Punjab assembly: In Cong’s new season of Game of Thrones, it’s Manpreet vs Sidhu | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Punjab assembly: In Cong’s new season of Game of Thrones, it’s Manpreet vs Sidhu

The new Punjab assembly has many contrasts. The youngest member is 25-yearold Congress MLA Davinder Singh Ghubaya and the oldest, 89-year-old former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Its two opposition parties — rookie Aam Aadmi Party and the seasoned SAD-BJP — too are a study in contrasts. But it is ruling party’s two knights in shining armours, Manpreet Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu, who the new House is talking about. They too are as different as chalk and cheese.

punjab Updated: Mar 30, 2017 09:07 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal presenting supplementary demands in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday.
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal presenting supplementary demands in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday.(Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

The new Punjab assembly has many contrasts. The youngest member is 25-year-old Congress MLA Davinder Singh Ghubaya and the oldest, 89-year-old former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Its two opposition parties — rookie Aam Aadmi Party and the seasoned SAD-BJP — too are a study in contrasts. But it is ruling party’s two knights in shining armours, Manpreet Badal and Navjot Singh Sidhu, who the new House is talking about. They too are as different as chalk and cheese.

Manpreet quotes Urdu poetry and loves history. His interventions in the House are based on “when spoken to or asked to” principle. A man of economics and state’s finance minister, he cites facts and figures. He countered the opposition’s demand for a debate on the vote on account and supplementary demands by striking a camaraderie with the AAP and some straight talk on finances with the Akalis.

Sidhu, on the other hand, is loud, flamboyant and follows the mantra of “speak when you can”. Left to himself, Sidhu can be the judge, jury and the prosecution. All he needs to do is bowl Sidhusims (funny one-liners). In the House on Monday, he silenced protesting AAP MLAs by mocking their election slogan. “Kende si Kejriwal, Kejriwal, sara Punjab tere naal. Hoon kende ne Kejriwal ae ki ho gaya tere naal (they used to say Kejriwal, entire Punjab is with you. They now say look what happened to Kejriwal). On Wednesday, he was bowling googlies to the SAD. “Che mahine mein toh Kumbhkaran bhi jaag jaata tha, tum das saal so rahe the (even Kumbhkaran woke up once in six months. Were you sleeping for last 10 years),” he said.

Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh — who has opened the new season of ‘Game of Thrones’ in the Congress by saying it is his last election and he would like to groom a successor — looks impressed with Manpreet when he talks in the House and amused when Sidhu shoots from the mouth.

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While Manpreet is making the right noises in the new government by setting its agenda such as no-VIP culture and austerity, Sidhu has an inherent penchant for making news and how! On the first day of the four-day session, he sat on the CM’s chair rather inadvertently! He shook hands with senior MLAs who took the oath, patted the younger ones and hugged his former associates, the Bains brothers of Ludhiana. Even when he is not speaking, he makes a style statement through his colour-coded attire — matching turbans, pocket squares and scarves! Manpreet’s dressing is more demure and aristocratic.

They are both competing for being next in line to the throne. They are both wooing Amarinder. Manpreet through crediting Amarinder for all their government is doing and Sidhu by chatting up Amarinder and being by his side. The Akalis are amused too. Former SAD minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who has no love lost either for Manpreet or Sidhu, describes it as “in-house rivalry” in the Congress. Manpreet laughs off the rivalry bit.

“Me and Sidhu are good friends. We even consult each other often. But we are completely opposite. He is flamboyant and has the star power. He can attract any audience. In fact, we have a mutual admiration club. Majithia is trying to drive a wedge between us but he will not be able to succeed,” he quipped.

Sidhu, who loves to take on Majithia with “chitta” (a colloquium for synthetic drug in Punjab) jibe, too, rubbished it, with not one but two Sidhusims. “Duniya mein sab se bara rog, kya kehenge log (the biggest disease in the world is what people say about us). The second? “Gaal harda ae hawai, like a pie in the sky”. We leave you to figure this one out by yourself!