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Navneet Sharma

A senior assistant editor, Navneet Sharma leads the Punjab bureau for Hindustan Times. He writes on politics, public affairs, civil services and the energy sector.

Articles by Navneet Sharma

LS polls: Of 52 Punjab candidates, mainstream parties field only six women

The proportion of women candidates in Punjab is way short of the 33% reservation in Lok Sabha and state assemblies laid down for them by the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, or the Constitution (128th Amendment), Bill.

In the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections, women constituted 15%, and 13% of the total 39 candidates fielded by the Congress, AAP and the SAD-BJP combine in the state.
Updated on May 21, 2024 07:48 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Parties drop sitting MPs, only 7 of 13 in poll fray

The BJP, which won two seats in the 2019 elections in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has replaced both its sitting MPs, actor Sunny Deol and Union minister Som Prakash, from Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur.

The Congress, which had the highest number of seven sitting Lok Sabha members in Punjab, is left with just two of them — Gurjeet Singh Aujla from Amritsar and Dr Amar Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib, in its line-up.
Updated on May 16, 2024 06:58 AM IST

Every 4th Lok Sabha candidate in Punjab a turncoat

Of the total 52 candidates declared by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress, and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), 14 are turncoats who crossed over to their new parties in the past two-and-a-half-years and got rewarded with tickets

Though all four parties embraced defectors with open arms to reap political benefits, the BJP has given tickets to seven candidates, who switched from other parties during this period
Updated on May 11, 2024 07:22 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

In a first, 12 sitting Punjab MLAs in race for Lok Sabha berth

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded nine legislators and Congress 3 MLAs; If they win, it will be raining byelections in the state

These incumbent MLAs, including five cabinet ministers and some other prominent leaders, have been fielded by their parties in nine of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state (HT File Photo)
Updated on May 04, 2024 09:02 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Interview | Punjab will vote on performance, BJP’s polarisation won’t work: Mann

In the interview, Mann railed against PM Narendra Modi and defended his performance in Punjab while exuding confidence on INDIA bloc’s poll prospects.

CANDID AND COMBATIVE: Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann interacting with Hindustan Times at his official residence in Chandigarh on Tuesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Updated on Apr 24, 2024 12:19 PM IST

Poll race: AAP a pacesetter as others yet to get off the blocks

Mann hit the campaign trail last week after introducing all 13 Lok Sabha nominees to party workers and telling them he would go to each parliamentary constituency 3-4 times

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann is on the road in Punjab, addressing public meetings and holding road shows to garner support for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections, even as rival parties, particularly the Congress, are still to finalise their candidates for several constituencies.
Updated on Apr 23, 2024 07:38 AM IST

Lok Sabha polls: AAP fields turncoat Pawan Kumar Tinu,three MLAs in its final list

AAP announces Punjab Lok Sabha candidates, including turncoats and sitting MLAs, completing all 13 nominees. No women on list.

AAP has fielded two-time former MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu from Jalandhar reserved seat.
Updated on Apr 17, 2024 07:24 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab LS polls: AAP fields turncoat Tinu from Jalandhar besides 3 MLAs

Batala MLA Amansher Singh Sherry Kalsi is AAP candidate from Gurdaspur, Muktsar MLA Jadeep Singh Kaka Brar from Ferozepur, and Ludhiana Central MLA Ashok Parashar Pappi from Ludhiana

Two-time former MLA Pawan Kumar Tinu being welcomed into the Aam Aadmi Party by chief minister Bhagwant Mann on April 14. Tinu, who was earlier with the Shiromani Akali Dal, was on Tuesday fielded from the Jalandhar reserved seat. (File photo)
Updated on Apr 16, 2024 01:04 PM IST

DNA for DNA: Parampal hits back at Sukhbir, asks him to introspect

The former 2011-batch IAS officer was reacting to the SAD president’s comment on Thursday that the DNA test of those joining the BJP should be conducted.

Parampal Kaur Sidhu had taken voluntary retirement from service to join politics. (Shrikant Singh)
Updated on Apr 13, 2024 08:08 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Charges by rivals, murmurs within roil AAP with just days to go for LS elections

With general elections looming, the party faces a crisis as leaders defect and others remain conspicuously silent, leaving the party's future in doubt.

AAP leaders at a protest in Delhi on April 7. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 13, 2024 08:51 AM IST
By, Alok KN Mishra, Chandigarh/new Delhi

How Kejriwal’s arrest is playing out in Punjab

With Mann as the face of the party in Punjab, the plan was to make his government’s achievements, especially poll guarantees such as 300 units of free power and 43,000 government jobs, the central theme of the campaign. But, a month later, the party has been compelled to change tack and focus on the incarceration of Kejriwal, who was arrested by the ED in the Delhi excise policy case three weeks ago.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was first off the blocks in Punjab when the party’s national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign on March 11 with the slogan – Sansad ch vee Bhagwant Mann, Khushaal Punjab te vadhegi shaan (With Bhagwant Mann in Parliament as well, Punjab will be happy and prosperous). (PTI File)
Updated on Apr 13, 2024 07:06 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Centre approves 1,275-cr outlay for Punjab under Samagra Shiksha, flags teacher vacancies

The budget, which is marginally lower than the outlay of ₹1,298 crore for 2023-24, has been sanctioned to meet the expenditure on the new and ongoing programmes for improvement in the quality of education, upgrade of school infrastructure, pre-primary education, training of teachers, and vocational education

There is also a spillover amount of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>221 crore from the financial year 2023-24, which remained unspent and has been carried forward. (HT)
Updated on Apr 09, 2024 08:36 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

20% of polling stations in Punjab identified as vulnerable

Of the total 24,433 polling stations in the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state, 4,976 polling stations are in vulnerable areas, identified in an exercise carried out by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab.

Vulnerability mapping by the office of Punjab CEO found that Amritsar district has the highest number of 624 vulnerable polling stations, followed by Jalandhar (472), Ludhiana (458), Fazilka (393), and Tarn Taran (318). (HT File)
Updated on Apr 06, 2024 08:30 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Pre-GST arrears: OTS scheme evokes good response, Punjab collects 62 cr

The one-time settlement (OTS) scheme rolled out by the Punjab government for settling value-added tax (VAT) arrears has received a good response

The one-time settlement (OTS) scheme rolled out by the Punjab government for settling value-added tax (VAT) arrears has received a good response.
Updated on Apr 05, 2024 08:42 AM IST

Kejriwal’s arrest delays AAP’s second list; likely after March 31

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann had declared on March 21 that his party will announce the names of its candidates for the remaining five parliamentary seats in next five days, but there is no sign of the second list of candidates

The AAP is still to announce its candidates from Anandpur Sahib, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur. (HT photo)
Updated on Mar 29, 2024 06:28 AM IST

Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest to have ripple effect in Punjab

With no senior top-rung leadership at the national level in the absence of Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh the present situation appears set to pitchfork Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann as the sole spearhead of the party campaign in the parliamentary elections if the AAP national convener doesn’t come out of jail soon

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann speaks to the media on the arrest of Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged irregularity in the now-scrapped liquor policy scam, outside the CM's residence, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI)
Updated on Mar 23, 2024 03:45 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Moose Wala mother’s IVF row: Punjab govt issues notice to health secy for acting on Centre’s request

Amid a row related to the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment of late singer Sidhu Moose Wala’s mother Charan Kaur, the Punjab government has issued a show-cause notice to principal secretary, health, Ajoy Sharma for acting on the Centre’s request for a report in the matter without first bringing it to the notice of the chief minister and the health minister

Sidhu Moose Wala’s parents, Balkaur Singh and Charan Kaur, had welcomed a baby boy on March 17, almost two years after the singer was shot dead in Mansa district of Punjab.
Updated on Mar 22, 2024 06:38 AM IST

Punjab health secy issued notice over Sidhu Moose Wala mother’s IVF row

Ajoy Sharma, a 1999-batch IAS officer, has been asked by the state government to show cause within two weeks on why action should not be initiated against him for proceeding in the matter without taking orders from chief minister Bhagwant Mann and health minister Dr Balbir Singh

Late Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala’s parents had welcomed a baby boy on March 17, nearly two years after he was shot dead in Punjab’s Mansa district. The government action follows Moose Wala’s father Balkaur Singh’s allegations on Tuesday that the state government was harassing him over the birth of his second son. (Balkaur Singh’s Facebook page)
Published on Mar 21, 2024 11:24 AM IST

Two years of AAP govt in Punjab: Putting state back on learning curve

In the 2024-25 budget, the state has also announced plans to transform 100 government senior secondary schools in rural areas into ‘Schools of Brilliance’ to elevate education quality for classes 6 to 12 and 100 primary schools into ‘Schools of Happiness’ with focus on providing well-ventilated classrooms, dedicated play areas, resource rooms and activity corners

A view of a school in Ludhiana.
Updated on Mar 16, 2024 09:08 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Two years of AAP govt: Punjab’s revenue receipts looking up, fiscal concerns remain

The AAP government has focused on boosting revenue receipts through better compliance and plugging leakages. The state’s own tax revenue (OTR), which includes goods and services tax, excise, and stamp duty, has seen a 13.2% year-on-year increase in the financial year 2022-23

When the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stormed to power in Punjab in March 2022 with populist guarantees, its most immediate challenge was the grim state of finances. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Mar 16, 2024 08:16 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Lok Sabha Polls: Five Punjab ministers, sitting MP in AAP’s first list of 8 candidates

No woman features in the AAP list; names of nominees for remaining 5 seats under discussion, to be announced soon

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday took a lead over its rivals in Punjab by releasing its first list of eight candidates for the Lok Sabha elections that includes five cabinet ministers and a sitting MP.
Updated on Mar 15, 2024 07:14 AM IST

5 Punjab ministers in AAP’s first list of 8 Lok Sabha poll candidates

The ministers contesting are: Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal from Amritsar, Laljit Singh Bhullar from Khadoor Sahib, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer from Sangrur, Dr Balbir Singh from Patiala and Gurmeet Singh Khudian from Bathinda

Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal and chief minister Bhagwant Mann launched the party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Punjab on Monday with the slogan – Sansad ch vee Bhagwant Mann, Khushaal Punjab te vadhegi shaan. (HT file photo)
Published on Mar 14, 2024 02:01 PM IST

At 3.74 lakh crore, Punjab’s debt pile set to get bigger

The state government is estimated to borrow ₹30,465 crore in the financial year 2024-25 and close the year with an outstanding debt of ₹3.74 lakh crore as per budgetary estimates (BE) and a debt to gross state domestic product (GSDP) ratio of 46:60

The state government is estimated to borrow <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>30,465 crore in the financial year 2024-25 and close the year with an outstanding debt of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>3.74 lakh crore as per budgetary estimates (BE) and a debt to gross state domestic product (GSDP) ratio of 46:60.
Updated on Mar 06, 2024 08:34 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Focus on education, agriculture in 2-lakh cr Punjab budget

Punjab FM Harpal Singh Cheema presents a ₹2.04-lakh crore budget for FY 2024-25, focusing on financial consolidation without new taxes or populist announcements.

Finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema presenting budget on Tuesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Updated on Mar 06, 2024 08:26 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab FM presents 2.04 lakh crore budget for 2024-25

The outstanding debt has been projected at ₹3,74,091 crore at the end of FY25, up from ₹3,43,626 crore as per 2023-24 revised estimates.

Finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema presenting the Punjab budget as chief minister Bhagwant Mann looks on in the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
Updated on Mar 05, 2024 02:45 PM IST

In poll season, Punjab parties walk on eggshells around farmers’ stir 2.0

Though the farmers’ protest 2.0 is a pale shadow of the 2020-21 stir in scale and intensity, it is dominating the narrative in the state ahead of the April-May LS elections

Farmers during their ongoing protest, at the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border, in Patiala district. (PTI)
Updated on Mar 04, 2024 07:58 AM IST

Punjab government likely to miss capex target, only 32% achieved so far

Against a full-year capex of ₹10,354 crore envisaged in the budget, the state has spent ₹3,390 crore during the April-January period of the current fiscal, according to data on key economic indicators released recently. The capital expenditure incurred so far is 32.77% of the budgeted amount for FY24.

A finance department official said that capex numbers will look much better by the end of the fiscal though they may still fall short of the target envisaged in the budget
Updated on Mar 03, 2024 06:54 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab budget session: Cong MLAs raise farmers’ issue, disrupt guv’s speech

The Congress members entered the well of the House and raised slogans against the central and state governments over their handling of the issue, forcing Purohit to cut short his address. The governor had read out only a few lines from his 35-page speech amid the uproar when he discontinued his address and declared that it may be “taken as read”.

Punjab governor Banwarilal Purohit’s addressed in the Vidhan Sabha. (Sourced)
Updated on Mar 02, 2024 07:58 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

CAG blames non-release of state share by Punjab for delay in implementation of wetlands project

The project sanctioned by the Union ministry of environment, forests, and climate change in 2016-17 could not achieve its objective due to the non-release of the state share by the Punjab government even five years after it had received the central funds, according to an annual review of the working of forest divisions carried out by the office of the principal accountant general (accounts) for the financial year 2022-23

Migratory birds at Harike wetland
Updated on Feb 28, 2024 07:20 AM IST
By, Chandigarh

Punjab registers 22% jump in tax revenue

Punjab registered a 22% year-on-year jump in tax revenue in first 10 months of the financial year 2023-24 due to robust demand and stricter compliance

Punjab registered a 22% year-on-year jump in tax revenue in first 10 months of the financial year 2023-24 due to robust demand and stricter compliance.
Updated on Feb 23, 2024 08:58 AM IST
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