This week Punjab: What in Moga
- Trouble mounts for Sreesanth as Mumbai cops gather more evidence
- SIT to seek Supreme Court guidance on Maya Kodnani death penalty issue
- Tamil Nadu police bans Yasin Malik-linked pro-Eelam public meeting
- Kings XI Punjab end IPL 2013 campaign with a win
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
All eyes are on the February 23 Moga bypoll, as it is likely to predict the mood of the state. The contest, between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the main opposition, Congress, was necessitated due to the resignation of Congress MLA Joginderpal Jain who switched sides and joined the SAD. Jain is the ruling party's candidate for the bypoll. Left with no choice, the Congress has given a ticket to Vijay Sathi, who last contested an election successfully way back in 1997. Ten candidates are in the fray for the bypoll.
Facing acute financial crunch, the state was in news last week when Cato Institute report said that Punjab had fallen in economic freedom rankings from the sixth position in 2005 to the 12th in 2011. It said this cannot be explained by Sikh militancy or tensions with Pakistan — two favourite explanations of the political parties. Punjab's travails arise mainly from high fiscal deficits and public debt due to the policy of providing electricity free of cost in rural areas in order to woo farmers, pointed out the report.
End of water war?
Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda's offer to his Punjab counterpart to settle water disputes between the two states has been welcomed by Parkash Singh Badal. However, it remains to be seen what will come out of the proposed talks. Haryana blames Punjab for denying it water by not completing the construction of SYL canal. Punjab opposes linking of Hansi-Butana canal with Bhakra main line (BML) that will take Punjab's water to Haryana. Haryana opposes construction of Dashmesh canal and linking it to BML so that it can irrigate farmland in Ropar, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala districts.
Following the execution of Afzal Guru, the focus has shifted on Balwant Singh Rajoana, the Babbar Khalsa extremist involved in the conspiracy that led to the assassination of the then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995. Rajoana is facing death sentence. CM Parkash Singh Badal had pleaded with the Union Home Minister to defer the punishment, just two days before he was to be hanged on March 31 last year. The SAD's stand on the issue continues to be the same. SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said the party believes in "pro-life" principles and if needed the CM will plead Rajoana's case with the Centre. "It's an emotional issue and can threaten to become a law and order problem," he added.
- Quake-hit and shaken, Bhaderwah spends nights in the open
- UP blast accused dies on way to jail, govt wanted to drop case against him
- Former civil aviation secy changes mind, seeks airport security exemption as EC
- BCCI suspects Gujarat players in other teams were also approached
- Police on money trail, Sreesanth in fresh trouble
- Chhattisgarh 'encounter' leaves 8 villagers dead, no Maoist link yet