Badge of pride
If you want respect from others, you must first learn to respect yourself. This seems to be the new mantra of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). In a recent meeting of the Punjab cabinet, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal came wearing a badge that read “I am proud to be an Akali”. He was carrying several similar badges which he started distributing to other cabinet ministers. Sukhbir then walked up to the CM and attached the badge on his jacket. Amused by the deputy CM’s gesture everyone laughed when he tried to attach the badges to jackets of some BJP ministers. Sukhbir told his colleagues that they should be always wearing the badge to create a sense of pride in what they are doing. Why these badges? Isn't pride already running high? There are a few who feel that they should try a badge that says: “I’m a humble worker of SAD”. It may work better in an election year.
Cash-strapped Cong gets a treasurer!
Losing elections is not the only woe of the Congress. With it, it is also losing donations. So the party is literally scraping the barrel when it comes to paying its bills. The depleted reservoirs of the party usually fill up during elections, but with its poll graph heading downwards, there is little trickling in. So Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh has appointed MLA Amrik Dhillon’s son Kamaljeet Singh as his new treasurer. The man had even his predecessor Partap Bajwa’s confidence. Never mind the buzz in the Congress on the source of Dhillons’ millions. Loyalty, royalty and money make a heady cocktail in the Congress!
When expelled leader Bir Devinder Singh finally refused to join hands with another rebel Jagmeet Brar, a few in the Congress credited party’s poll strategist Prashant Kishor for preventing it. State Cong chief Captain Amarinder Singh’s team, rewarded with plum posts for loyalty to the “crown”, was first busy asking Captain to show Brar and Bir their place and later, they gunned for Kishor. Now the loyal brigade is trying to find out who is funding Brar, the “rebel without a pause”. But it is Bir Devinder who is having the last laugh. The wily politician is taking digs at all. To those who care to listen, Devinder is even heard quipping, “The Congress pays Kishor for working, but for me, he works for free.” Who says turning friends into foes is not strategy at work.
Haryana babus’ village visit
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, taking a cue from the Centre, asked his top bureaucrats to visit district of their first posting for a first-hand feel of the ground situation and implementation of government programmes. When the chief secretary also wrote to senior IAS officers, asking them to visit any village in the sub-division of their first positing and spend two days and one night there, several of them got in touch with the deputy commissioners and drew up their travel plans. With many areas of the state reeling under severe heat wave conditions, those who had their first postings close to the state headquarters or Delhi appeared to the happiest. Some others looked for rest houses where they could have a comfortable stay. But, then, there were also a few who did not mind sleeping in the open. An additional chief secretary (ACS)-rank officer apparently spent the night on a cot in open compound of a government school. He made sure the moment was captured, perhaps for official records. The pictures went viral on WhatsApp.
Truant ministers irk Virbhadra
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh has repeatedly told his cabinet colleagues to spend more time in their offices in the state secretariat. He even suggested that they be there on first three weekdays every week. But several ministers have not paid any attention. They are still playing truant, irking the chief minister. The CM has now threatened to change the portfolios of ministers refusing to change their ways. “If they don’t adhere to what I say, I will be left with little choice except to change their portfolios,” an upset Virbhadra told reporters when asked about his ministers’ absence from the secretariat.
Maheshwar Singh in a fix
Maheshwar Singh, scion of Kullu’s royal family, had created a flutter in political circles of the state when he parted ways with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to float his Himachal Lokhit Party before the 2012 assembly elections in the state. Maheshwar is caught in a Catch-22 situation now. He appears to be weighing his options to return to the BJP. Maheshwar, MLA from Kullu, is also in touch with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that is trying to find a toehold in the state.
(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Chitleen K Sethi, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Navneet Sharma and Gaurav Bisht)