Can’t fight like Trump, Hillary: Capt
Punjab politicians are busy preparing for their own electoral battle. But the war of words between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election has caught the attention of at least one of them. “I am not like Trump or Hillary who are fighting so bitterly. I have to do lots of work,” said Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh at a press briefing last week. The former chief minister, who is leading his party’s campaign in the assembly polls due early next year, made the remark after a series of queries on the rival parties. But, then, the campaign here is just hotting up.
Retd babu in Cong fold
Retired IAS officer TR Sarangal last week joined the Congress in the presence of former chief minister and state unit chief Capt Amarinder Singh. Sarangal, who retired as financial commissioner in 2013, had worked in important assignment during Amarinder’s tenure from 2002 to 2007. “It is time to pay back,” he told the gathering at the joining ceremony with Amarinder sitting beside him. “He (Amarinder) gave me opportunities to work. Now when elections are approaching, it is time to be on his side,” he said.
SAD halqa in-charges to reap dividends
The system of halqa in-charges adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal had not gone down well with coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A BJP panel headed by veteran leader Balramji Das Tandon, who is now the governor of Chhattisgarh, had in its report on the below-par performance of the alliance in the 2014 parliamentary polls cited the halqa in-charge system as one of the reasons for poor results.
But not everyone in the BJP is opposed to it. Industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal last week said his son Arvind Mittal is halqa in-charge of Anandpur Sahib and has a strong chance of getting the party ticket in forthcoming assembly polls.
Chinese suitcases: Congmen take on Khattar govt
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana has faced flak from a legislator of the opposition Congress for its “hypocrisy”. When China extended support to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri attack and blocked India’s bid for a ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, several state BJP leaders, including health minister Anil Vij, had openly backed the call for boycott of Chinese goods. On November 3, the state government gifted “Made-in-China” suitcases to MLAs and MPs at a convention held in Panchkula as part of the golden jubilee celebrations of the state.But Congress MLAs Kuldip Sharma and Jai Tirath Dahiya were not happy with the ‘Made in China’ tag. They accused the government of “dohra charitra” (duplicity). “The ministers called for boycott of Chinese goods on social media and advocated swadeshi, but the government is promoting Chinese goods. The duality in their politics has been exposed,” Sharma and Dahiya told a reporter of this newspaper.
Khattar’s largesse to prisoners
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced special remission of sentence for prisoners on the occasion of state’s golden jubilee celebrations. Before he made the announcement at a press conference on Monday, he discussed the remission move and other incentives at a meeting. When the proposal to grant special remission to prisoners came up, several officers expressed reservations about it.
The relaxation in sentence, according to them, is given on Independence Day and Republic Day. There were also those who disagreed with them. The chief minister appeared keen to grant the relaxation on the special occasion. “Aadmi khushi mein hi deta hai (One gives when one is happy,” he said, making the decision.
OROP suicide and political drama
All prominent leaders of the Congress in Haryana thronged the village of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal in Bhiwani after party vice-president Rahul Gandhi decided to attend the funeral ceremony. The rival factions locked in a bitter game of one-upmanship tried to show their influence in the state. Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda and Tosham MLA Kiran Choudhry reached the ex-soldier’s village before 6 am on Thursday and rest of the Congress gang joined soon after.
But things turned ugly when some leaders “made the family delay the cremation rituals” till Rahul’s arrival. More sycophancy followed after the Congress VP arrived, with several leaders of both camps pushing around mourners to guard him. While some party workers got a chance to click selfies with Rahul, a Tanwar loyalist said he managed to fix a personal meeting with him for next week.
Shanta ‘okay’ with Kangra trifurcation
Before the 2012 assembly elections, when the BJP mooted the idea of dividing Kangra into three districts, former Union minister Shanta Kumar was the first to object. The Kangra MP opposed the idea tooth and nail, while his supporters went a step further, saying the division will be over their dead bodies. The octogenarian leader appears to have had a change of heart. When asked about his stand on the issue expected to crop up in the run to the assembly elections due next year, Shanta politely said: “If all the political parties in the state decide so, I will support”.
Virbhadra’s well-wishers only on paper!
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla due to chest infection and congestion. His supporters rushed to the hospital in droves within hours.
Barring the family members, the doctors did not allow anyone to meet the CM, but placed a ‘visitor’s book’ outside his room. Though not many visitors put their signatures, there were some who did not visit the ailing chief minister but their names were recorded at three or four places.
Nadda’s professional and personal sides
Union health minister Jagat Parkash Nadda, who is seen by many as the BJP’s face for the 2017 assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, has cordial relations with chief minister Virbhadra Singh. When he was in Shimla for a ‘meet the press’ programme, Nadda slammed Virbhadra over “slackness” of his government to send detailed project reports of centrally aided projects.
But soon after targeting the CM, the central minister, along with his supporters, visited the hospital to enquire about his health.
(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Navneet Sharma, Hardik Anand, Gaurav Bisht, Naresh K Thakur)