Regional buzz | Now , ‘Sidhu da durbar’ and Capt’s ‘religious advisor’ | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Regional buzz | Now , ‘Sidhu da durbar’ and Capt’s ‘religious advisor’

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

punjab Updated: Jul 17, 2017 15:33 IST
HT Correspondents
Sherry held a public hearing of four superintendent engineers of his department, whom he had suspended, in the presence of MLAs and mediapersons
Sherry held a public hearing of four superintendent engineers of his department, whom he had suspended, in the presence of MLAs and mediapersons(Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT )

Now, ‘Sidhu da durbar’

It is chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, a former Patiala royal, who is known to hold durbar with his courtiers. But now he has in-house competition in local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Sherry held a public hearing of four superintendent engineers of his department, whom he had suspended, in the presence of MLAs and mediapersons. While Sidhu said it was for “sake of transparency”, he ruffled many feathers by bypassing laid down rules. A departmental inquiry could have been handled by additional chief secretary, Satish Chandra, who holds charge of secretary, local government. The amused Congress MLAs, who are cribbing about no say in government, had their own takes. One of them defended Sidhu saying the minister wanted to keep everything in “public domain” while another said there was “trust deficit” and a third simply called it, “Sidhu da Durbar”. The Captain was not amused. He not only sent his emissary to Sidhu to not “overlook” rules but also ensured it was reported in the media. After all, a jungle cannot have two kings!

Captain’s ‘religion adviser’

If the adviser industry boomed under the rule of Badals, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is not far behind. At a hi-tea organised by SAD (Delhi) chief Paramjit Singh Sarna at a five-star hotel last week in Delhi, Captain announced to appoint Sarna as his adviser, religion. And Sarna already has his job cut out. “I would give my advice on gurdwara matters, travel of pilgrims to religious places, especially to Pakistan, and 550th birth centenary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev,” he says. While Sarna eagerly awaits the government notification, his political opponents have launched sniper attacks. “He could not win even his own seat during Delhi gurdwara elections. His appointment will prove Sarnas are Congress stooges,” one of them said.

Resend, revise, repeat

In the Captain Amarinder Singh government, the public relations department is under the CM. And chief minister’s media adviser Raveen Thukral has literally taken over the entire department. Every press statement of the CM comes from three different email ids — ‘Capt Amarinder Singh’, ‘Chief Minister Punjab’ and ‘DPR Punjab’. By the time mediapersons figure out it is the same one, a revised one lands and is repeated by all the three email ids. Resend, revise, repeat. That’s power replay.

The ‘viral’ Chautala

Old habits die hard, especially if you are a Chautala. INLD leader Abhay Chautala has been trying to be media-savvy of late. But he lost his cool while talking to journalists during party’s protest last week on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) issue. The leader of opposition shot back at a journalist who asked him about problems faced by commuters due to INLD stopping Punjab vehicles on highways. Abhay not only removed the journalist’s mic, he asked him to go home, calling him a “sarkari agent”. The video has gone viral on social media and Chautala was making the wrong news.

Plum posts for babus from Khattar’s hometown

The posting and transfer orders of IAS and HCS officers issued by the Haryana government last week brought plum positions for three IAS officers from chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s home constituency of Karnal. Its DC Mandeep Brar got appointed as deputy principal secretary to CM and also chief administrator, Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board. He replaces J Ganesan, Karnal DC before Brar, who has now been appointed chief administrator of Haryana Urban Development Authority. Aditya Dhaiya, commissioner of Karnal municipal corporation, bagged the position of Karnal DC. Priyanka Soni, additional deputy commissioner of Karnal, has become the new MC commissioner. Call it Khattar’s merry-go-round!

Pulling out all stops for RSS ideologue event

Pulling out all stops for RSS ideologue event It’s not the time to smile Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj was at the receiving end of ire of protesters after the rape and murder of a minor schoolgirl led to public outrage in the state. Facebook users reacted sharply to one of Bhardwaj’s pictures that showed him smiling while leading the protest march in Shimla while holding a torch (mashal). “Bhardwaj ji stop smiling, the matter is serious,” read a post on Facebook.

It’s not the time to smile

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj was at the receiving end of ire of protesters after the rape and murder of a minor schoolgirl led to public outrage in the state. Facebook users reacted sharply to one of Bhardwaj’s pictures that showed him smiling while leading the protest march in Shimla while holding a torch (mashal). “Bhardwaj ji stop smiling, the matter is serious,” read a post on Facebook.

Sukhu silent on CM-­Mankotia spat

After Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s bete noire, former tourism minister Vijai Singh Mankotia, has opened a front against the chief minister demanding his ouster, state Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has gone silent. The Himachal Congress president Sukhu to interfere in bringing truce between the two saying, “I can’t intervene as both are senior leaders.” But Mankotia seems to have more friends on his side. Senior minister GS Bali has described him a “close friend”. Expect more friends to turn foes before the state elections.

(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sukhdeep Kaur, Hitender Rao, Hardik Anand, Neeraj Mohan, Gaurav Bisht)