Brar’s experiments in political chemistry
As Punjab chief of Mamta Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, former Congress MP Jagmeet Brar is blowing hot and cold in same breath against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). On one hand, Brar posts videos on WhatsApp warning AAP of “dangers” of not aligning with his party, and on the other, he is busy inducting AAP leaders into his fold. Last week, Nawanshahar’s Manjit Singh joined the TMC alleging he left the AAP as its top leaders were indulging in “rampant corruption”. While welcoming Manjit, Brar said he was ready to support the AAP, if he is told to. Brar’s “forced” experiments in political chemistry are leaving many amused others baffled!
Badals’ ‘nakli’ Capt jibe
The best barbs of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal at last week’s Jor Mela in Fatehgarh Sahib were reserved for Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh. “Is he actually a Captain? I have doubts, because he never fought a war,” Badal said. Before him, it was Sukhbir who took a dig or two. “Har Ghar Captain, har bathroom mein Captain and in the end it would turn out to be, jail with Captain,” Sukhbir said while hitting out at the Congress campaign.
Former Akali minister Surjit Singh Kohli from Patiala left the ruling party blushing at the party’s political conference at Jor Mela. “Bibi tu mere puttar di qatil hai (Bibi you killed my son),” an agitated Kohli said to SAD MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur who has been convicted for “conspiracy” in her daughter’s murder. Bibi stood with folded hands in front of Kohli trying to pacify him but he was unforgiving. After all, Bibi had batted for Amarinder Bajaj as Patiala mayor ignoring Kohli’s son, Ajit Pal Singh, who was running for a second stint in 2013. “Kohli is blaming Bibi for political murder of his son,” a party leader took pains to explain.
A ‘demonitised’ Congress
The press briefings of Congress leaders in states on demonitisation have failed to bolster party’s political equity. In Punjab, the press briefing of Bollywood actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar evoked great media enthusiasm but was cancelled at the last minute over a “goof-up”. So AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab, Asha Kumari, flew from Delhi to address the media and allowed no questions other than on demonitisation. A senior journalist was rather offended when he could not pose other queries while another quipped, “It is the Congress that has been demonitised politically.”
‘Ekla chalo’ in Haryana
The Congress press conference on demonitisation in Haryana too was of little help to the party. AICC spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi had a tough time replying to volley of questions on “bickering” in the party. Though she ducked and skirted several questions on rivalry between state party chief Ashok Tanwar and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, she could not handle queries pertaining to groupism even in the Haryana Youth Congress. “The Congress is a party of people and we would take people along to protest against demonetisation,” she repeatedly said. When asked why none of the senior leaders --- Hooda, Tanwar or CLP leader Kiran Choudhary --- were not there with her, Chaturvedi took a leaf out of Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee’s quotebook by saying she believes in marching alone.
Haryana Congress state chief Ashok Tanwar believes humour is the best attack. His subtle digs at former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s camp during press meets had mediapersons in splits. On why most former and sitting MLAs had not deposited one month’s salary or pension to the party fund, Tanwar said, “The party was delaying it till the issue of black money was over.” Asked if he intended to say the Congress MLAs had black money, Tanwar quickly rephrased his reply. “For the party, the issue of demonetisation is a top priority and other issues would be addressed later,” he said with a straight face.
Virbhadra’s cases make BJP’s New Year
Each time Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s disproportionate assets case is listed for hearing at Delhi, BJP leaders in the state cannot hold their excitement. Former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal has been prophesing fall of the Virbhadra government for the past six months. The year 2017 begins with Virbhadra’s case listed for hearing on January 2 and the BJP is once again smiling. “Naye saal mein pucca BJP ki sarkar banegi (we will form the government in in New Year),” two time parliamentarian and Shimla legislator Suresh Bhardwaj said at a New Year eve function. It may not be too far fetched as the state goes to polls as 2017 ends.
In Himachal ‘Dangal’, it’s lion vs sheep
Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi’s rally at Dharamshala in December has kicked up a storm in the faction-hit Kangra unit of the Congress. After Rahul left, supporters of ministers GS Bali and Sudhir Sharma slugged it out on social media. Sharma triggered the wrestling round by tweeting a line from a song in Aamir Khan starrer ‘Dangal’ --- “Bhed ki hahakar ke badle, sher ki daahar hai pyare (its roar of a lion against bleat of a sheep)”. Both sides are now busy claiming who is the lion and who the sheep. Some third party trouble-lovers are also posting their comments. And Kangra is tuning in to its own remake of ‘Dangal.’
(Contributed by : Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sukhdeep Kaur, Rajesh Moudgil, Gaurav Bisht, Naresh K Thakur)