Vij back to handshake
Haryana health minister Anil Vij is back to handshake greetings. He had forsaken the practice, saying it was the western way of greetings and could spread diseases. Namaste, the Indian greeting custom, was far better and hygienic, he argued. Vij even took digs at the rival Congress legislators and went to the extent of saying that some English-minded people still lived English ways, though the English (British) had left the country a long time ago. Vij could be seen refusing to shake hands with people and folding hands to greet people with namaste instead. Not any longer. He is back to handshakes. When asked, the minister said though he still preferred namaste, a handshake was the most common way of greeting each other now. “It is discourteous to say no to everyone. Therefore, I shake hands when necessary,” he said.
Saved ex-PM from ‘embarrassment’
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted out, Congress legislator Rana Gurjeet Singh had suggested to Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to invite former PM Manmohan Singh to the grand event planned to mark 350 years of Anandpur Sahib. The party even slammed the government for not inviting him. But Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) member of Parliament from Anandpur Sahib Prem Singh Chandumajra has a different view. “My party actually saved Manmohan Singh from embarrassment. If we had invited the former PM, his party leaders from Punjab would not have allowed him to come. They had done the same in 2012 when the Virasat-e-Khasla complex in Anandpur Sahib was unveiled,” he said. The Akali leader added that leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Sunil Jakhar (Congress) was in the committee constituted to make arrangements for the event, but he never turned up.
Poking fun at yoga event
As thousands of yoga enthusiasts assembled at different places to celebrate the first-ever International Day of Yoga, Congress workers in Chabbewal near Hoshiarpur observed a “jumla (gimmick) day” on Sunday to poke fun at the much-publicised event. They made caricatures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and yoga guru Ramdev and put up funny pictures of asanas on banners to mock yoga exercises propounded by the latter. A Congress worker posing as Ramdev made the gathering perform symbolic “U-turn”, “suicide” and “poverty” asanas. The function was organised by chairman of the Scheduled Caste wing of the Punjab Congress Dr Raj Kumar, who criticised Modi for politicising yoga and Ramdev for commercialising it.
Rajnath, Shah leave Akalis disappointed
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) put up a mega show at Anandpur Sahib on Friday to commemorate 350 years of the holy city. Akalis were preparing for the function for some time and even took out a yatra for more than 40 days carrying relics of Sikh Gurus. On their invitation, top leaders of the alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Union home minister Rajnath Singh and national president Amit Shah, participated in the event. But they neither praised the Akali effort, nor made any announcement for Punjab. Needless to say, the Akali supporters seemed a tad disappointed.
‘Error-free’ phone directory
After the BJP formed the government in Haryana, its public relations department took seven months to publish a new telephone directory. The department has now held it back after finding mistakes. The department had started distributing the new telephone directory to officials and newspersons. “We want an error-free phone directory and have, therefore, stopped further printing and distribution. Corrections are being done,” said a senior official.
Celebrating Cong rule in Himachal
The Congress has decided to celebrate its two-and-a-half years rule in Himachal Pradesh with fanfare in Una on June 25. Chief secretary P Mitra issued a circular asking all the additional chief secretaries and principal secretaries to ensure their presence at a public rally being held on the occasion. But he quickly realised that the town does not have adequate accommodation for such a large number of officials who were rather reluctant to visit Una in the scorching heat. The local administration also expressed its inability to provide accommodation. The circular was suitably amended the very next day.
After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against him and his family members, chief minister Virbhadra Singh called it a political vendetta by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre. However, his party took a different line, blaming BJP leader and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for the CBI action in the disproportionate assets case. “Thank God some people feel that he is still so powerful and in a position to influence such actions,” an amused BJP leader chuckled.
Virbhadra’s birthday bash
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi celebrated his 45th birthday on June 19 in a rather low profile manner. But his party’s chief minister Virbhadra Singh, who turns 81 on June 23, is not very keen to emulate him. Virbhadra has slightly different plans. His supporters are hosting a cultural evening, “Ek Shaam Virbhadra Singh Kay Naam”. The CM will also attend blood donation camps and lay foundation stone of the ambitious aerial ropeway that will connect the inter-state bus terminus to the historic ridge.
‘Arrogant’ deputy commissioner
Women public representatives are seemingly unhappy with Kinnaur deputy commissioner NK Lath. Two women, who represent different panchyati raj institutions, recently walked into the office of principal secretary SKBS Negi, saying that previous deputy commissioner DD Sharma was not only a good officer, but also a good human being. “This DC does not listen to anyone, rather he is arrogant with women,” they alleged. Negi advised them to report the matter to additional chief secretary VC Pharka.
Shanta soft on CM
At a time when the opposition BJP went after CM Virbhadra Singh over the preliminary enquiry registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against him and his family members, party veteran and Kangra member of Parliament Shanta Kumar was busy with his yoga camps in Palampur. He did not utter even a word against the Congress leader. His silence is being attributed to his close proximity to Virbhadra.
Battlefield of the royals
Himachal Youth Congress chief Vikramaditya does not usually go along with his father chief minister Virbhadra Singh during his tours to different parts of the state. But he has lately started accompanying his father whenever he travels to any part of the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency, which was represented by his mother Pratibha Singh earlier. Mandi is also known as the battlefield of the royals since scions of the royal families have been representing it for a long time. There is talk that Vikramaditya is being groomed by his family for the constituency now.
Smriti and yoga
Union human resource minister Smriti Irani presided over the International Yoga Day function organised by the BJP in Shimla on Sunday. An enthusiastic journalist asked Irani whether she practices yoga regularly. “From my appearance, do I look like someone who practices yoga?” asked the minister candidly.
Contributed by Harpreet Kaur, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Rajesh Moudgil and Gaurav Bisht.