Top politicians, largely from Bharatiya Janata Party, bureaucrats and heads of institutions converged at lush green lawns of Haryana Raj Bhawan for a joint ‘At Home’ event at the residence of Punjab and Haryana governor and Chandigarh administrator Kaptan Singh Solanki.
However, several top leaders from the Punjab government didn’t attend the event.
The event started with singing of the National Anthem by the UT police and the Haryana police band, following which a number of people lined up to mark their attendance with Solanki.
Though Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal could not attend the event as he was unwell, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal also gave a miss to the ceremony as he had to preside over the state Republic Day celebrations at Bathinda.
Most Punjab bureaucrats also missed the event, and frantic calls were made to some IAS officers at the eleventh hour to make them attend the event.
The power structure was clearly visible in the seating arrangement. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was seated along with the governor, followed by acting chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court SJ Vazifdar, UT adviser Vijay Dev, and justices SK Mittal and Hemant Gupta on the left side. On the right of the governor was Lt Gen KJ Singh, Army Commander, Western Command. The bands played patriotic songs during the one-hour event while the guests enjoyed the hospitality.
Haryana chief secretary DS Dhesi, IAS officer Ashok Khemka, UT home secretary An u rag Agarwa land UT finance secretary Saravjeet Singh, IG RP Upadhyay, mayor Arun Sood, Panjab University vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) director YK Chawla and Baba Farid University of Health Science vice-chancellor Raj Bhadaur were other prominent people present during the event.
Many BJP politicians and office bearers from Chandigarh and Haryana also marked their attendance. Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon and his colleague Madan Mohan Mittal were the only ministers from the Punjab government present on the occasion.
Jagdish Ahuja, who provides food to the needy people outside the PGIMER, was also invited.
Meanwhile, a heavy traffic jam was witnessed outside the Raj Bhawan due to traffic diversion. Earlier, it was decided that vehicles would be parked at the UT Guest House but later the venue was changed to the Sukhna Lake parking. Visitors to the lake and those going towards the Golf Club were a harried lot due to heavy traffic, as it took over 15-20 minutes to cover the distance of half a kilometre.