Social media-savvy Bains brothers
Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) candidates Balwinder Singh and Simarjit Singh, known as Bains brothers, owe their popularity and support in Ludhiana to social media.Both say social media have made things easy and increased their reach manifold. “But for Facebook and WhatsApp, it wouldn’t have been easy for us,” say the two brothers. Now that’s a lot like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with which the LIP has an alliance in the state polls.
Chandumajra’s witty side
The Akalis, whose atta-dal scheme had worked wonders in the 2012 assembly polls, seem to think their sops would help them stay afloat, despite poll pundits’ adverse predictions. Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal , his deputy CM son Sukhbir Badal and other leaders never forget to read out fresh sops announced in the manifesto. Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra, did the same in Lehra where he was addressing a public meeting organised by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate and finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa last week, but in his own witty way. “(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ne gas cylinder de dita,( chief minister Parkash Singh) Badal saab ne chulha, cooker te gheo wi dena hega. Kuch bacheya hai? Parminder, tu roti bana lena (Modi gave gas cylinder and Badal saab is giving gas stove, pressure cooker and ghee. What’s left? Parminder can cook chapatis,” he said to loud cheers from the gathering. The finance minister also had a smile on his face.
Confident show by Punjab EC officials
There is no dearth of confidence in officials of the Election Commission in Punjab. When political parties complained that multiple liquor shops were running in rural areas in the name of one government approved liquor vend, additional chief electoral officer MS Narang, seeking a written complaint, said: “Oh na theke valian nu bhajrran paa dian gey (We would make such liquor vend owners run for cover)”. But he later changed his tone. “These things are needed to instill confidence among the people,” he said.
Badal Sr attacks Kejri over ‘governance glitches’
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has made the assembly elections a three-horse race in the state for the first time. The party has the advantage of being a new player in the state. But its rivals, especially the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is battling anti-incumbency of 10 years, are having a go at its lofty promise by raking issues related to its government in the national capital. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is taking digs at Kejriwal for not having a single Punjabi in his cabinet, while Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra is also sparing it. “Kejriwal ne oothe ki kitta hai? Oh teh dasse (What has Kejriwal done there? He should talk about that). How many jobs has he given in Delhi? How will he give jobs to your children,” he said, referring to “governance glitches” in Delhi.
Abhay dubs Congress as B-team of BJP
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala has tried to hit three birds with one stone. Interacting with newspersons in Chandigarh the other day, he said his party would soon start preparing a “chargesheet” against corrupt members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), just the way it did against the previous Congress government. “The Congress, not INLD, is the B-team of the BJP,” he said, reminding everyone of its experience in preparing chargesheets. How many birds he gets, only time will tell.
Bali’s CM dreams!
Himachal Pradesh transport minister GS Bali knows how to make headlines. He first created a huge uproar over not being to get on to the dais at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s rally. Then, he fired a salvo at his own government, demanding that chief minister Virbhadra Singh should fulfil the poll promise of unemployment allowance. At Republic Day function in Hamirpur last week, Bali again kicked up the dust by hinting that he would be in race for CM’s post in the upcoming assembly polls in the state. “I will reveal at the right time whether I am aspiring for it or not,” he said, setting the cat among the pigeons.
Sukhu’s lung power
Himachal Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu led the protests against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move from the front literally. He had to lead the slogan shouting. When the Congress staged a protest outside the regional office of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Kasumpti, the protesters weren’t enthusiastic. Sukhu was not impressed. He took charge and started shouting slogans. The strategy paid up, as the protesters got charged up.
Nadda as HP BJP chief? Satti doesn’t think so
BJP circles in Himachal Pradesh have been abuzz with talk of a change of guard following media reports that Union health minister and party’s national general secretary Jagat Parkash Nadda could be the new state unit chief. But Himachal BJP president Satpal Singh Satti has dismissed the speculation. “Yeh toh Nadda key marji hein key woh anaa chahtey hein key nahin. Abhi aisaa kuch nahin lag raha (It’s up to Nadda whether he wants to come back to the state or not. I’m not getting that feeling right now),” he said. Not a very confident statement, especially ahead of the state assembly elections. But then, there is no smoke without fire.
Speculation rife over Virbhadra’s seat
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh raised the political temperature in the state by announcing that his son and Himachal Youth Congress chief Vikramaditya Singh would contest the upcoming polls from Shimla Rural constituency. Virbhadra currently represents the assembly segment. The declaration has got everyone talking about the constituency from which the CM would enter the fray. But BJP leader and Shimla Urban MLA Suresh Bhardwaj has an interesting suggestion for the octogenarian leader. “The Congress is very weak in Hamirpur. Virbhadra Singh should contest from there. It will also bridge the gap between old Himachal and new Himachal,” he said in all seriousness.
(CONTRIBUTED BY GUPREET SINGH NIBBER, NAVNEET SHARMA, RAJESH MOUDGIL GAURAV BISHT, NARESH K THAKUR)