Regional buzz: Sukhbir playing ‘cool’ host to media and Bajwa’s having a field day
Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.punjab Updated: Jun 05, 2017 12:26 IST
Sukhbir playing ‘cool’ host to media
Out of power, one man who is not complaining is former Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal. He recently hosted some journalists at his luxury resort, Oberoi Sukhvilas, and was all smiles. Wondering why? Congress MLAs are fuming and fretting that he still calls up most SSPs and DCs directly and give them orders. Worse, they are more responsive to him than them! With the Congress government not going after Badal buses, ‘cable mafia’ and their luxe resorts, and landing itself in controversies one after another, one can understand why Sukhbir cannot hide his glee.
Javadekar’s sarcastic side
Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar, who was in Chandigarh for a workshop held jointly by his ministry and the Punjab government at a city hotel last week, showed his sarcastic side. On his arrival, the former environment minister was presented a shawl by Punjab education minister Aruna Chaudhary before he addressed the gathering. In his speech, Javadekar ticked off the organisers, saying that he felt like wrapping the shawl in the peak of summer, as air conditioners were running at full blast. “They have set the temperature at 18 degrees Celsius because they cannot go lower than that. Otherwise they would have set it even lower,” he said sarcastically. The minister then talked about the decline in standards of education, taking digs at Bihar board exam results by citing the examples of toppers. “One of them ran away and another one had music as one of his subject but did know anything about sur taal,” he said to chuckles from the gathering.
Bajwa’s having a field day
One person who is enjoying to his heart’s content as the Captain Amarinder Singh government faces heat over power minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s alleged benami sand mining bids is Amarinder’s “fair-weather” friend, Partap Bajwa. The Rajya Sabha MP who was ousted by Captain through a bitter succession battle is holidaying at Iceland. But sitting there, Bajwa knows how to turn on the heat. He has shot a letter to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi demanding Rana be sacked. Friends to foes to friends again, Bajwa is happily playing merry-go-round with Captain, and none seems to mind it.
Capt sings a different tune
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh is known to have a mind of his own, but his recent statements and tweets have already become a talking point in the Congress. The chief minister, who has dismissed all talk of the Centre being “uncooperative”, first openly supported Major Leetul Gogoi, who had tied a Kashmiri in front of a jeep to avoid attack from stone-pelters, even as his party took days to make its stand clear. Then, he praised the Centre for its handling of safe return of Delhi resident Uzma Ahmed, who had alleged that she was forced to marry a Pakistani at gun point, to India from Pakistan. “Congrats to the central govt for handling sensitive matter with maturity @SushmaSwaraj,” he tweeted on May 25. Three days later, Amarinder lauded his Rajasthan counterpart Vasudhara Raje for her prompt action in the Sikh assault case. His statements and tweets, not all of which match with the party’s position, have not gone unnoticed. Congress leaders are already talking about them.
AAP leaders’ lung power
At a protest outside the Punjab assembly against power minister Rana Gurjit Singh in the sand mining row, top AAP leaders, including Bhagwant Mann, Aman Arora, HS Phoolka and Sukhpal Singh Khaira, were taken into “preventive arrest” by the Chandigarh police, as they tried to march towards the Punjab chief minister’s residence. They were made to board a police bus and then began the game of political one-upmanship. They all started giving their opinions simultaneously from behind the wire mesh on the windows, screaming at the top of their voices, to camera crews of news channels. Khaira, who was behind major news-breaks in the mining fiasco, had the larger claim to be heard. Others also did not want to miss the bus, though.
Hooda’s deft handling of media
Almost every week, journalists in former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s hometown Rohtak get an invitation for his press conference. Thinking that the former CM would share something new, a large number of mediapersons turn up for the conference at his residence. However, what follows is a rather disappointing, as Hooda almost every single time begins the conference by telling them that there was nothing specific he wanted to share. “I just wanted to meet you guys....otherwise you complain that I don’t give time to you all,” is how he begins almost all his press conferences. While that would have been satisfying to journalists to see a political leader so willing to face the media, the former CM seems to have mastered the art of ducking difficult questions by cracking jokes on mediapersons. Pressing for an answer has often turned ugly!
Shukla’s and his love for ‘patrakars’
Congress leader Rajiv Shukla is a sympathiser of the media. In Chandigarh last week to hold a press conference to batter the BJP’s three-year rule, he gave ample proof of it. Talking informally after the press conference, Shukla was informed that liquor had been banned at the Chandigarh Press Club in the wake of court ruling pertaining to distance from the highways. “Yeh toh patrakaron ke saath bahut bura hua,” he said meaning it was a sad thing to have happened to journalists.
BJP’s ‘below the belt’ remarks against Virbhadra
With the state assembly polls round the corner, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh has intensified campaign against the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government. On most occasions, their prime target is Virbhadra Singh, who is in the dock over graft charges. But the party leaders often cross the boundaries of decency while going after the chief minister. At a party function in Dharamshala, BJP in-charge for Himachal Pradesh, Mangal Pandey, began by calling Virbhadra a “shameless person”, who will not resign from the CM’s post even if he is sent to jail. As if that was not enough, Pandey went on to liken Virbhadra Singh to a demon.
Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda and BJP MP from Hamirpur Anurag Thakur displayed rare bonhomie during their visit to Una. Nadda and Thakur, who is also president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), visited a Dalit hamlet to have traditional food. The two leaders not only enjoyed the meal, but they also sat together and kept chatting with each other.
(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hardik Anand, Rajesh Moudgil, Naresh K Thakur, Gaurav Bisht)