Regional buzz: Busy man Surjewala, Dharamsot’s timing trouble and Suresh Kumar’s ‘secret’ meeting

From Sadhu Singh Dharamsot’s timing trouble to Punjab Congress leaders pulling a fast one, here is a round up of all that made news in the region:

punjab Updated: Apr 16, 2018 12:38 IST
Team HT
Team HT
Hindustan Times
Surjewala,Dharamsot,Suresh Kumar
Randeep Surjewala has held 45 political programmes on state-centric issues such as women empowerment, unemployment and farmers’ plight in the past three months, focusing on eight northern and southern districts(Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT)

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

Surjewala is a busy man

The Haryana Congress is abuzz with talk about the sudden spurt in political meetings held by Kaithal MLA Randeep Surjewala, who is also in-charge, communications wing of All India Congress Committee, in the state. He has held 45 political programmes on state-centric issues such as women empowerment, unemployment and farmers’ plight in the past three months, focusing on eight northern and southern districts. With the state elections due next year, the former minister is working overtime to make his presence felt in the state where bad blood among top leaders is no secret. It’s not that others haven’t taken note. But, they have been too busy sniping at each other.

Dharamsot’s timing trouble

Timekeeping does not seem to be Punjab minister for forests and welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes Sadhu Singh Dharamsot’s strong point. Dharamsot invited reporters for a press conference on Wednesday for an announcement on steps taken by the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government for welfare of SCs and BCs. As most scribes reached his office on the dot, the minister, who was there, first said he would address them jointly with two of his colleagues – technical education minister Charanjit Singh Channi, and minister of state for school and higher education Aruna Chaudhary. He then left his room to have a “quick meeting” with the two ministers, leaving the mediapersons waiting. As his staff and the department officers had no info on how long the meeting would last, journalists started leaving. By the time Dharamsot arrived, several of them were already gone.

Cong leaders pull a fast one

Punjab Congress leaders held a fast at district headquarters on Monday against “dilution” of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Though it was a six-hour fast, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, but some Congress leaders in Muktsar appeared to be in a hurry and left the protest after getting their pictures clicked. Not just that. A few party leaders feigned ignorance about the duration of the fast. “Eh ta kde opposition wele ni baithe hun ta baithna e ki hai (They didn’t sit when they were in opposition, how they will sit on fast now),” remarked a disappointed Congress worker. Just another photo-op, was it?

Suresh Kumar’s ‘secret’ meet with Ludhiana officials

Punjab chief minister’s chief principal secretary Suresh Kumar was in Ludhiana on Thursday for a meeting with officers of police, administration and the municipal corporation about the ongoing projects in the city. Not only was the media barred from the meeting, public relations officials and others were told not to leak anything related to proceedings of the meeting that last about five hours. All that trickled out of the meeting hall was that officials ordered tea at least thrice during the meeting.

A setback for Panchkula MLA

Panchkula MLA and chief whip of the BJP legislature group in the assembly, Gian Chand Gupta, is crestfallen. As the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the assembly, Gupta had opposed granting of chief secretary’s grade to a number of IAS officers citing non approval of the central government. Gupta even sent a report to chief secretary DS Dhesi in this regard. However, all his contentions seem to have been trashed by none other than chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar who recently approved the elevation of 1987-batch IAS officers to the chief secretary’s grade, in the rank of additional chief secretaries.

A joke which many found not funny

Himachal BJP legislator and former minister Ramesh Dhawala, who is known for cracking jokes, tried very hard to show his party as the biggest champion of the Dalit cause the other day. When senior leader Shanta Kumar was leading a fast against the opposition Congress at Dharamshala, Dhawala, who is also BJP’s deputy chief whip in the state assembly, said the Congress claimed to be a supporter of reservation, but it was the saffron party that was in favour of reservation more than them. “You see BJP made party patriarch LK Advani sit at home and made a Scheduled Caste (SC) leader the President of India. Now you understand who favors reservation more,” he said with a chuckle. It wasn’t clear whether he was cracking a joke or making a serious comment. But not many people in his party would have found it funny.

Dehra MLA’s growing closeness to BJP brass

Independent legislator Hoshyar Singh, who sprung a surprise when he defeated BJP heavy Ravinder Singh Ravi from Dehra assembly segment in the 2017 assembly election, is slowly getting close to top BJP leaders in the state. When the party formed its government, he extended unconditional support and expressed willingness to become an “Associate Member”, but faced opposition from leaders of the Dehra block BJP-led by Ravi. However, during the BJP’s protest at Dharamshala, Ravi was absent whereas the businessman-turned-politician was sitting among the BJP MLAs who were present there. Now, the party circles are buzzing with talk that since Shanta, who was leading the protest, dislikes Ravi, Singh found an opportunity to get close to party leadership.

(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Sarbmeet Singh, Tarsem Deogan, Hitender Rao, Rajesh Moudgil, Naresh K Thakur)

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 12:36 IST