Blend it like Jakhar: Swiss, Italy and Bollywood
SAD president Sukhbir Badal, who loves gastronomical attacks at his political rivals, is on a diet. He had taken a dig once at Congress president Sonia Gandhi saying she loves pizza while Punjab loves its ‘sarson ka saag’. A few minutes later, Sukhbir was caught digging his teeth into a pizza! But it is new Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar who perhaps loves pizza more. His favourite haunt is Sector 10 of Chandigarh to meet people and he was enjoying a brew at one of the cafes there when his name was announced as state chief last week. Swiss wife, Italian food and Bollywood dialogues, that’s quite a cocktail one would say.
Sidhu takes friendly fire
Punjab Local bodies and tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu continues to face embarrassment on a television show on which he appears every week. In the latest episode broadcast on Saturday, the presenter of the laughter show described Sidhu as very talented. “As tourism minister, he can take you to imaginary countries which even don’t exist on the globe. Sidhu paaji would say thooko yehan (on the globe) ek mulak,” he said. The remark not only did not draw laughter on the show, but sheepish looking Sidhu was also at a loss for words.
Entertainment first for Ghuggi
Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab convener Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi Waraich last week appeared more interested in the Punjabi Movie–Music Video Awards function than talking about the party affairs. Asked if he is attending the meeting (of his party’s political affairs committee), his reply was: “Yes, I am going to the award function”. Ghuggi had to be told that the question was regarding the party meeting – an indication that he is more inclined towards the entertainment world than political affairs. He is likely to be replaced soon, probably with Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, another party leader from the world of entertainment.
AAP ‘realises’ power of media
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders in Punjab seem to have changed their media strategy after the state assembly polls. Before the elections, the instant response of party leaders or supporters to any story or comment that was not to their liking was to attack the media on social media. They are now trying to build a rapport with journalists after the poll debacle. The party’s local leadership in Amritsar recently hosted a “grand lunch” for mediapersons at a plush restaurant. Asked about the change of strategy, AAP’s zonal in-charge Kuljit Singh said there was a realisation that the media had fully cooperated despite lack of response from the party’s side. However, a local scribe said the newbie party had come to realise the “media power”.
Khaira’s colour dig at Capt govt
Sukhpal Singh Khaira, chief whip of the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab assembly, was critical of the working style of the Congress government. Comparing its first few weeks with the 10-year rule of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) combine, he said the only difference was colour coding. “Apart from the change in colours of kachhey(underwear) worn by policemen, pugg(turbans) of politicians controlling the government and jhandey (flags) of the party running the government, nothing has changed,” he said. Earlier, the state police used to wear blue-coloured underwear, now they wear white. Politicians wear white and pastel-coloured turbans instead of blue. The new ruling party’s flag has three colours, whereas it was kesri during the previous regime.
PRTC shifts gears after govt change
The change in government appears to have made the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) more competitive. The state-run corporation is trying to go an extra mile. “Sarkaari bus vich safar karo, sarkari khazane vich vhadda karo, Punjab nu khushal banao (Travel in government buses, help in increasing state revenue and, thus, building a prosperous state),” reads the slogan on stickers put on the PRTC buses, reflecting the changed approach. “These stickers came out recently, and the number of buses has also gone up,” said the conductor of a bus on the Dabwali-Bathinda route.
Hooda’s ‘Mauni Baba’ jibe at Khattar
Mauni Baba! That’s how former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda referred to his political adversary and successor Manohar Lal Khattar during last week’s single-sitting assembly session. Hooda was demanding that Khattar should spell out his stand on the SYL canal issue before the debate on GST Bill. Khattar kept mum. “Don’t be like a Mauni baba...,” Hooda told the CM who was unruffled. He responded to Hooda’s ‘hamla’ with ‘maun’ (silence) and a smile.
Video blues for Haryana babu
A controversial post by a senior IAS officer in a WhatsApp group of department officials became a talking point in the corridors of power in Haryana last week. The post containing an objectionable video evoked sharp reactions from the group members. The officers deleted the post within moments, saying that the video was posted by mistake. He also apologised to the group members, trying to put an end to the controversy.
Khattar celebrates b’day via twitter
On May 5, the Twitter handle of Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was chirping nonstop. From Prime Minister to panchayat pradhans were wishing the 1954-born Khattar ‘happy birthday’. Among the early well-wishers was ‘Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim’. During the day, those handling the CM’s Twitter account were responding with ‘thank you’ to every message. Towards the evening and finally the CM tweeted: “…I am overwhelmed by your love and affection.”
Haryana roadways staff in angry mood
With the Khattar government doing a U-turn on their demands, employees of the Haryana Roadways are simmering with anger once again. Though the state top brass had promised to withdraw the transport policy 2017, the authorities say they would only modify it, triggering another stand-off. The upset employees, who had gone on strike for three days last month, have threatened to gherao the office of transport commissioner this week. Don’t be surprised if there is another flash strike in the coming days.
All for Shah’s attention
BJP national president Amit Shah was accorded a warm welcome at Gaggal airport near Dharmashala when he arrived on a two-day visit to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh recently. The local leaders, especially ticket aspirants, in the poll-bound state tried their best to grab his attention in different ways. The most unique was former minister Kishan Kapoor, who donned a saafa, a turban like headgear worn by tribal ‘gaddi’ community, and broke into a jig at the airport with a cultural troupe. As others cheered him while enjoying the live entertainment, Shahpur MLA Sarween Chaudhary soon joined the dancers.
BJP chief takes potshots at Manmohan
BJP president Amit Shah, who addressed a gathering at Palampur, had former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the prime target of his verbal barbs. He said that Singh took more flights to overseas as compared to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The difference is that when the former travelled to foreign nations, nobody noticed,” he said. But that wasn’t all. He topped it with a dig at the former PM reading out his speech from a written script. “We had a PM, who would read his speech for Malaysia in Singapore,” he claimed.
‘Doctor’ Virbhadra Singh
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh has been under constant attack from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but he is unruffled. The six-time CM, who political career spans over 50 years, says he knows the pulse of the people. “Joh boltey hain unhnay bolney doh. Main to logon ka doctor hoon. Mein unki nabz jaanta hoon (Those who speak ill about me, let them speak. I am a doctor of people. I know their pulse,” he said the other day, replying to the opposition’s attacks.
(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sukhdeep Kaur, Surjit Singh, Prabhjit Singh, Pawan Sharma, Rajesh Moudgil, Naresh K Thakur, Gaurav Bisht)