Regional buzz | ‘Go local’ is Sidhu style these days and Capt is cool about his age
Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, HP and Jammu and Kashmirpunjab Updated: May 29, 2017 10:55 IST
‘Go local’ is Sidhu style these days
“Go local” appears to be the mantra of local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. He makes sure that all local MLAs of the Congress are with him when he goes to any inauguration or function. The aim appears to be to give the message of unity. At the inauguration of sewerage cleaning system in Amritsar, Sidhu came with all local legislators – OP Soni, Inderbir Bolaria, Sunil Datti and Raj Kumar Verka. But that was not all. When a supporter started raising slogans of ‘Navjot Sidhu Zindabad’, the minister got visibly upset and scolded him publicly. All other MLAs of the city were also present at that time.
Capt is cool about his age
Unlike most other politicians, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh doesn’t mind talking about his age. The septuagenarian leader, who has already declared that this is his last term in politics, was the chief guest at the HT Youth Forum 2017 on Friday. The Congress leader, in his eight-minute long speech, said when he was invited for the event, he was wondering why he was asked to preside over a youth festival. “I don’t fit in from the age point of view. Neither does Balbirji. He is a generation beyond me,” said the two-time chief minister before lauding former player Balbir Singh as a great hockey legend. Not that age mattered much, as Amarinder, who turned 75 the day he won the state elections, chatted with each of the young achievers before felicitating them. Another trait not usually associated with netas! Sand mining biz catches netas’ fancy A perception that sand is a money-spinner appears to have caught the fancy of people from other businesses. Former Nawanshahr MLA Guriqbal Kaur, who took charge of her family’s transport business and politics after her husband Parkash Singh’s death, doesn’t see a future in it. She asked her son Angad Saini, who is the youngest MLA in the new House, wind up transport business and look for options. And, Angad, according to sources, bid for sand quarries. But Kaur needs to know that sand mining raises more dust than the bus business.
Khaira has no money for press conference!
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sukhpal Khaira, who addressed a press conference at his house in Sector 6 in Chandigarh on Saturday, said that he did not have the money to hold it at any other place. He made the claim even though no one had asked him why he was addressing media at his house. “Sorry to call you at my residence. Holding it at any other place is a costly affair. One needs at least Rs 10,000-12,000. Kindly bear with me today,” he said. Now that’s quite something coming from someone who had declared assets worth Rs 60 crore in an affidavit submitted during the state assembly polls this year.
Catering blues at ministers’ offices
Back in power after a gap of 10 years, ministers in the new Congress government in Punjab are seeing a steady stream of visitors in their offices. A number of legislators and party workers are walking in daily with requests for transfer of their supporters to postings of choice. But what seems to have left some ministers dissatisfied is the inability of the hospitality department to cater to the increased rush. When the hospitality employees took unduly long to bring tea and snacks for two party MLAs last week, a minister openly expressed displeasure at their working. One of the minister’s staff members rushed to canteen to make arrangements. “There are three ministers on this floor. When all three are in station, things get a bit difficult,” he said after arranging tea. With chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh likely to expand his cabinet soon, at least two more ministers may get offices on the same floor, leading to more visitors. Just image the scene!
This Haryana babu is media shy
Haryana IAS officer Rajesh Khullar, who is principal secretary to chief minister, candidly admitted his particular inhibition towards the media during an interaction with reporters last week. His boss, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, was to address a press conference, but was late. Khullar felt it apt to pick up a conversation with newspersons in the meantime. He, however, instantly withdrew, noticing the cameras. “Friends, I wanted to ask you something and then say a few things, but….. cameras dekh ke meri bolti band ho gayi hai’’, he said meaning that he would not speak because of the cameras positioned in front of him. The scribes burst into a thunderous laughter. Though several of them told him that nothing was being recorded and he could go ahead, Khullar showed no interest, changing the topic of conversation.
Sukhu vents ire at Cong ‘disloyalists’
The corridors of power in Himachal Pradesh are buzzing with speculation that two MLAs, who are “associate members” of the ruling Congress, may defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after Balbir Verma, who represents Chaupal constituency in Shimla district, switched sides. Both MLAs Pawan Kajal and Manohar Dhiman belong to Kangra district, which holds sway in formation of government in the state. Himachal Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who was in Dharamshala the other day, was asked about such a possibility. “They were not primary members of Congress, but had BJP background. They are ‘traitors’, who associated with the Congress to serve their petty interests,” pat came the reply.
HP Cong: Divided it stands
It is common knowledge that the Congress is a divided house in Himachal Pradesh. But the chinks in the party were more visible when the party leaders recently assembled at Dharamshala on the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Party leaders from Kangra used the opportunity to show their strength in front of state unit chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. Though they were all at the same venue they took out separate foot marches. The late leader was forgotten, as rival groups competed with each other, raising slogans in favour of their leaders.
(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Aseem Bassi, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Ravinder Vasudeva, Rajesh Moudgil, Naresh K Thakur)