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Regional buzz: From Badal Jr’s red diary to Khatak, the bullet ‘rani’

From Sukhbir Badal’s poll khol campaign to Bikram Singh Majithia’s jibe at Mohinder Kaur Josh, a round up of all that has been happening in the region.

punjab Updated: Mar 12, 2018 12:54 IST
Team HT
Team HT
Hindustan Times
Regional buzz,bullet ‘rani’,Sukhbir Badal
Recently, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder spotted illegal sand mining from his official helicopter. (Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT)

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

Hold rally in Muktsar, Warring dares Sukhbir

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal has been crisscrossing Punjab for his ‘pol khol’ campaign against the Congress government in the state. But Congress MLA from Gidderbaha Amrinder Singh Raja Warring has dared him to hold a rally in Muktsar district. Raja Warring blamed his party colleagues’ weakness for the Akali rallies in their constituencies even though the SAD had not done anything substantial there during its rule of 10 years. “If Sukhbir holds a rally here, I will organise a parallel rally to tell people how the Akalis looted them during their regime,” he said. Now that’s Raja Warring’s war cry!

Khatak, the Bullet Rani

Most Haryana MLAs prefer travelling in sports utility vehicles. So it was refreshing to see Congress MLA Shakuntla Khatak and BJP MLA Pawan Saini reach the state assembly in Chandigarh on bikes. Khatak, a woman MLA, drove her Royal Enfield motorbike to the assembly while Saini cycled down to the assembly on Friday.

Congress MLA Shakuntla Khatak and her Bullet. (HT Photo)

Badal Jr’s red diary

Addressing a rally, Akali Dal president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal last week tried an old trick. He flashed a ‘red diary’, declaring that he is noting down names of officers who are trying to suppress the Akali workers. “Sarkara aundia jandia rehndia par afsra nu sahi kam karna chaida (Governments change after five years but officials should do a fair job without any pressure),” said the SAD chief naming a top cop posted at Bathinda whom he accused of registering false cases against the party supporters. In no time, a video clip of his remark went viral on social media. Only time would tell if it works.

Tript is Mr Troubleshooter

Rural development and panchayats minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa is the sub-committee specialist in the Captain Amarinder Singh government in Punjab. Rural indebtedness, sugarcane price fixation, price control for non-MSP crops, mining, housing or education – you name the sub-committee and he is there playing the role of trouble shooter for the government. The sub-committee have been constituted by the chief minister to examine policies and suggested solutions. With Bajwa busy with work related to sub-committees, routine work of his ministry takes a back seat sometimes.

IG Punj’s interesting anecdote

During a state-level conference on role of women in police held on Women’s Day on March 8, Punjab inspector general (personnel and Training) Anita Punj narrated an interesting story to motivate the female cops. She recalled how during her training days, her hands, being small in size fell a little short for the trigger of the gun and while the forefinger touched the trigger. “That time I used to say - wish my hands were a little bigger so the forefinger could reach the trigger comfortably. I never thought at that time that the size of the weapon can also be made small. It all depends on the way you think, always be ambitious and believe that everything is possible,” she said.

Majithia’s jibe at Josh

Former SAD minister Bikram Majithia is known for making vitriolic remarks against opposition leaders, but on Friday his own party leader came in the line of fire. Presumably unhappy with the turnout of workers and local leaders at a party rally in former chief parliamentary secretary Mohinder Kaur Josh’s Sham Churasi constituency, Majithia advised her to change her manners. Handing out a mild rebuke, he said: “Bibi ji apna subhah naram karo (become mild mannered)”. “Eh subhah de bade adab ne (She is very obstinate),” the former minister added, leaving Josh embarrassed. Off the stage, SAD president Sukhbir Badal, too, is said to have chided Josh for failing to rope in prominent party leaders for the event.

Yajna to celebrate Capt b’day

Ludhiana district Congress president Gurpreet Singh and spokesperson of Hindu Takht organised a ‘yajna’ to celebrate chief minister Captain Amaridner Singh birthday at a local Shiva temple here on Sunday. The pooja went on for two hours in the morning before the arrival of the chief minister.

Of Haryana education minister and English Vinglish

The question hour in the Haryana assembly was in progress on March 9. Extra chairs were placed inside speaker’s gallery to accommodate guests---a BJP leader, a London-based Sikh and students from Israel. Education minister Ram Bilas Sharma, who also holds parliamentary affairs portfolio, was in his elements while welcoming the visitors. The setting was perfect to opt for English. But delivering the punch in English became a matter of prestige for BJP veteran Sharma. What inspired (or irritated) Sharma was that Geeta Bhukkal, ex-education minister, took digs at the functioning of the education department in English. Bhukkal, who represents Jhajjar (Scheduled Caste) assembly segment, also took potshots at Sharma. The minister responded at length in flawless English, much to the ‘prestige’ of the Treasury benches. The verbal duel went on. “Geeta je ke liye English me bolna bahoot jaroori hai,” Sharma, who had the last laugh, quipped.

When Ram Bilas was caught unawares

Despite being in power for almost four years now, the BJP ministers in Haryana remain unaware of the state infrastructure and projects. Recently, education minister Ram Bilas Sharma announced that the government will soon set up a film university in state so that talented candidates can hone their skills in acting and directing. The minister was caught unawares by people on social media who pointed out that a government-run film university offering courses in acting, directing, and cinematography already exists in Rohtak from 2011. Earlier, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had embarrassed himself when he announced among students that he was trying to get at least one IIM opened in the state. One of the students attending the programme had pointed out to the CM that an IIM already exists in Rohtak. The CM said he was not aware of it

Bollywood booster for Haryana coffers

Bollywood flicks contributed significantly to Haryana’s revenue in 2016-17. The budget documents for 2018-19 reveal that there was an increase of over 60% in revenue collections due to release of blockbuster movies like Sultan, Airlift, Neerja, MS Dhoni and Rustom. The advent of multiplexes even in smaller towns seems to be a major reason.

Sukhu’s hands are full

Himachal Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has a tough job at hand – keeping the house in order. The Nadaun MLA often draws flak for his organisational decisions with former chief minister Virbhadra Singh taking the lead. Fresh trouble is brewing for the beleaguered state unit chief, as National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, has opened a front against him. The trigger was the expulsion of former NSUI state president Karun Sharma for alleged anti-party activities during the state assembly polls.

The other day, a group of NSUI workers staged a protest against him in Una, seeking reinstatement of Sharma. They also sought Sukhu’s removal from the party president’s post.

(Contributed by Sarbmeet Singh, Aneesha Sareen Kumar, Harpreet Kaur, Mohammad Ghazal, Hitender Rao, Pawan Sharma, Hardik Anand and Naresh K Thakur)

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 12:53 IST