SIDHU IN HIS ELEMENT
Charged up after getting legal go-ahead for appearing on a TV show, Punjab local bodies and tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu kept chatting almost throughout the two-hour-long oath-taking ceremony. He started with a long talk with the CM. When the two finished, Jalandhar Cantt MLA Pargat Singh came to his seat for a chat. Later, the cricketerturned-politician turned to Raj Kumar Verka and two other party colleagues sitting behind him. Whenever the MLAs greeted him while going to the speaker’s podium or returning after taking oath, Sidhu warmly shook hands with them or patted their backs.
WARRING WINS HEARTS
Congress MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, who has been elected from Gidderbaha, took everyone by surprise, as he stopped just before the staircase to the speaker’s podium and took off his shoes to show his high regard. After being administered oath, he walked up to several opposition members and shook hands with them. Even Kultar Singh Sandhwan, AAP legislator from Kotkapura, bowed and touched the first step of the staircase with folded hands to register his respect while going up to the speaker’s podium to take oath. His action was applauded by some members with thumping of desks.
Sitting in the VIP gallery of the Punjab assembly were proud parents who passed the baton on to their sons. Former Nawanshahr MLA Guriqbal Kaur saw her son, Angad Saini, 26, take oath as MLA for a seat both she and her late husband have represented. So did Lal Singh, whose son Rajinder Singh has won the Samana seat. Another family saw a happy ending when former minister Gurchet Bhullar made peace with his son, Sukhpal Bhullar, who took oath as Khemkaran MLA.
TURNCOATS MAKE HAY
Inderbir Bolaria, who not very long ago sat with former SAD minister Bikram Majithia in the ruling benches and cracked jokes, was laughing this time to wisecracks of Navjot Singh Sidhu. The switch in time has been lucky for Sidhu too. The former BJP MP is now a connoisseur of all eyes in the assembly. His friend, former SAD MLA Pargat Singh, too is not complaining. Sukhpal Khaira, who sat across the Congress, as AAP MLA too makes it to the list of lucky turncoats!
CAPT LEAVES MIDWAY
With former CM Parkash Singh Badal choosing to give the first day of swearing-in a miss, at 75, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh got the oldest tag rather unwittingly. But unlike the Akali patriarch, Amarinder could not sit through the swearing-in ceremony of all MLAs. The CM also sounded breathless at one point while reading the oath. He left the ceremony midway.
The team of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi occupied the back rows. MLAs Kuljit Nagra, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Vijay Inder Singla sat talking and thumping desks for young first-timers of the party. Ashu was also seen teaching a lesson or two to 26-year-old MLA Angad Saini on notes circulated in the assembly.
OFFICERS IN ATTENDANCE
The officers’ gallery was full at the start of the oath-taking ceremony. Several top officers, including chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh and DGP Suresh Arora, were present. As the ceremony lasted more than two hours, several officers left the gallery. By the time the ceremony got over, it was half empty. The chief secretary was present there nonetheless.