Vij and his favourite tea stall
Health minister Anil Vij misses no opportunity to remain in the news. The latest is about his habit of going to his favourite tea stall in his hometown, Ambala, every morning. Vij, one of the senior-most members of the state cabinet, could not attend the four-day training camp of the BJP at Surajkund due to health reasons. He went to PGIMER, Chandigarh, medical checkups and tests and was advised rest. The minister did rest until one fine morning when he, as is his routine on most days, decided to go to the tea stall in Sadar Bazaar, Ambala Cantonment. His driver informed him that the car had a flat tyre. Though the driver said he would replace it within minutes, Vij got his scooter out and rode it from his residence in Shastri Colony to his favourite destination, much to the amusement to his supporters who expect him at the tea stall whenever he is in town.
‘Masterji’ to control power body
Little-known Akali Jathedar Master Balwinder Singh, who belongs to Jalalabad assembly constituency represented by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, isn’t good news for Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL). He recently took charge as chairman of Power Disputes Redressal Authority in Guru Har Sahai without any official order or notification. A retired school master, Singh, who served as district chief of the Akali Dal for many years, says he has been “rewarded” now. But the problem is ‘Masterji’ does not know the regulatory processes or power sector regulations. “Sukhbir Badal asked me to take charge to weed out rampant corruption from the corporation,” he said. But the corporation top brass calls his appointment as a new low, seeing it as the start of a new phase of interference in day-to-day functioning.
Capt’s age jibe at Badal
He loves to take a dig at the age of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. But Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh went on to call Badal a “kharab sa budha” (old oldie) during a press conference on Sunday. The context was a query on attack on a RSS leader. Amarinder blames the CM for fanning religious tensions --- from sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari to that of Quran at Malerkotla. “He can do anything as elections near to polarise voters. He is a kharab budha,” Amarinder said. As youth becomes flavour of the upcoming elections, expect some more geriatric attacks from leaders.
Comments not welcome on Jakhar’s WhatsApp group
Congress leader Sunil Jakhar’s social media team set up a WhatsApp group recently, but wants it to be one-way communication. It expressed its reservation over the comments of people from different political ideologies on ‘SJ News 33’. In face of comments on the Congress and other political parties, the group’s admin wrote: “No comments or views from your side please”. This hasn’t gone down well with some who quit the group.
Sukhbir gets taste of selfie craze
Politicians do not mind selfie-crazy supporters going gaga over them, but things can get out of hand sometimes. Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was at a function in Raikot on Thursday to distribute cycles to school-going girls and descended from the stage after concluding his speech to mingle with the crowd. But he was swarmed by people who wanted a selfie with him. The deputy CM had no choice but to oblige them.
Khattar, the storyteller
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar likes to tell stories sometimes. At a meeting with represen-tatives of private schools last week to encourage them to share their good practices with government schools, doubts were expressed about the willingness such institutes to learn. When his turn came to speak, the CM narrated the story of a buffalo suffering from ‘aphara’ (indigestion). “The cattle owner took it to a veterinary doctor who gave him medicine. When he said the buffalo doesn’t open its mouth, the doctor handed a small pipe. He was told to place the medicine in the pipe, put it into buffalo’s mouth and then blow air into it from his mouth through the other end. A few days later, the owner came to the doctor again. Asked about the buffalo, the owner said he did as told, but couldn’t blow air into the pipe. The buffalo beat him to it and he swallowed the medicine. Bhains ka toh pata nahin, par mera aphara theek ho gaya,” the CM said, telling private schools to teach their good practices to state-run schools. “But don’t get influenced by them,” he said to guffaws from those present.
Haryana minister’s weird take on skewed sex ratio
Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma makes bizarre statements sometimes. He has blamed “foreigner virus” for skewed sex ratio in Haryana and parts of the country. Sharma, who was addressing a gathering at Kurukshetra University the other day, said: “We, Indians, are not to blame. There is a virus in neighbouring countries that is disturbing India and also responsible for the declined sex ratio”. He said people of those countries want to know sex of unborn baby and the same is now being repeated in India with the help of their techniques. “The efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Manohar Lal Khattar are improving things here, though,” he added. Only he knows how he discovered the cause of the problem.
HP guv blasts ‘subsidy culture’
Himachal Pradesh governor Acharya Dev Vrat never misses any opportunity to show his love for Kuru-kshetra. He attends almost all official functions in the city where he was principal of a Gurukul for 34 years. On his latest visit, Dev Vrat, who belongs to Samalkha, asked the people not to depend on subsidies meant for the poor. “People have developed a culture of begging in the name of subsidy that has made them dependent on the government,” he said while addressing a gathering on the martyrdom day of Shaheed Udham Singh. “People should leave subsidy and come forward to contribute in the development of the state by paying their pending electricity bills,” he said.
Virbhadra’s tense trips to Capital
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s visits to Delhi have been causing anxiety in political circles of the state lately. The reason is the ongoing cases involving his family. The CM’s latest trip to the national capital has come at a time when his wife Pratibha Singh has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate and his LIC agent Anand Chauhan is struggling to get bail in a money laundering case. A former MP, Pratibha will appear before the agency on Monday. The CM’s aides and friends will be watching the proceedings with bated breath.
Nadda bats for Nurpur ex-MLA
Sidelined by the BJP leadership for almost 10 years, former Nurpur MLA Rakesh Pathania was back in the limelight when he held a massive welcome rally for Union health minister JP Nadda in Nurpur town. Though he was expelled by the block unit a few months ago for openly opposing former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his son Anurag Thakur, Pathania proved he was the only hope for the party in Nurpur. Nadda also asserted that the party needed people like him. “Pathania would not miss the train (ticket) this time,” he said, giving a new lease of life to the former two-time legislator’s political career.
BJP legislator’s flag faux pas
The first-time BJP legislator from Churah (Chamba district), Hansraj, triggered an unnecessary controversy the other day. Presiding over a function in a government college in his constituency, Hansraj likened the green colour in the flag of Congress’ youth wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) to that of Pakistan flag. A furious NSUI activist interrupted the MLA’s speech without wasting any time, asking him: “What colours are there in the national flag”. Taken aback, the young legislator not only avoided giving any response, but also changed the course of his speech. However, angry NSUI activists continued their aggressive protest outside the venue.
(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, sukhdeep kaur, chitleen k sethi, Aneesha Sareen, Navneet Sharma, Rajesh Moudgil, Neeraj Mohan, Gaurav Bisht, Naresh K Thakur)