Transgender tests the waters in ‘Ram ki nagri'

Gulshan Bindu alias Bindu ‘kinnar', as the name suggests, is a transgender who has made life difficult for the candidates in the electoral fray in Ayodhya. It is not known whether Bindu will win the poll in “Ram ki nagri” but she has certainly emerged as a serious contender. Nobody is taking Bindu lightly, least of all the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, Lalloo Singh, who is said to be worried at the prospect of the “kinnar” causing a dent in the Ati Dalit voters who support him. The talk in Ayodhya now is the likely vote tally of Bindu after the first phase of polling on Wednesday. Aware of the strong connection of the temple-town with Lord Rama, Bindu in her election speeches, has been quoting Rama, who is said to have told the ‘kinnars' that they will rule in ‘Kalyug.'

Trinamool rides piggyback on former CM ‘Doctor Willy'

The Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee, struggling to put together a decent group of office-bearers for its Goa unit, is ironically the first to come out with a Goa manifesto for the March 3 elections. The Trinamool Congress in Goa is riding piggyback on the shoulders of wily octogenarian Goan politician Wilfred de Souza, a former Chief Minister shown the door by the NCP around a year ago, and given the cold shoulder by the Congress, which is unwilling to forgive him for past actions, including his rebellion and floating of the Rajiv Congress.

After announcing candidates for 10 constituencies and hoping to rope in some more, Mr. de Souza on Sunday accompanied by Ms. Maria Fernandes, Tranmool's Minority Cell In-charge and Central Committee Member Siddarth Kumar, released the party manifesto for Goa promising a 11-point agenda for Goa with transparent, corruption-free governance.

“Doctor Willy”, as he is affectionately called in Goa, the Trinamool's Goa chief on Sunday blasted the Congress-NCP alliance for "institutionalising corruption." “Goans have no option between a “corrupt” Congress-led alliance and “communal” alliance of BJP-MGP,” he said, offering the Trinamool Congress as the alternative.

EC bows to industry, relaxes liquor norms

Following an outcry from the tourism and hospitality industry in Goa, the election authorities in Goa reviewed restrictions imposed on eateries and liquor outlets during the elections, freeing eateries from restricted closing times entirely and allowing some relaxation to bars and pubs for 10 days. With this relaxation, bars and restaurants, shacks on beaches, hotels and casinos can now serve alcohol till 11 pm up to February 16, the last day of withdrawal of nominations, instead of February 6, the beginning of filing of nominations for the March 3 elections. The liquor beyond 10 pm will be applicable to all establishments from February 17 till March 6, the day of counting of votes. Earlier, a State government notification had imposed a ban on serving food and liquor by all eateries and outlets serving liquor beyond 11 pm till February 6. From February 7 to March 6, the timings had been further restricted to 10 pm.

(Contributed by Atiq Khan and Prakash Kamat)

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Poll DiaryJanuary 19, 2012