Kejriwal’s starry ways
Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal still has to learn how to wave to the crowds in rallies. Most politicians simply wave to the crowd or stand with folded hands as a gesture of affection. But the Delhi chief minister was seen blowing kisses to the crowd outside the circuit house in Amritsar. He was in the city to appear in a local court in a defamation case filed against him by Punjab revenue minister Bikram Majithia. Kejriwal waved to the cheering crowd and blew kisses, more like a film actor than a politician. His opponents say there is not much difference between the two anyways.
Power seat: Ready Capt is raring to go
Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh, who is leading the Congress campaign for the 2017 assembly polls, was in a candid mood the other day. Amarinder said he did not have experience when he took over as chief minister in 2002, but it is different now. “I have enough experience and would put the government in working mode from day one,” said the Amritsar MP. He also said it took him one year as CM to understand things. Rejecting any possibility of the Akali-BJP alliance winning their third consecutive election or the AAP coming to power, the former chief minister projected himself as the most “tangible face” to lead the state.
Sukhbir’s dope test ‘challenge’ for scribes
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal seems to have found the best way out of any difficult question on the issue of drugs in the state. During his recent press conference, when Sukhbir was asked about the ongoing dope tests on aspirants for police jobs, he said mediapersons were free to go and check how the tests were being done. The catch, he joked, was that the journalist will also have to give his sample for dope test. Not many among the journalists were amused by the answer, but Sukhbir had a hearty laugh.
Ramoowalia likes to feel important
Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who had surprised everyone by leaving the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to join the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh as jail minister, thinks of himself as the most important Sikh leader and a very important minister in the state. Ramoowalia recently told a former Akali colleague that he holds the most important portfolio, as every minister needs his intervention. He said several ministers and leaders have their relatives or friends in state jails and need his intervention for their “comfortable” stay there. What a way to feel important!
Tarmac tale: What’s the real picture!
The social media team of AAP doesn’t let anything pass. When Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal recently tweeted about the Modi government transforming road connectivity in India, she posted a ‘then and ‘now’ picture with it. The ‘then’ pictures showed an uncarpeted road, whereas the ‘now’ picture showed a newly laid wide road. An AAP supporter, ‘Aap ka Mehta’, tweeted that the first picture had been lifted from a Nigerian news story about the condition of roads there and how the Kebbi government was improving them. Anything on the other picture?
DIG with a difference
Punjab police deputy inspector general (DIG), border range, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh is one-of-a-kind police officer. After the Dinanagar terror attack, he was handpicked for Amritsar. The IPS officer has been on his toes since. And the policemen posted across Amritsar and Pathankot have to remain extra vigilant. Kunwar can surface any time at night. The DIG, it is said, regularly roams around in his territory at night wearing camouflage fatigue and wielding a Kalashnikov and small firearms. Always on the prowl, the officer and his trained guards carry enough ammunition to launch a counter offensive without waiting for the reinforcement.
Mann finds a ‘friend’ in Dr Gandhi
Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, suspended AAP MP from Patiala, comes across as a man of sterling character. Despite his differences with several party leaders, many of who have treated him rather harshly, Gandhi tweeted in favour of Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann when he was facing trouble in Parliament for having made a video clip of the security arrangements. Gandhi said Mann made a mistake and had apologised. “The matter should have ended there. Any harsher punishment will be travesty of justice,” he wrote.
Punjab politicos digging into history to pin down rivals
Leaders of opposition parties in Punjab seem to have turned historians in the run up to the assembly polls. On the issue of Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal, the AAP and the Congress dug into historical documents to show that it was the ruling Badal government that was responsible for the construction of the canal in the first place. The AAP, of course, held the Congress equally responsible. Captain Amarinder Singh held a press conference in Jalandhar showing papers of the proceedings of the Haryana assembly of 1978 to prove that it was the Badal government which acquired the land. AAP leader HS Phoolka released a notification of 1976, showing how the water was to be initially divided between the states to prove his point.
Political match after Rio games
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar deferred the monsoon session of the assembly by one week after an all-party meeting on Saturday. The new date, August 26, was announced by the chief minister after Leader of Opposition Abhay Singh Chautala informed him about unavailability of some legislators due to the Olympic Games in Brazil where sports persons from the state will be showcasing their prowess. A former president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Abhay said he would be going to Rio for the games. A few other leaders immediately backed the suggestion to postpone the session. Khattar gamely agreed and made the announcement without losing any time.
Grand suggestions for Haryana golden jubilee celebrations
Grand decorated gates at all 28 entry points, statues of netas and freedom fighters, four-week long mela at Surajkund, special show for foreign diplomats and a gala at India Gate in New Delhi are among the ideas put forth by top leaders of the state at an all-party meeting in Chandigarh last week. That the golden jubilee year celebrations of Haryana are being planned as a mega affair was obvious. But few had expected the enthusiasm with which leaders from different parties participated in the discussion held by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the celebrations. While a senior IAS officer spoke on the events being planned by the government, two leaders from the opposition Congress and INLD seemed keen on statues of freedom fighters and politicians who had played a role in the formation of the state. Another opposition leader stressed the need to showcase the state as the land of Gita, kisans (farmers) and jawans (soldiers). With ideas flowing from everyone, the government appears to have its hands full now.
Hooda shrugs off Yadav’s charges
Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda knows how to deflect uncomfortable questions. In Chandigarh the other day, when Hooda was asked about former minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav’s outburst against him, he shrugged it off. “I never took Yadav seriously at all,” he said. The six-time fromer MLA from Rewari had accused AICC general secretary Kamal Nath and Hooda of being hand in glove and hurting his prestige.
Tongue-tied, veteran Congress Haryana leader sulks
Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, who quit the Congress on Friday, was unhappy because he was not allowed to attend a party meeting. While the former minister felt slighted at being dropped from the list of those called for the meeting of prominent party leaders from Haryana, not all of those who attended it seemed happy. An ex-president of HPCC took umbrage at being asked to hold his tongue. When the party bigwigs were told to keep the local leaders in the loop while visiting their area, the former state unit chief could not stop himself. Taking a dig at a MP, he said it must apply to everyone in the party. But he was to keep quiet. The veteran leader did not like it and left the meeting.
Abhay’s bullet jibe at Surjewala
INLD leader Abhay Chautala has demanded a white paper on security given to various people, especially political leaders, in Haryana. Interacting with newspersons in Chandigarh recently, Abhay said two-bit BJP leaders were given security, besides some leaders of the Congress, but not his party’s state president Ashok Arora. He then took a dig at Congress MLA Randeep Surjewala who is seeking better security cover. “Koi usko kyon marega. Usko koi bhi khatra nahin hain. Vaise bhi 100 rupye ki goli bullet aati hai, kaun kharch karega uspe,” he said to guffaws from those present.
(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Chitleen K Sethi, Pawan Sharma, Navneet Sharma and Rajesh Moudgil)