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The election of the prestigious Press Club of India is on 25th November and the countdown has begun. The voting will start at 10 in the morning till 6 in the evening. There are thousands of members of PCI and the voting percentage goes beyond 70% as journalists take lot of interest in this poll getting an opportunity of meeting their old friends under a roof after long time.

You can see journalists of print and electronics media in large numbers interacting with each other while the contestents and their supporters busy in canvassing support for themselves as well as their respective panels.  You can also witness some heated disscussions amongst the rival groups.

But by and large the elections are held in a cordial and peaceful atmosphere. The election is also an opportunity for the PCI management to get the old pending bills of the members cleared as without getting their balance cleared they are not supposed to vote.

These PCI elections are no less than any other political elections’ as you may find banners, colourful hoardings and thousands of handbills and posters affixed in the PCI precincts and the surroundings with appeals to vote. A good amount of finance in involved in the campaigning and arrangements of the election. On the day of polling the PCI management looking after the sale of drinks, foodstuffs etc earn handsomely as the sale on this day increases considerably and beyond proportions.

This time the principle fight is between the two panels, one those are already at the helm of affairs since 2010 i.e. Gautam Lahiri, Manoranjan Bharti, Vinay Kumar and Mahuva Panel while the other represented by the president candidate Sen, Gandhi, Faridi, Jain Panel trying to give a strong fight using the anti incumbency factor to its advantage. But the current sitting panel has number of advantages to its credit like giving the club a magnifcient face lift with massive infrastructural development compounded with improvement in the quality of food stuff and bringing transparency in the club activities.

They have also been organising protest demonstrations, seminars, talks and launching struggles against the ahocking incidents of repression and lynching of journalists from time to time and fighting for the rights of the journalistic fraternity. Apart from this the present management has covered the entire fiscal deficit of the previous years the pre 2010 era and brought the club in satisfying financial position.

The rival panel is heavily banking on the anti incumbency factor and leaving no opportunity to request voters to effect the change this time as they say that in democracy change is an inevitable factor for the good of the society.

The Lahiri Mahua panel accuses their rival of allegedly filing a case in the court for cancellation of membership above 6700 membership and say that if they are elected a good number of journalists would loose their membership. The charges and counter charges are going on but who ultimately wins would be known after a day as the counting is slated for Sunday, the 26th November . However the voting is on 25th November which will by and large indicate the trend by the evening, when voting ends.

SUNIL NEGI

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The spate of incidents of ugly behaviour and misconduct towards its commuters by the employees of private Indigo Airlines has proved beyond doubt that they are indispensible and no law of the land can penalise this airline for its staff’s immoral, unethical and intolerable behaviour with their travellers. Just few days ago the India badminton star of international ranking, champion PV Sindhu had complained about the misbehaviour and rude conduct of its staff with her and she was constrained to lodge her protest in the media after lodging her complaint with higher authorities.

But today what has happened is something beyond expectation in a civilised society when the media channels of the country are literally airing visuals showing the Indigo staff in uniform badly thrashing an old commuter on the tarmac of the airline as if he is a thief, history sheeter or a criminal. The repeated beating or a physical assault of the passenger with powerful fisticuffs and leg pushings without caring for any penalisation thus showing rebuff to the laws and law enforcing agencies of the land unambiguously speak of the fact that the management and staff of this Airlines whose shares are knocking down is in the stage of frustration having no respect for its valued passengers.

This highly condemnable, uncalled for and criminal behaviour and act by the Indigo staff with its passenger in broad daylight is an act that warrants most stringent action from the side of the government authorities no less than rigorous imprisonment. This is not the first such shameful incident has happened but in the past too its passengers were dealt with utterly bad and uncivilised behaviour and the recent case is with the internationally recognised badminton player PV Sandhu.

This shameful action of the Indigo employees have compelled even the former chairman and managing director of Air India and currently the chairman of Railway Board Ashwani Lohani who is also a prolific writer, write a post on facebook expressing his immense concern and shock on this uncivilised behaviour and act of the Indigo staff which is as following:
The shameful manhandling by two airline (indigo) employees in beating up a passenger on the tarmac is inhuman, disgusting to say the least and not at all acceptable in a civilized society. The subsequent action of the airline in sacking the whistleblower is the icing on the cake of gross misconduct.

It is apparent that such an act is borne only out of the false sense of pride that the company has started displaying since their market share has started knocking on 50%. Indifference towards the very passengers who took them there is indeed sad. That the role of the national carrier in maintaining a sense of sobriety in airline operations and also fares may soon come to a halt in light of the ongoing disinvestment process is also a cause of concern in light of such incidents.

What happenned on the tarmac is just unacceptable and the government needs to step in with a very heavy hand and that too without delay./ Ashwani Lohani/ Chairman Railway Board
Sunil Negi, PRESIDENT UTTARAKHAND JOURNALISTS FORUM