The Congress loves odd pairing so they have put senior leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal along with Manpreet Singh Badal on party’s manifesto committee. Wary of Manpreet stealing limelight, Bhattal first publicly opposed the committee convener’s stand on “no red beacons for VIPs” if the Congress comes to power. At a lunch at state party chief Capt Amarinder Singh house last month, she started speaking soon after Manpreet began reading out the work done by the committee. Last week, both separately announced the manifesto release date. Many in the Congress are amused, but neither Bhattal nor Manpreet are complaining.
Punjab Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi not only has the administration but also his party on tenterhooks. After he climbed an electricity pole to restore the power connection of a village whose supply was snapped for non-payment of bills, he reportedly mounted a JCB machine for helping some other village in his constituency recently. He had earlier denied a red beacon atop his official vehicle and later walked to the state assembly on foot against the vehicle being not “roadworthy”. Some in the Congress attribute Channi’s daredevilry to inspiration from Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who too restored snapped domestic connections. Some even feel Channi nurses ambition to be a CM like Kejriwal. Wonder if his astrologers have hinted his stars look favourable!
Badal’s counter move
A team of pracharaks and senior office-bearers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) met Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal last week to raise concern over the attack on RSS Punjab vice- president Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (retd). Agitated RSS members talked about the law and order situation in the state. Though the CM gave them a patient hearing, he used the opportunity to express his grouse also. He told the RSS delegation that the state had not got the monetary help expected from the Centre, and requested them to accompany him to Delhi to take up the case.
SAD goes all out to woo youth
At a youth rally of the Shiromani Akali Dal in Chandigarh last week, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal tried to woo them by giving slogans such as ‘Youth for Punjab’ and ‘Punjab Punjabian da’. The two slogans were used frequently by all speakers, including Sukhbir and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia. The strategy is to try and retain support of youth, as the Aam Aadmi Party is also trying to woo them. Only time would tell how well these help the party connect with the youth.
Wife better than husband, officially
Punjab IAS officer and Fazilka deputy commissioner Isha Kalia was adjudged better than her husband Sumeet Jarangal, who is Muktsar DC, in a meeting of all the deputy commissioners last week. The DCs were judged on five counts and the result was announced by deputy CM Sukhbir Badal who also made a remark in a lighter vein. While all those present burst out laughing, the reaction of the couple could not be known.
Haryana ministers’ mantra: Don’t air differences in open
That members of the Haryana cabinet are not on the same page on several issues is no secret. But several of them do not air their differences in public. Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar selected three persons for the Haryana Public Service Commission last week. His education minister Ram Bilas Sharma had reservations about Narender Yadav, considered close to some leaders of the opposition Congress, and made sure his name was dropped from the oath-taking ceremony. Three days later, Khattar went to the education minister’s room and then they inspected some offices together before launching a web portal for online admissions. After Khattar had left, Sharma was asked by a group of reporters about their disagreement. “Why didn’t you put the question when the CM was present?” he asked the scribes, deftly ducking the query.
Vij’s Rio defence: ‘We want exposure’
The merit in his reasoning not with standing, health and sports minister Anil Vij could convince only a few about his trip to Rio. But most others were just amused. The minister argued that the visiting team comprising MLAs and officials would see the sports infrastructure and calibre of the best players in the world, besides “cheering for our players”. The state, he said, has the maximum number of players in the Olympics contingent from India. To a question on expenses, a visibly upset Vij told the reporters he was surprised on such queries. “Why do you ask such questions? You don’t want us to learn. Why do you want us to remain.....kuen ke mendak (frogs of the well),” he asked the scribes, leaving many in splits.
Khattar cozying up to party workers
Drawing criticism for ignoring the party workers, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar has started making efforts to placate them. He spent two days in his assembly constituency, Karnal, last week, visiting houses of several party leaders and workers to show that he hasn’t forgotten them. He also spent hours talking to party workers, sipping several cups of tea and having meals with them. When the CM chaired a meeting of district officials, he told them to immediately redress their problems. While Khattar did manage to soothe frayed nerves of many, not all were happy. “Meeting tan theek hai, par kam da ki kariye. Sadde tan sare kam latke paye ne” is what one of them was heard saying.
Sir — Slave I remain
The ‘sir culture’ in hierarchy-driven bureaucracy is a subject of digs and discussion sometimes. A young professional-turned-bureaucrat, who hails from Haryana, triggered a debate on social media last year by posting that “too much formalism” in IAS is not good for the fraternity, adding that the ‘sir culture’ was against innovation in governance. Now, a Haryana IAS officer attributed it to the erstwhile rulers, stating that sir was probably acronym for ‘Slave I remain’. The comment posted in a WhatsApp chat group got interesting reactions. “What about ‘madam sir’ (as female police officers are addressed in the police force)? Marte dam tak slave I remain?” is what another officer remarked. But not everyone agrees. There is no dearth of those who think the ‘sir culture’ is needed to maintain decorum.
Can’t sing a different tune
Call up Haryana Police and what you get to hear, instead of the boring old ‘Tring Tring’, is a tuneful message - Haryana police ka nishan, Haryana police ka jawan, tumhare liya hi to hai nagrik’ – aimed at creating confidence among the citizens that they are there for you. But some cops perhaps love the caller tune so much that they want you to hear it again and again. When a reporter of this newspaper called up some cops in Sonepat to find out about the police action in a rape case, he was greeted with their favourite caller tune. But most of them did not take the calls. And, their phones kept ringing, playing the ‘Haryana police is for you, citizens’, tune. Actions speak louder than words.
No smooth click for Haryana PR dept
Photographs, they say, tell a story. But, the information and public relations department officials in Karnal had a tough time getting photographs of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar clicked during his latest visit to the district. Hampered by the lack of photographers and digital cameras, they try to take pictures with their mobile phones. During the CM’s two-day visit to the city last week, the district team faced lots of problems, especially on his door-to-door visit to homes of party workers in the event. But they appeared helpless.
(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Gurpreet Nibber, Navneet Sharma, Rajesh Moudgil, Neeraj Mohan)