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Punjab Polls: After rescuing labourers, Sonu Sood hits streets again

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Months after he came to the rescue of labourers walking back home in the days of Covid-19 lockdown, actor and philanthropist Sonu Sood is himself hitting the streets.

With folded hands and smile on his lips, he’s going from house to house event in scores of villages drumming up support for his sister Malvika Sood Sachar contesting the Punjab Assembly polls less than a fortnight away.

With villagers complaining of lack of basic infrastructure facilities like public toilets, sanitation, drainage, disposal of sewage and large potholes as several people have met with accidents, Sood, accompanying his younger sister who is born and brought up in this town in the Malwa region, is assuring improvement, if the Congress party retains the helm in the state.

Malvika joined the Congress just a week ahead of the pronouncement of the February 20 polls for 117 Assembly seats.

She has replaced sitting Congress legislator Harjot Kamal, who joined the BJP and is again in the fray to retain the seat that has been the Congress stronghold since 2007.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)leader and former minister Tota Singh, who was convicted in 2012 in a case of corruption and sentenced to a year of imprisonment, represented this seat for two successive terms — 1997 and 2002.

Malvika, 39, married and running her parental family business in Moga, told IANS that she has taken the political plunge to dedicate herself to serve the society like her brother.

Sonu Sood’s childhood friends in his hometown, some 175 km from the state capital Chandigarh, described him as the messiah of tens of thousands of desperate migrants amidst pandemic and supporting school educations of scores of underprivileged, while his family believes his philanthropy spirit comes from his ancestry.

Born to a business family, the siblings’ father was in the cloth business and mother was an English lecturer in town’s oldest D.M. College of Education.

Their eldest sister is settled in the US.

“Sonu is a household name in every village. We have seen him on news channels on several occasions when he himself was on the streets to help the migrants who were returning to their homes during the pandemic. If he has zeal for serving society, we expect his sister will also follow in his footsteps,” octogenarian Nachhatar Kaur of Rattian village told IANS.

She said the brother-sister duo came to the village last week and sought votes with promise to strengthen village streets and the sewage treatment system.

Sharing similar sentiments, another village elder Ajaib Kaur added, “Ahead of the elections, Sonu’s sister came to our village and sponsored the school fees of several poor students when she came to know that their parents have lost wages due to the pandemic. She has provided money to poor villagers for rebuilding their ‘kutcha’ houses.”

However, Malvika’s rival and AAP candidate Amandeep Kaur Arora believes Malvika’s identity is only her brother.

“Malvika has no identity of her own. She is known only as Sonu Sood’s sister. My identity is that of a doctor and served ex-servicemen and their families,” Amandeep added.

SAD candidate Barjinder Makhan Brar, a lawyer by profession, believes in the dynasty’s advantage.

“My father (Tota Singh) remained an MLA of Moga twice and did a lot of development work. Sonu Sood has just surfaced. He’s just trying to woo the voters by using money. If he has philanthropic initiatives to his credit, what is the contribution of his sister to society? After all, the legislator is the local representative in the Assembly. The voters can’t be befooled for the sake of Sonu’s philanthropy,” he added.

In 2017, Harjot Kamal, then with the Congress, won the seat by securing 52,357 votes, while AAP’s Ramesh Grover finished second with 50,593 votes. Barjinder Brar polled 36,587 votes.

Incumbent Charanjit Singh Channi, the chief minister face of the Congress, while campaigning for Malvika, who did Master of Computer Application, on Wednesday announced if the party returns to power she would be a minister in his Council of Ministers.

In December 2020, a road in Sonu Sood’s hometown was named after his mother, Prof Saroj Sood. At this the actor said he cannot contain his happiness and this will always be the most important chapter in his life.

“Sonu is deeply attached to hometown, his family and friends. He prefers to travel to Moga whenever he spares time from his hectic schedule in Bollywood, Malvika, who runs cloth and education business, told IANS.

Sonu’s grandfather Vidya Rattan Sood was also a known philanthropist.

Malvika’s neighbour Rakesh Khanna said the people in the town are proud of Sonu for bringing this town into limelight through his philanthropic spirit.

He said his parents wanted him to become an engineer. He did his engineering from Nagpur.

“Besides having no godfather in the film industry, he established himself,” Khanna said, adding even his sister has no ego with the fame of her brother.

“Whenever Sonu is in his hometown, you can see him riding on his scooter from his college days. He also prefers to spend time in his father’s shop located in the main market,” Khanna added.

Crime

Angry mob attack Udaipur murder accused outside court; hurls slippers, bottles

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 An angry mob attacked the two main accused in the Udaipur tailor murder case outside the premises of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Saturday.

The accused were thrashed by the mob as well as lawyears who were waiting outside the court premises when the accused were being escorted by the police.

A heavy police force was deployed outside the NIA court where a large group of people gathered and raised slogans when the accused were being brought out of the court.

Earlier, the NIA court sent all the four accused, including prime accused Mohammad Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad, to 10-day NIA remand till July 12.

A few lawyers inside the courtroom premises also demanded death punishment for the accused. When the two prime accused were escorted outside the court by the police, an infuriated crowd attacked them with bottles and slippers.

On June 28, a tailor named Kanhaiya Lal was beheaded in broad daylight inside his tailoring shop on a crowded lane in Udaipur for allegedly supporting suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma over her controversial remarks on Prophet Muhammed.

The prime accused — Mohammad Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad — even filmed act and uploaded it on social media.

While Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad were arrested that day itself, two more persons, identified as Mohsin and Asif, were arrested on Thursday in connection with Kanhaiya Lal’s murder.

The NIA is probing the matter with support from the Anti-Terrorist Squad and Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police.

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National News

‘Don’t buy from Muslim vendors’ notice surfaces in Guj village

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An alleged gram panchayat notification bearing the name of the Sarpanch directing shopkeepers and residents not to buy anything from Muslim vendors is doing the rounds at a village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district.

The notification says if anyone is seen buying goods from Muslim vendors, he or she would be fined Rs 5,100, and the fine amount would be used for ‘Gaushalas’.

The letter dated June 30 mentions that the rule has been introduced in the aftermath of the grusome killing of a tailor in Udaipur on June 18.

The letter has a stamp on it along with the Sarpanch’s ‘signature’. Five members have signed the letter including, one name written in Gujarati, Patel Jethabhai.

When the Sarpanch, Patel Mafiben Virabhai, was contacted, her husband Virabhai Patel received the call and told IANS: “My wife is not a Sarpanch anymore since last November.

“I am also a member of the village administration… none of us wrote that letter. We are trying to find out who has written it, signed and put a stamp. There is no one called Patel Jethabhai in our village. Someone is trying to spoil our image.”

Reacting to the notification, Congress MLA Gulabsinh Rajput from Tharad constituency in Banaskantha told IANS: “India is a democratic country and no one can issue such a ‘farman’. This is misuse of power and designation.”

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AAP alleges govt may charge for borewells in housing society in Gujarat

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 With Gujarat Assembly polls approaching, the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday scaled up its attack on the ruling BJP in the state. The party said the BJP has failed to provide the basic necessity like water to the people and will charge Rs 10,000 for digging a bore well for housing society.

AAP’s Gujarat vice president Sagar Rabari said, “The Central Water Authority has made an announcement that people who take water from boreholes and tube wells in Housing Society have to pay Rs 10,000 for registration.”

He said further, “The Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Act enacted in 2013 was for villages and agriculture only. According to this, farmers had to register their boreholes, wells and tube wells and get license to build new ones. But as per the new announcement of the Central Water Authority, if the society wants to build a new borewell or tubewell, it will have to get a license.”

“Providing water to residential houses, villages is the responsibility of the municipality, municipal corporation and the government. But the BJP government has failed to provide this. It has not been able to provide water in many residential areas. By drawing water, societies pay electricity bills at their own expense. This is putting an extra burden on them. Not only will Rs 10,000 have to be paid, how much water is extracted from underground will also be metered. They will also have to pay the bill in proportion to the water extracted. If anybody violates the terms, his license will be revoked.”

Sagar Rabari said, “It is clear that voting for the BJP means voting for slavery. All this paints a clear picture of the next election. I appeal to the people of Gujarat to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this rule and vote accordingly.”

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