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Regional buzz: From Capt Amarinder’s House of Cards to dissenters being a worry for Haryana BJP govt

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

punjab Updated: Nov 13, 2017 13:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Capt Amarinder,House of Cards,dissenters
The first-ever BJP government in Haryana is not just fighting the opposition but also dissenters within.(Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT)

Dissenters, a worry for Haryana govt

The first-ever BJP government in Haryana is not just fighting the opposition but also dissenters within. Recently, Union minister of state Rao Inderjit Singh attacked the state government over non-implementation of several projects in Ahirwal region. Before him, BJP MLA Prem Lata had kicked up a row saying that corruption under the BJP at a micro-level was continuing unabated. Both had shifted to the BJP from the Congress. For the pracharak-turned-chief minister ML Khattar, the list of dissenters is expanding. Only 16 party MLAs were causing him trouble earlier. Some party MPs and Union ministers have now also hopped on the detractors’ bandwagon ahead of the 2019 polls.

CM’s House of Cards

For Punjab’s political thrillers, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s official residence is the new House of Cards. When leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira claimed at a press conference last week that Capt is not in favour of political vendetta against him -- a Fazilka court has issued summons to him is in a drug case -- he cited sources in the CM’s team. He also invited 40 Congress MLAs demanding probe against former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia to join the AAP for the common cause. But only Akalis and no one from the Congress reacted to the poke. Khaira can give even scribes a run for money when it comes to sources but beating the ‘maharaja’ in palace intrigues is a different feat.

Khaira knows how to use social media

Punjab politicians are becoming increasing media savvy but few can match Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira. The leader of opposition in Punjab assembly is not just glib and sharp. He uses social media effectively. When he got partial relief from the Punjab and Haryana high court in a drug smuggling case last week, Khaira, who probably holds more media briefings than rest of his party colleagues put together, quickly went live on Facebook to hit out at his detractors, both within and outside the party. On demand of some AAP MLAs and other leaders for his resignation, he did a quick analysis of social media posts to declare that the party supporters had rejected it. A few of them retracted their statements after facing flak on social media.

SAD media managers strike cautionary note

The media managers of the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are treading cautiously these days. Wary of Congress ministers calling journalists around the same time they fix for their press conference, they started holding their press briefings at a short notice. The idea was to keep the ministers guessing, but journalists on SAD beat got little time to respond to their last-minute invites. No wonder the Akalis’ media briefings were thinly attended.

Quraishi takes a dig at Khattar govt over water conservation

Remarks of the former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi at the national seminar on enhancing efficacy of usage of water organised recently by the Haryana government left many officials red-faced. A retired IAS officer from Haryana cadre, Quraishi, who had served as principal secretary, irrigation, in the state, was candid enough to say that while government delegations made several foreign trips to learn about various issues including water conservation, there was hardly any result to be seen. The seminar attended by several state officials, including chief secretary DS Dhesi, principal secretary to chief minister Rajesh Khullar was also addressed by Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, an authority on the subject.

Bindal, the ayurveda aficionado

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh crisscrossed the state to bolster his party’s prospects in the state election. Post-poll, the octogenarian leader, who called it his last battle, is busy analysing the fate of the party candidates. He has planned a visit to Kerala to rejuvenate himself with special ayurvedic treatment. Another ayurveda aficionado is three-time MLA and former health minister Dr Rajiv Bindal. The BJP leader was an ayurveda practitioner before he jumped into electoral politics 23 years ago. Bindal, who contested the election from Nahan, still prescribes ayurvedic treatment to his supporters whenever they complain of fatigue and tiredness.

(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Rajesh Moudgil, Hardik Anand, Gaurav Bisht)

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 13:36 IST