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Regional buzz: From CM Amarinder’s love for ‘tittars’ to FB wars

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

punjab Updated: Apr 17, 2017 11:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Capt Amarinder,Punjab CM,Partridges
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh is fond of partridges (also known as tittar), a game bird commonly found in rural areas.(Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu)

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

Amarinder’s love for ‘tittars’

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh is fond of partridges (also known as tittar), a game bird commonly found in rural areas. Punjabis like partridges (commonly called tittar) meat very much and it is even part of regular diet of some high-ups in the state. But the CM, who has a few of them at Moti Bagh Palace in Patiala, has recorded their chirp, making it his mobile ringtone. The pleasant chirruping sound on the chief minister’s phone attracts everyone’s attention.

FB war: Capt, army officer’s wife in AAP lock horns

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Chander Suta Dogra had a no-holds-barred exchange of fire on Facebook on Saturday over the CM accusing Canadian defence minister Harjit Singh Sajjan of being a “Khalistani sympathiser”. Amarinder hit back at the journalist-turned-politician by saying, “Being in AAP, your comment is understandable. But as an army wife, do you really subscribe to one who professes Khalistan?” Dogra reacted by saying, “your ill-advised stand has hurt Punjab and Punjabis and what proof do you have of Sajjan being a Khalistani? If you have, please forward it to the Government of India”. Amarinder then targeted Dogra’s journalistic credentials provoking her to sign off rather than “waste time with a paid PR man”. Known for being chivalrous with women, the CM ended it with, “it’s like banging one’s head against a wall”. The exchange has left many in government and media flummoxed, to say the least!

Gate-crashing, Sodhi style

Some people do not need official positions or wait for invites. So when Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh embarked on an ‘Invest Punjab’ trip to Mumbai, his confidant, MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi, tagged along. And it was not only for giving company to the CM. Sodhi was attending official meetings with industry honchos and figured in pictures sent by the CM’s office to the media. But the retinue of ‘darbaris’ did not go down well with some top industrialists who wanted to have a one-to-one meeting with the CM. Before him, former deputy CM Sukhbir Badal’s blue-eyed men too used to be a part of the ‘woo industry’ entourage. After all, Punjabis believe in living life, “king-size”.

For art’s sake

In a meeting with Punjab tourism and culture minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, artists from different fields of art and culture converged on Chandigarh on Sunday. Deepak Manmohan Singh, a former head of World Punjabi Centre, Punjabi University, expressed his grouse that meetings to preserve culture and traditions of Punjab had been going on since the days of chief minister Partap Singh Kairon but nothing tangible has happened. “When the system of meetings started, we used to make lots of preparations reading books and taking notes, but things never went beyond meetings,” he said to guffaws from the minister and the two dozen artists present. Singh, however, added that he has hopes from the present minister who seems serious about doing something.

Team from US, China drafted Punjab’s culture policy!

Retired bureaucrat Dr Karamjit Sngh Sra, who was director, tourism and cultural affairs, shared a gem in the tourism minister’s meeting with artists on the previous SAD-BJP government’s efforts on the culture policy. He told the gathering that a big team was hired from the US, China and Hong Kong to draft the state’s culture policy. “They were given Rs 2.3 crore, but the policy could not be implemented. I know in which almirah of the department the report is kept,” he said, shocking everyone present in meeting hall. His suggestion to the minister was to let the people of Punjab frame the policy this time.

Ludhiana’s studious CP

Ludhiana commissioner of police Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh on Thursday, in a broadcast message on WhatsApp, announced that he has completed his MBA in Human Resource Management from IGNOU in first division. He posted a photograph of the convocation ceremony wherein he is receiving the degree at IGNOU Regional Centre in Khanna. The IPS officer also shared how he did LLB from Panjab University in 2013 with overall distinction in first division, not to forget PhD in police administration from GNDU in 2010.

Tanwar now a hacking victim

Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar is perhaps the latest victim of phone hacking. The Congress leader posted on Twitter last week that he had lodged a complaint with the North Avenue police station in New Delhi. He wrote that he followed instructions of an unknown caller, who claimed to be from his mobile service provider, for upgrading to 4G, but the phone got blocked for two days. When he did the rounds of the service provider, the company officials said they never made any such call. Tanwar, who fears that his phone may have been misused, wanted everyone to know how it got hacked.

Age just a number for Virbhadra

Defying his age, Himachal Pradesh’s octogenarian chief minister Virbhadra Singh recently hit the road for hectic touring of the Shimla Rural assembly segment. The CM and his aides had to trudge at some places. While personal staff was not happy, the CM, who had to walk some distance to reach a senior secondary school at Shakrah, was not complaining. He enjoyed the walk and “felt relaxed” after meeting the schoolchildren. What surprised everyone present was that several of those accompanying him were huffing and puffing.

Bali the headline hunter

Himachal Pradesh transport minister GS Bali always manages to stay in the news. Last year, it was the fuss he created over the unemployment allowance issue before it was finally approved by the government. Then, he declared his assets last month, asking other political leaders to do so. The minister made headlines again by insisting that the regularisation period of contractual employees be reduced from five years to three years. Before he could make any further noise, chief minister Virbhadra Singh made the announcement at the state-level Himachal day function. Now, Bali’s latest salvo is the demand that everyone give up red beacon. While he may have got the inspiration from Punjab where the Congress government has banned use of red beacons to eliminate VIP culture, it is a tad late in the day. The state polls are due in a few months’ time.

Astro advice: Virbhadra skips ED date

The notices issued by the Enforcement Directorate to chief minister Virbhadra Singh summoning him for questioning in a money laundering case created much anxiety in political circles in Himachal Pradesh, but the CM did not appear before the agency. If his aides are to be believed, he preferred to consult astrologers and oracles to find an “escape route”. Going by astrological advice, he skipped the ED date and will now appear before the agency on April 20. All eyes will be on what happens next.

Chandresh Kumari makes a surprise appearance

Former Union minister Chandresh Kumari had stayed away from the state politics for quite some time. After a gap of eight years, the ‘maharani’ of erstwhile princely state of Kangra made a surprise appearance at a political rally held by transport minister GS Bali recently. Unlike many other leaders who discussed the changing political landscape in the hill state, she expressed anguish over being “sidelined” in the state. “Regrettably, I have been continuously sidelined in the state,” she told the audience, while covertly targeting chief minister Virbhadra Singh and urban development minister Sudhir Sharma who succeeded her in Dharamshala assembly constituency.

(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Aneesha Sareen Kumar, Rajesh Moudgil, Gaurav Bisht, Naresh K Thakur)

First Published: Apr 17, 2017 11:11 IST