Religion binds together both Akali Dal veteran Sucha Singh Langah and controversial cop Salwinder Singh, whom the Pathankot terror attack fidayeen had let off without a bruise after abduction.
The colourful cop draws political pull from his proximity to Langah. The two, it is rumoured, do many sacred things together. From going on pilgrimage to private visits, their friendship is much talked about. Once Langah and the cop had gone to Ajmer Sharif to seek blessings. One wonders if this politico-police proximity is confined to pilgrimages only!
It’s a coincidence Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal must be frowning at, albeit, silently. The back-to-back terror strikes in Punjab coincided with his foreign tour plans.
Hours before threePakistani fidayeen stormed Dinanagar police station on July 27 last year, Sukhbir, who is also the home minister, had landed in Poland on an official tour.
Sukhbir, the grapevine has it, was advised to rush back to Punjab, but he did not budge.
The deputy CM, accompanied by some sycophants, stuck to his itinerary. Obviously, he drew flak for his absence.
Now, five months and five days later, terrorists struck at the Pathankot airbase. The deputy CM and his family were again set to travel abroad. The first apparent halt was Dubai. But it was not to be. The terror strike forced Sukhbir to terminate the tour. Cruel terrorists!
Social media-savvy CS
Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal likes to keep everyone informed about his work. Kaushal, in routine, posts pictures of his meetings and training sessions on social media.
And, there are many followers who post comments, usually appreciating the effort, to woo the top boss. “Pearls of wisdom by the team leader today,” posted a junior officer on his Facebook wall the other day. His image-building exercise doesn’t end there.
Kaushal even posts pictures or links of newspaper reports to apparently show that his work is getting noticed. The corridors of power last month were also abuzz with the talk of the government looking for an alternative, but he seems to have bounced back.
Mann no different from others
AAP MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann may position himself as a champion of the freedom of the press, but his conduct at recent media interactions does not show him to be different from other politicians.
The comedian-turned-politician does not respond well to tough questions. Asked one or two straight questions at a press conference recently, he started making fun of the journalist, putting him counter-questions and then bursting into laughter.
To some other queries, he responded with self-deprecating remarks. Mann seems to have picked up this style from the top leader of a conventional party in the state.
Known for his barbed retorts, former Congress minister Harnam Dass Johar had earned admiration from both his associates and opponents.
Warm words from politicians, irrespective of party affiliations, present during his last rites a week ago left his family surprised. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and former BJP minister Satpal Gosain were not only among those present, but also paid rich tributes to Johar.
To this a Congressman said, “The last journey of a person is an eye-opener and unveils the respect and actual admiration that he or she enjoys among opponents.”
Haryana health minister Anil Vij appears to be pleased with his new official sports utility vehicle (SUV), Toyota Fortuner.
The irrepressible minister, who was allocated an already-in-use vehicle after joining the Khattar ministry 14 months ago, had apparently got it washed with Gangajal for “purification”.
“Yeh (SUV) toh bilkul nayee hai, isko shudh karne ki zaroorat nahin hai. Pehle wali mein zaroori tha (This one is brand new and does not need purification. The old one needed it),” he told reporters in an informal chat the other day. Asked if he knew who used the old car in the previous Congress regime, Vij said it did not matter.
“Their deeds were such that the vehicle required purification irrespective of who was using it,” he said bursting into a loud guffaw.
All was not well at the function held for the release of a coffee table book on Jind, authored by IAS couple Ajit Balaji Joshi, deputy commissioner, Chandigarh, and Gauri Parasher Joshi, administrator, HUDA (headquarters), at Haryana Raj Bhawan here last week. While the guests had to wait for about an hour for the function to begin, the national anthem was played by mistake by those readying a presentation for the occasion.
All guests stood through the national anthem puzzled. After it was over, an elderly person expressed annoyance at officials for playing the national anthem without a ceremony. Later, the anchor apologised for this.
Several among audience could also be seen giggling looking at the wrong spellings in the title of the book displayed on the invitation card as well as the banner hung on the dais behind Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. It read: ‘Flowing Waters, Forgotton History’.
Feeling at home
Bureaucrats like to work in their home states. Haryana IAS officer Pankaj Yadav, who has been on inter-cadre deputation to Uttar Pradesh for the past three years, may extend his stay in his home state by another two years.
The deputation of the 2001 batch officer is to end this coming week, but the UP government has requested extension of his deputation period by two years.
The Haryana government has also conveyed “no objection” to the proposed extension in writing on December 29.
The request will now go to the appointments committee of cabinet for final approval. Home, dear home!
Trying police’s patience
The Dharamshala police had a tough time last year in dealing with two fake gangrape cases, a bomb hoax and two locals being mistaken for terrorists.
If that was not enough, the year 2016 began on a similar note as mischievous elements continue to take cops for a ride. An unidentified person, who claimed to be from ISIS, posted threatening mails on the online complaint portal, challenging the cops to catch him.
Even after a week, the police are still stuck in a maze created by the hacker.
Politics in Himachal Pradesh has been marred by nepotism for long, but the electors seem to have started rejecting it now.
In the recently concluded panchayat elections in 10 districts, the voters have given a shock to political bigwigs of the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP by defeating their kin who were in the fray for zila parishad posts.
Among the losers are the daughter and son-in-law of former minister Mahender Singh and the sons of former minister Gulab Singh Thakur, ayurveda minister Karan Singh and Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Jagat Singh Negi.
Sanskrit may fit the bill
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh seems upset with governor Acharya Dev Vrat for not giving assent to the Himachal Pradesh Sports Bill.
The chief minister has been accusing the governor – an appointee of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre - of not fulfilling his constitutional duties.
“He should either reject the Bill or accept it. I have already spoken to him in Hindi and English. But I think now I will have to speak in Sanskrit,” he said.
PDP and Governor’s Rule
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is an important factor in imposition of Governor’s Rule for the third time in the state in the past seven years.
The party forced it in 2008 after withdrawing support to the Congress government headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad following protests over the transfer of government land to a Hindu shrine.
Last year, it took two months to finalise its alliance with the BJP after the state assembly polls.
Again, the Governor’s Rule has been imposed with PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti refusing to take oath during the mourning period of her father, former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Now that’s quite something for a 17-year-old party. Political observers believe this reflects its “non-accommodating” approach, while others say the party doesn’t want to be seen as “opportunistic” and “power-hungry”.
(Contributed by Pawan Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Anshu Seth, Navneet Sharma, Rajesh Moudgil, Naresh K Thakur, Gaurav Bisht and Tarun Upadhyay)