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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Regional buzz: An unstoppable Navjot Singh Sidhu, dog jibe against the Punjab govt and Dhumal’s ‘Trump’ card

Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir:

punjab Updated: Oct 30, 2017 12:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Prem Kumar Dhumal
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Prem Kumar Dhumal(HT File )

Unstoppable Sidhu

Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Sidhu draws huge crowds at his public meetings. The organisers often have a difficult controlling them, as they try to get close to the cricketer-turned-politician. Similar scenes were witnessed during a rally at Majitha in Amritsar last week. As the minister took the stage, the cheering crowd rushed towards the dais. When the situation became difficult for his guards, Sidhu quipped: “Mai koi Hema Malini thoda hu yar, baith jao please (I am not Hema Malini, please sit down)”. The crowd roared with laughter.

GK, the powerlifter

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjit Singh GK surprised many by showing another face of his personality recently. The 57-year-old Sikh leader won the gold medal in the World Powerlifting Championship in the 50-60 years age category with a lift of 80 kilograms. The gurdwara body head looked different in power-lifting gear and doing bench press. But his message was simple – just as there is no age for politics, the same applies to fitness.

Jakhar backs party workers

When several party MLAs and other leaders complained that chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is not taking action against Akali leaders, Congress state unit president Sunil Jakhar has come out in support of party workers. “Na dhakka kita na hon devage. Koi kinna ve fanne kha kyu na hove, party dat ke ladegi (We haven’t done anything wrong and will not tolerate any. The party will stand by its workers no matter how powerful the opponent),” the newly elected Gurdaspur MP told a group of party workers from Malout who met him at a function in Abohar recently. The cross FIR against the Akalis in Kolianwali case was apparently lodged after his intervention.

Looking for a match

One of the senior leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab Himmat Singh Shergill has decided to end singledom. The 38-year-old practising lawyer, who contested the last two Lok Sabha and assembly elections without success, is looking for a match to settle down. Shergill has advertised for a matrimonial alliance in a newspaper, declaring himself as an AAP leader. “Jat Sikh, 38 years, height 5’8”, Bar-at-Law from England, Supreme Court and High Court lawyer, AAM Aadmi Party from Punjab, lives in Chandigarh,” read the ad.

Dog jibe against govt

Sarkar kuttey kamm ch paye hai” is how Shiromani Akali Dal spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema reacted after the news of local bodies department levying registration fee on pet dogs, cats and other pets. The Akali leader was not just sarcastic. He also had a hearty laugh while questioning the move. Navjot Sidhu, the minister in-charge of local bodies, was quick to drop the idea after he realised that it created a controversy.

Akali, BJP chemistry on RSS event

Akali leaders kept away the event held by Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), at New Delhi on October 25, but they did not speak against the outfit. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which are controlled by the SAD, also kept mum on it. Even Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh was not direct while giving the boycott call, unlike former jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti who had hit out at the outfit while issuing a decree against it in 2004. A sign that the SAD is against the BJP interfering in affairs of the Sikh community, but then it does not want to displease it.

Cops learning manners

Known to be brash and rough, Ludhiana cops are taking lessons on mannerism these days. Exhaustive sessions on public dealing at police stations and how to behave with the complainants are being conducted by motivational speakers for the lower ranks. A positive initiative indeed! But one has to wait to see what they learn and whether the city residents feel any change in their behaviour.

Rhymes and rhetoric

Leaders of the opposition parties tried to show their creative side after the BJP government in Haryana, which completed three years last week, showcased its achievements with slogans such as “Saal teen, behatareen” or “Jan sewa ke teen saal, samaan vikaas hua bemisaal”. If former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda responded with “BJP ke teen saal, Haryana badhaal, janata behaal”, his party colleague, Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar had his own take. “Bhajapaa ke teen saal, Haryana pichhada 25 saal,’’ he said in a statement. AAP state chief Navin Jaihind also released a short documentary titled “Khattar lal, Haryana behaal” on the occasion.

All song and dance

Famous for his antics, Himachal Pradesh forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri likes to showcase his singing talent at rallies. The poll campaign provides an opportunity – no promises or fiery speeches only songs and dance for him. In a video uploaded by a user on a social networking site, Bharmouri is seen swirling around with the electors in the tribal Bharmour valley. Of course, the song – “Come O my elector! Press the hand symbol button. Tell your mother and your father to press this button” – perfectly fits the occasion. “You make Bharmouri victorious, and he will bring a car with flag,” he reveals his ambition, shaking a leg as the audience provides clap beats and chorus.

Akali slogan in Himachal

Himachal health minister Kaul Singh Thakur’s political prestige is at stake in the Mandi assembly constituency where his daughter Champa Thakur is taking on former animal husbandry minister Anil Sharma. Unlike tech-savvy Sharma, Champa’s campaign managers have adopted the traditional style of campaigning. She is going all-out against her father’s former ministerial colleague who switched sides to the BJP recently. However, she has picked up the Shiromani Akali Dal’s slogan of ‘Raj nahi, sewa” to take him on.

Dhumal’s ‘Trump’ card

Poll campaign is not always about nasty exchanges. It can be entertaining too. People may think what US president Donald Trump has to do with the state elections in Himachal Pradesh. BJP leader and ex-CM Prem Kumar Dhumal differs though. During an election rally in remote Tissa town of Chamba district, he played the “Trump card” to woo the voters. As per his version of the story, the Republican leader was losing the US Presidential election to Hillary Clinton. “In final leg of his election campaign, Trump using (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s name turned around his fortunes and ultimately won the election,” the former CM told a bemused audience.

Animosity at its worst

In politics, there is difference of opinion, not animosity, they say. Govind Thakur, sitting BJP MLA from Manali assembly segment, doesn’t know the limits however. When senior Congress leader Dharamveer Dhami raised question over Thakur’s performance in the last 10 years, Thakur, instead of replying with decency, used choicest of abuses. “Dhami, you are a mean person. I’ll trample you,” he screamed into a TV news camera. Thakur then went on to rake up the Congress leader’s strained relationship with some of his family members. After his remarks drew flak, he again appeared on camera to apologise.

(Contributed by Nikhil Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sarbmeet Singh, Aneesha Sareen Kumar, Rajesh Moudgil, Naresh K Thakur and Gaurav Bisht)

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 12:15 IST