Regional buzz | Karan Bir Sidhu not just a file-pusher, an FB lover too | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Regional buzz | Karan Bir Sidhu not just a file-pusher, an FB lover too

Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir

punjab Updated: Jan 09, 2017 13:45 IST
HT Team
Regional buzz

IAS officer Karan Bir Sidhu, who is presently additional chief secretary (revenue) in the Punjab government, recently posted a photograph of a few bottles of ‘KBS Whiskey’, an American brand, on his Facebook page.(Illustration by Daljeet Kaur/HT)

NOT JUST A FILE-PUSHER, AN FB LOVER TOO

IAS officer Karan Bir Sidhu, who is presently additional chief secretary (revenue) in the Punjab government, recently posted a photograph of a few bottles of ‘KBS Whiskey’, an American brand, on his Facebook page. The tag line was: “No, I am not launching my own brand, but I’m definitely thinking in terms of suing them for stealing my trademark”. The post drew comments from his FB friends. “Ha Ha ..... BTW who has stolen whose trademark (sic),” asked one of them. Sidhu, popularly known as KBS in power circles, is a Facebook buff and often makes pithy remarks in his posts. The other day, he posted, “Blunder often causes more damage than plunder.” To which, one of his friends replied: “When you blunder while trying to plunder - it is policy. When you plunder after you have blundered, it is reform. Both are hand in glove.”

HARSIMRAT BACKS PROHIBITION, WHAT ABOUT FAMILY BIZ?

Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal (HT Photo)

Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal supported liquor ban, when asked about PM Narendra Modi’s support for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s move. But many were curious to know about her family’s flourishing business. Her father Satyajit Singh Majithia and brother Gurmeher Majithia own Saraya Industries which has major presence in the liquor industry. The company’s liquor business, as per its website, is expected to grow by 50% this year. Harsimrat’s husband, Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, had quipped at PowerCouple@HT event on Saturday that “even the dogs of Majithias are veg”. The bubbly is for the others, we guess!

WHEN POLITICOS BECOME BUTT OF JOKES

As elections near, the living room jokes of Punjab politicians are tumbling out in the open. It is not just Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal whose attacks against Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh are getting personal. Kejriwal had said at Amritsar that their CM face would be “loyal to his wife”. Guess what the Delhi CM has to say about one of his own CM contenders Bhagwant Mann? Even Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Badal did not spare Captain from personal barbs at the HT event. He said he hoped the next power couple to be invited would be Captain and his wife and then wondered aloud, “which wife”!

RIDING THE PUBLICITY TRAIN

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar (HT Photo)

Politicians never cease to amaze. Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his ministers travel in style, having sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and sedans as their official vehicles. But whenever some of them travel by train, their public relations (PR) managers instantly send photos to media persons, besides putting them on social media. Last month, Khattar and finance minister Capt Abhimanyu travelled to Chandigarh from Delhi in Shatabdi Express. The same drill was repeated with image managers of the two BJP leaders pushing the photographs. But an IAS officer, who also received the pictures on WhatsApp, had an interesting take. “Politicians use mass transport so seldom that images have to be captured every time they board a bus or train,” he quipped.

KHATTAR’S ‘QUICK FIX’ DOESN’T WORK

Under fire for neglecting party workers, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who occasionally travels between Chandigarh and Delhi by Shatabdi Express, had started meeting a few of them in train. As the train has a two-minute halt at Karnal (his assembly constituency), he started having a “very quick interaction” with party workers. When he first tried it on December 3, Khattar got good response, as several workers and district officials reached the Karnal railway station to meet him. He repeated it in Panipat. On his next train trip on December 30, when the train halted at Karnal at 9.15 pm, the chief minister reached the door of his compartment, but did not finding any party workers.

KARAN CLEAN BOWLED!

Congress MLA Karan Dalal had a tough time handling media queries on internal bickering in his party. He was addressed called a press conference in Chandigarh on alleged irregularities in collection of cess from some milk plants, but was showered with questions on factionalism in the Congress. Dalal tried to play safe, denying any groupism. The gathering burst into laughter when a reporter, asked the Congress leader if he was taking acting lessons or the art of ducking questions was “god-gifted”.

GOVERNANCE REFORMS FROM THE WORD GO

Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar last week announced setting up of a Haryana Governance Reforms Authority (HGRA) to help streamline his administration and enhance the quality and ease of access of all citizens to various development programmes, services and schemes of the state government. While Khattar said the authority would give its recommendations every month, the notification issued by the chief secretary’s office for setting up the nine-member body has become a talking point in bureaucratic circles. As per the notification, an empowered committee headed by the chief secretary will monitor implementation of HGRA’s recommendations and submit action taken report within a stipulated time. “The authority will submit any further report only after receiving ATR from the empowered committee on its previous reports,” reads the notification issued on Wednesday. Governance reforms from the word go, is it?

SPs IN THICK OF ACTION

New superintendents of police (SPs) of Karnal, Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar districts had to face bad news and encounter challenges immediately after taking charge of their new assignments. As soon as he joined, Karnal SP Jashandeep Singh Randhawa had to probe allegations of corruption against three policemen, including station house officer (SHO) Jashmer Singh Gulia, relating to money recovered during a raid. Similarly, Yamunanagar SP Rajesh Kalia also faced difficulty due to alleged lapses in security system, as there was firing in the district court complex in which a sub- inspector and an undertrial were injured. In Kurukshetra, SP Abhishek Garg had to take action and send three police personnel, including Shahbad SHO Ramesh Kumar, to police lines for misreporting an incident of currency seizure.

‘ONE SWALLOW DOES NOT MAKE A SUMMER’

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and (right) GS Bali. (HT Photo)

The love-hate relationship between Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh and transport minister GS Bali is a talking point in political circles of the state once again. Bali put the CM in an awkward situation publicly demanding that the government fulfil its poll promise of giving unemployment allowance to jobless youth. His statements have given ammunition to the opposition parties against the state government. Though he pulls up other party leaders for such indiscretions, Virbhadra, on being asked about Bali’s statements, was soft on his ministerial colleague. “One swallow does not make a summer. Bali changes his stance every 24 hours,” he told reporters, refusing to state whether the minister’s utterances amounted to indiscipline.

(CONTRIBUTED BY SUKHDEEP KAUR, GUPREET SINGH NIBBER, NAVNEET SHARMA, NEERAJ MOHAN, RAJESH MOUDGIL, GAURAV BISHT)