Sarkar is its publisher.
The poll panel has stated on its website (question number 84 of the FAQs under the model code of conduct) that issuing voter slips with candidates’ names and symbols is against the model code of conduct.
“The unofficial identity slip, on white paper, shall contain only the particulars of the voter i.e. name, serial number of voter, part no in the electoral roll, serial no and name of polling station and date of poll. It should not contain the name of candidate, his photograph and symbol,” says the website.
The CPM has, however, rejected the charge. “The slip had perforation in the middle. While issuing the slips, we tear the part that contains the name and symbol of the candidate and hand over the other part to voters,” said Jibesh Sarkar. “The Opposition should know that we are obeying EC norms and there is no question of influencing the voters by violating the rules.”
The election officials have sent a notice to Bhattacharya. “On the basis of the complaint, a notice has been sent to the candidate concerned. He was asked to explain his action in 24 hours,” said Sourav Pahari, who is also the returning officer of Siliguri. “In case his reply is not satisfactory, we will send all documents with our comments to the chief electoral officer in Calcutta for further action.”

Parishad’s Terai retreat
TT, Siliguri, April 4:The Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad’s only candidate in the Terai withdrew his nomination today, suggesting that the tribal outfit may have entered into an informal alliance with the Congress for the Phansidewa seat.
In the neighbouring Dooars, a state committee member of the Parishad and a leader of its labour union have been replaced by “social workers” so that they can devote more time to their organisational work.
The members of the core committee of the Parishad, clarified that the decision to withdraw Tezkumar Toppo and Shukra Munda from the fray in the Dooars was taken to keep them free for organisational work.
Local tribal leaders in Phansidewa said the Adivasi outfit-backed candidate for the reserved seat, Nicotin Minz, withdrew his nomination based on an informal understanding with the Congress.
Last month, Raju Bara, chairman of the Parishad core committee, had announced the names of the candidates for six constituencies in the Dooars and the Terai.
Toppo, the state general secretary of the Parishad, and Shukra Munda, the chairman of the Progressive Tea Workers’ Union, were on the list of announced names and were supposed to contest from Malbazar and Nagrakata.

“They, however, did not file their nominations as we replaced them with two fresh candidates. Both of them hold important posts in our organisation and in the tea trade union. It was decided that they should give all time to the organisations,” Bara said.

Shukra Munda said he held an important post in the Parishad and contesting the election would have meant more pressure.
“Instead, we will work for the candidates whom we have fielded.” The Parishad’s candidates in the Dooars include the two “social workers” and an LIC development officer as well.
“Ganga Beck and William Minz will contest from Malbazar and Nagrakata constituencies. Both Beck and Minz are popular social workers,” Bara said.
Jerome Lakra, a 50-year-old development officer of the LIC, is the candidate from the Madarihat seat. Vinay Minz, contesting from Kumargram, is a trader while Sandip Ekka, the candidate from Kalchini, is a contractor.
Bara said his outfit was confident that once elected, the representatives would be able to fulfill the “longstanding aspirations of the tribal population”.
कंग्रेस र तृणमूललाई समर्थन गर्नु मोर्चाको मुद्दा होइन सत्ता केन्द्रित कार्यचरित्र-क्रामाकपा

मनोज वोगटी, कालेबुङ,4 अप्रेल| अन्ततः पहाड़का दलहरू चुनाउ लड्ने पक्कापक्की भयो। आज नामाङ्‌कन फिर्ता लिने अन्तिम दिन भएपनि कुनै पनि दलले नामाङ्‌कन फिर्ता लिएन। मोर्चाको वैकल्पिक उम्मेद्वार डा.आर.बी.भूजेलले मात्र चुनावी मैदान डा.हर्कबहादुर छेत्रीको निम्ति छोड्दै नामाङ्‌कन फिर्ता लिए। आज कुनाउ कार्यालयले चुनाउ लड्ने दलहरूलाई चिनाउ चिह्न पनि प्रदान गर्‍यो। कंग्रेस र भाकपाले पुरानै दलीय चिह्न नै पायो भने मोर्चाले चुनाउ चिह्न टेबल पायो। 

यता गोर्खालीगले मोमबत्ती पाएको छ भने गोरामुमोले चङ्गा।  पहाड़को अर्को शक्तिशाली दल क्रामाकपाले मात्र चुनाउ लड़ेन। एकपत्रकार सम्मेलनबाट क्रामाकपा प्रतिनिधि किशोर प्रधानले भने, सबैदल एक नभएकोले चुनाउको महत्व रहेन। अन्तिम क्षणसम्म क्रामाकपाले सबै दललाई साझा उम्मेद्वार उठाउनको निम्ति सहमति जुटाउने प्रयास गर्‍यो, तर दलहरूको मुद्दाप्रेम भन्दा धेर दलीय स्वार्थको कारण यो सहमतिको वातावरण बनेन। सबै दलले साझा उम्मेद्वार दिएको भए विधानसभामा जनताले दिने मत गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति हुनेथियो। एक्लाएक्लै लड़ेर दलहरूले जनमत गोर्खाल्याण्डको पक्षमा नभएर विभाजित मुद्दाको निम्ति रहेको प्रमाणित गर्ने भयो, जो गोर्खाल्याण्ड मुद्दाको निम्ति हानिकारक हो। यो चुनाउ गोर्खाल्याण्ड मुद्दाको विरोधमा हुनेछ। यसैकारण क्रामाकपाले चुनाउमा अंशग्रहण गरेन। 

अर्कोतिर मोर्चा प्रमुख विमल गुरूङले दलको नाम नलिइ चुनाउ नलड्ने दलले मोर्चालाई समर्थन गरिदिने आह्वान गरेका थिए। यससम्बन्धमा किशोर प्रधान अनि मोहन पौड्यालले मोर्चाले आधिकारिकरूपले अन्तरिम प्राधिकरणको मुद्दालाई खारेज नगरेकोले मोर्चालाई समर्थन गर्ने प्रश्न नै नउठ्‌ने बताए। किशोर प्रधानले भने, मोर्चा मुद्दाको निम्ति इमान्दार हुनु हो भने साझा उम्मेद्वारको कुरालाई जोड़ दिइनेथियो, तर मोर्चा मुद्दामा इमान्दार नरहेकोले नै एक्लै लड्यो अनि लोकसभामा गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति दिएको जनमतलाई विभाजन गरेर बङ्गाललाई सम्पूर्ण जनता गोर्खाल्याण्डको पक्षमा नरहेको प्रमाणित गरिरहेको छ। तिनले मोर्चा मुद्दामा इमान्दार नरहेको सोझो उदाहरण दिँदै भने, कंग्रेस र तृणमूल कंग्रेस, जसले भर्खर नै चुनावी घोषणापत्र जारी गरेको छ। जहॉं बङ्गभङ्ग पटक्क हुन नदिइने कटिबद्धता उल्लेख गरिएको छ। 

जुन दलले घोषणापत्रमा भङ्गभङ्ग हुन दिनेछैनौं भनेर लेखेको छ अनि चुनावी प्रचार गरिरहेको छ, तराईमा तिनै दललाई मोर्चाले समर्थन गर्नुको के अर्थ रहन्छ? बङ्गलमा कंग्रेस र तृणमूलले सरकार बनाउँछ अनि यो सरकारले प्राधिकरण गठन गर्छ भन्ने मोर्चाले गरेको आशा मात्र होइन? प्राधिकरणको निम्ति गोर्खाल्याण्ड विरोधी शक्तिसित मिल्नुको अर्थ के रहन्छ? मोर्चामा मुद्दा केन्द्रित होइन सत्ता केन्द्रित कार्यचरित्र देखापरेको छ। यसकारण क्रामाकपाले चुनाउ गोर्खाल्याण्डको विरोधमा हुने स्पष्ट रहेकोले भोट नखसालिदिने अपील गर्दछ। मोहन पौड्यालले भने, मोर्चाले सिलगड़ी काटेपछि प्राधिकरणको कुरा गर्छ अनि सिलगढ़ीबाट उभो चड़ेपछि गोर्खाल्याण्डको कुरा गर्छ। मोर्चा मुद्दालाई लिएर स्पष्ट हुनुपर्छ। मोर्चाले नै प्राधिकरणको प्रस्ताव केन्द्रलाई बुझाएको छ। जबसम्म मोर्चाले प्राधिकरणलाई आधिकारिकरूपले खारेज गर्दैन क्रामाकपाले समर्थन गर्दैन।

हामी कसैलाई समर्थन गर्दैनौं-पाखरिन
मनोज वोगटी, कालेबुङ,4 अप्रेल| गोर्खाल्याण्ड राज्य निर्माण मोर्चाले विधानसभा चुनाउमा कुनै दललाई पनि समर्थन नगर्ने भएको छ। गोरानिमोका अध्यक्ष दावा पाखरिनले भने, यो दल गोर्खाल्याण्डको निम्ति गठन भएको हो। चुनाउ लड्न गठन भएको होइन। यदि साझा उम्मेद्वार उठाइएकोे भए गोर्खाल्याण्डको जनमत देखाउन चुनाउमा अंशग्रहण गर्नसक्थ्यो तर दलहरू गोर्खाल्याण्डको होइन दलको स्वार्थमा लागेकोले गोरानिमो चुनाउबाट अलग बस्छ। तिनले यसो अवधीमा गोरानिमोले दल विस्तारलाई प्रमुखता दिने भएको च। तिनले अनुमति भए जनसभाहरू गर्नको निम्ति तारतम्य पनि मिलाइरहेको बताउँदै भने, मोर्चाले मेरो घर जलायो, उच्छेद गर्‍यो तरै पनि गोर्खाल्याणअडको सबै दलहरू एक हुने आसाले गोजमुमोले बोलाएको बैठकमा पनि गएँ, तर स्वार्थीहरूको षड़यन्त्रको कारण यो प्रयास सफल भएन। अहिले चुनाउको निम्ति दलहरूमा तानतानी भइरहेको छ।  
High on Cup win, hills hope for revival

Rajeev Ravidas, TT, Kalimpong: Will cricket see a revival in the hills in the wake of the exploits of the Indian team in the World Cup?
Die-hard cricket lovers in Kalimpong are hoping the answer would be affirmative.
Unlike most parts of the country, football, and not cricket, is the most popular game in the hills. Cricket, in fact, started acquiring mass appeal only since the mid-eighties
when Doordarshan started beaming international cricket matches in the region.Earlier, it used to be a sport played mostly by the “babalogs” in the handful of Anglo-Indian schools here. However, thanks to television, local people started taking to the game in a big way by the start of the nineties.
In 1992, the Piranhas Club based here started the annual Piranhas Cup cricket tournament, which arguably was the biggest in the hills and neighbouring Sikkim.
“Participating teams from different parts of north Bengal and Sikkim used to hire Ranji Trophy players for the tournament. The Bengal Ranji captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla also played for one of the teams in the nineties,” said Shamsher Ali, the chief co-ordinator of the club. After 2009, the tournament has not been held, reflecting perhaps the lack of interest among the present generation in the sport.
Ali, however, said the club had not been able to host the event last year because of financial crunch. “It costs Rs 2 lakh to host the tournament. Sadly, the DGHC, which used to fund the tournament, stopped doing so because of political turmoil in the hills. We are, however, hopeful of hosting the tournament sooner than later with financial support from various quarters,” said Ali.

And Ali, like many other die hard cricket fans, is hoping India’s triumph in the World Cup could act as the catalyst for the revival of the sport. “I am sure the World Cup victory would make cricket more popular not just in Kalimpong but in the entire hills. Television reaches every corner and youngsters might have seen the fame and money that comes with the game,” said Sona Fonning, a former cricketer.
Sandip Jain, who used to play for the Cricket Club of Kalimpong (now disbanded), too, said he was hoping more and more kids would take to the sport. “Actually, my own reading is that there are more kids playing cricket, but for some reason the quality of the game they play is not the same as it used to be during our time,” he said.
Toy train to resume forest rides in Siliguri
TT, Siliguri, April 4: For those who want to enjoy a ride through the forest on a toy train, there is good news.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway will resume the jungle safari between Siliguri Junction and Tindharia by the end of this month.
The forest rides on the route were stopped around two years ago because of less passenger traffic.
With the regular services between Siliguri and Kurseong stalled since June last year after a landslide at Paglajhora damaged the tracks, tourists who wanted to enjoy a DHR ride had only two options left: avail of the services on the Kurseong-Darjeeling route or between Darjeeling and Ghoom.
“We have decided to resume the jungle safari and are trying to bring in the local travel and tour operators to conduct the rides. The main motive behind starting the rides around this time is to increase the popularity of the hill railway among the tourists visiting the region this season,” said P. P. Roy, director of the DHR.
The toy trains will start from Siliguri Junction and pass through the forests of Sukna before reaching Tindharia, 30km from here, and then travel back to Siliguri.
“Three second class coaches hauled by diesel engines will be used for the rides. We have opted to conduct the jungle safari in association with private tour companies because they are better equipped to popularise the rides among their clientele and the passenger bookings are assured. The fare and the number of days they will be conducted in a week are yet to be decided,” said Roy.
He added that during the safari the toy trains will halt at Sukna station, where tourists can visit the picture gallery, and at Tindharia, where visitors can go to Agony Point, a popular loop on the DHR track.
“Tourists usually wish to travel the entire length of the DHR from Siliguri Junction to Darjeeling so that they get to enjoy the ride through the forest. But under the present circumstances where the Kurseong-Siliguri services are stalled since June, the jungle safari is a viable alternative,” said a source.
According to the DHR officials, the move will popularise the safaris among the local people as well as the tourists who visit the region.

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