Regional buzz | For Sidhu, Jaitley is still his guru and Badal bahus in action
Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmirpunjab Updated: Jun 12, 2017 09:28 IST
For Sidhu, Jaitley is still his guru
“(Arun) Jaitley saab is still my guru,” said Punjab local bodies minister Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu told reporters the other day. Reminiscing about his association with the Union finance minister during his BJP days, the Congress leader added: “Even though I have not met him for many days, it has not changed anything”. Sidhu is bitter about the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which ran the government in Punjab for 10 years, is usually soft on BJP, its alliance party. “The role of BJP was negligible. They were just one-fifth (in terms of seat agreement with the Akalis) and were made to sit in waiting rooms, while Akalis ruled the state,” he said.
Badal bahus in action
Saturday belonged to Badal bahus in Bathinda. Union food processing minister Harsimrat Badal and her sister-in-law Vinu Badal, wife of finance minister, Punjab, Manpreet Badal, were in the district, targeting each other’s parties. Harsimrat addressed a gathering of workers of SAD and BJP on three years of Modi government and spoke about its achievements. But she didn’t spare the Congress government in Punjab, raising farmers’ suicides and law and order. “It’s an indicator of what will happen in next five years,” said the Bathinda MP. Vinu, on the other hand, was on a thanksgiving trip. She travelled to different parts of the city, addressing people and listening to their grievances. In her speeches, she targeted the previous SADBJP for the state’s bad financial condition and loot of state resources.
‘Modi fest’ a flop show in Amritsar
After ‘Modi magic’ failed to work in Punjab during the parliamentary and assembly polls, his party’s celebrations to mark three years of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre also did not draw much response in Amritsar. The ‘Modi-Fest’ (The Making of Developed India) started in the state by BJP national general secretary Anil Jain and state unit president Vijay Sampla from the city more than a week ago was a flop show. The turnout upset the two leaders. The event was curtailed the next day with only a small stall at the venue.
Cong leaders’ selfies with Rahul irk SGPC staff
During his low-profile visit to Golden Temple in Amritsar on Saturday, Congress vicepresident Rahul Gandhi did not indulge in any political activity. The local leaders sought time to meet him, but were told to avoid any political talk, as his trip was “private”. Being left unheard, all they could do was take selfies with Rahul when he stood in queue outside sanctum sanctorum at Golden Temple. And, they did so despite a ban on taking pictures there. SGPC employees were seen asking them not to violate maryada.
Angry Khattar gets taste of his own medicine
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar got angry during his visit to a Karnal village to address a public meeting last week. A group of religious leaders from Balolpur village met the chief minister to discuss a land dispute after he finished his speech. But he flew into a rage, accused them of insulting him. “You all started hooting when I was addressing a gathering. Don’t you think you insulted me? If you think you did not, come to Chandigarh. I will take up your demand,” Khattar told them. Taken aback by the CM’s surprising reaction, the villagers also gave it back. “We made you CM. Now you are asking us to come to Chandigarh. You will get same reply when you for votes again,” replied a young villager.
When Hooda had to face barrage of queries
Queries pertaining to CBI cases will dog former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for long, it seems. In Chandigarh to give his reaction to police firing on farmers in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress leader had to face a volley of questions during his latest interaction with reporters in Chandigarh last week. He maintained a brave face and recited an Urdu couplet, though only a few listened to it. He recited it twice and noticed that not many had heard it. They were more interesting in knowing about the ongoing probes. He literally requested them to pay attention. As newspersons agreed, he recited: “Is daur-esiyasat ka itna sa fasaanaa hai, basati bhi jalaani hai, maatam bhi mananaa hai (the long and short of contemporary politics is to set afire the settlements and then mourn over it too)”.
Bali, Bharmauri locked in war of words
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his cabinet colleagues ere shocked when transport minister GS Bali and forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmauri entered into a heated argument during the cabinet meeting over a “trivial” issue. The two ministers accused each other of interfering in each other’s constituency. Bharmauri, who could not control his anger, even threatened to expose Bali, claiming that he was promoting a youth leader in his (Bharmauri’s) constituency. Bali retaliated by claiming that people were aware of Bharmauri’s misdeeds. The heated exchange ended only after the chief minister intervened. With the state assembly polls just a few months away, the reports of spat must have been music to leaders of the opposition parties.
At IOC event, Cong, BJP men slug it out
It was perhaps for the first time that people of Himachal saw a live face-off between leaders of BJP and Congress. The occasion was the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) terminal in Una district. Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, chief minister Virbhadra Singh and opposition leaders were present. As Congress and BJP workers indulged in intense sloganeering, BJP MP Anurag Thakur taunted Congress workers, saying that they should not sweat it out at the event but serve at the border. Reprimanding the slogan- raising BJP workers, Mukesh Agnihotri of the Congress told them to wait for another six months and they would come to know where they stand. As the slanging match continued, Pradhan intervened to say that he is son-in-law of the state and deserves some respect.
Publicity stunts: Bali knows them all
Transport minister GS Bali has a penchant for publicity. Just when the memories of an uproar he created after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s Dharamshala rally started to fade away, he has come up with another trick to stay in the limelight. The whole discussion is revolving around a slogan – Kaam Kiya Hai Kam Karenge, Jhuthe Wade Nahi Karenge – on the back of the new digital ration cards launched by Bali, who also holds the food and civil supply portfolio. His opponents have termed the use of slogan that was once the tagline of the Congress as “unethical”. Anything is possible for some mileage in an election year?
Shimla MC polls: Nadda wants to be at centre stage
Union health minister Jagat Parkash Nadda seen as the chief ministerial candidate by a section of BJP leaders in Himachal Pradesh, is sparing no effort to stay in the limelight as campaigning for the municipal corporation polls in Shimla gains momentum. Nadda first claimed at party’s convention that its prestige was a stake in the civic body elections. He then walked the streets of the state capital to campaign for BJPbacked candidates. The keen interest taken by the central minister has left everyone wondering about former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s role in the state. The senior party leader has kept a rather low profile. Is a sign of things to come?
(CONTRIBUTED BY GURPREET SINGH NIBBER, SUJRIT SINGH, SACHIN SHARMA, NEERAJ MOHAN, RAJESH MOUDGIL, GAURAV BISHT, NARESH K THAKUR)