Regional buzz: Badals’ barbs at Sidhu and Haryana Congress’ fund kitty
Though fund shortage isn’t something the Haryana Congress unit is facing for the first time, one reason could be the differences between party president Ashok Tanwar and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Most MLAs belong to the Hooda camp.punjab Updated: Jan 29, 2018 13:17 IST
Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir:
Haryana Cong’s fund kitty empty
Haryana Congress is currently abuzz with talk of cash crunch. While the state leadership has repeatedly asked all the MLAs and MPs, both former and present, to contribute one month’s salary or pension towards party fund, the result has been a naught. Though fund shortage isn’t something the state unit is facing for the first time, one reason could be the differences between party president Ashok Tanwar and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Most MLAs belong to the Hooda camp. “The party had about Rs 7 crore during the Congress rule under the leadership of Hooda, till 2014. Where has it gone, we would like to know first?’’ one of them said in response to a query, leaving the scribes in splits.
Badals’ barbs at Sidhu
Punjab local government minister Navjot Sidhu’s boycott of the mayoral election in Amritsar not only indicated he was feeling marginalised but also gave an opportunity to his political opponents to target him. Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who visited the Golden Temple on Saturday, said Sidhu cannot be loyal to any party. “He is now gearing up to join the Aam Aadmi Party,” she said of the cricketer-turned-politician who was in the BJP earlier and switched sides to the Congress just days before the state elections. However, the response of her husband, SAD president Sukhbir Badal, who has been competing with Sidhu in name-calling, was predictable. “O Sidhu ta mental aa mai us bare hun ki kahan (Sidhu is insane, what can I say about him),” he said.
A hurried job and a quick correction
After the Punjab police killed dreaded gangster Harjinder Singh Bhullar alias Vicky Gounder and his two aides in an encounter, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh was among the first to laud the state cops on their success. “Congratulations to Punjab Police for killing most wanted gangster Vicky Gounder and his aide Prema Lahoria. Excellent work by DGP Suresh Arora and OCCU (the Organised Crime Control Unit), including AIG Gurmeet Singh and Inspector Vikram Brar. Proud of you boys,” he posted in a congratulatory tweet. However, it was removed quickly due to an oversight. A tweaked tweet was posted within minutes, adding director general (intelligence) Dinkar Gupta’s name. Gupta, who addressed a joint press conference with director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora on Saturday on the encounter, was among those given credit by the latter. “It was an intelligence-led operation. DG (intelligence) was the overall in-charge,” said the DGP before naming other police officials who carried out the successful operation.
SAD readies new force against Amarinder govt
When not in power Shiromani Akali Dal likes to rake up religion. What’s new this time is that they are planning to set up a volunteers’ force and have named it ‘marjivrrey’ (ready for sacrifice). Party MP from Anandpur Sahib Prem Singh Chandumajra, while opposing government move to transfer power subsidy directly into farmers account, had last week said the party would name 11-member volunteer force from each village that would mobilise people against government’s move. When a journalist asked what it will be called, a SAD leader accompanying Chandumajra said: “Marjivrrey”.
Khandelwal’s VRS plea accepted
After a gap of about two months, the Haryana government has accepted the request of voluntary retirement from service (VRS) of 1985-batch IAS officer KK Khandelwal. The officer who was picked to head the Gurgaon bench of Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority (HRERA) had sought premature retirement from the service in November to join the regulatory body. Though there is a three-month notice period required to be served for voluntary retirement, the state government has the discretion to relieve an official early. The delay in acceptance of his premature retirement request was triggering speculations on whether his VRS request would be accepted or not. Khandelwal would now relinquish charge on February 4.
Insensitive netas and cops
The recent incidents of rapes in Haryana brought some weird and insensitive reactions out of state’s police and politicians. While an ADGP-rank police officer was caught on camera saying ‘rapes have always been part of our society’, BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini blamed social activism and increasing population for the increasing incidents of rapes. Saini, who is not new to controversies, said incidents of rapes do not happen with the consent of government and have been going on from ages. CM Manohar Lal Khattar, on the other hand, advised the media not to sensationalise rape incidents.
An OSD who doubles as crowd-puller
He is an officer on special duty (OSD) to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, but Amarendra Singh’s duty seems to have been reduced to arranging crowd at his programmes. Recently, a video of Singh, who is posted in the chief minister’s Karnal assembly constituency, went viral on social media. The video showed him holding a meeting of village panchayats and asking the sarpanches one by one to bring people to the CM’s programme for the inauguration of a cooperative sugar mill. Not just that, he noted down the number of people each village head promised to bring to the event, asking them to come in tractor-trolley so that it looks like a famers’ rally.
Nadda likes to be at centrestage
Union health minister Jagat Parkash Nadda does not miss any opportunity to hog the limelight. He may have lost to his friend Jai Ram Thakur in the chief ministerial race in Himachal Pradesh but Nadda is still trying to call the shots. Two days ago, the minister hosted a luncheon meeting at his official residence for all HP-cadre officers currently posted in Delhi. Thakur also attended the meeting in which Nadda stressed the need for good coordination between officers working in the state and the central governments. He praised the officers for their efficient and hoped that they would continue to serve the state as well as the centre in the same way.
After lying low, Virbhadra Singh is back in action
After lying low for a while following the Congress’ defeat in the state elections, former chief minister
Virbhadra Singh is back in action. The octogenarian leader first addressed a public meeting in his Arki assembly constituency and then attended the ‘At Home’ function held by Himachal Pradesh governor Acharya Devvrat on the occasion of Republic Day. He not only exchanged pleasantries with chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, but also inquired about his government’s functioning.
The goddess worshipper
The ministers in the Jai Ram Thakur-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government have stuck to convention in displaying photographs of the President and the Prime Minister in their offices. But industries minister Bikram Singh Thakur is an exception. He has set up a small ‘place of worship’ in a corner with multiple portraits of Goddess Durga. The minister has also put up a photograph of BJP national president Amit Shah on the wall.
(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Surjit Singh, Hitender Rao, Rajesh Moudgil, Neeraj Mohan, Hardik Anand, Gaurav Bisht)