Regional buzz: From media-shy Punjab ministers, lone ranger Bajwa to Dhankar’s cow love
Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, HP, Haryana, J&Kpunjab Updated: Nov 06, 2017 11:23 IST
While the previous Akali Dal-BJP government had slipped more than once in government advertisements outsourced to PR firms, the Captain Amarinder Singh government has been goofing up on press statements coming from the chief minister’s office “based on facts and figures”. In past three weeks, first the department of public relations had to withdraw CM’s statement claiming Punjab’s tariff rate was lowest among neighbouring states and last week the CM countered former CM Parkash Singh Badal’s charge on law and order situation through 0.9% dip in crime! But the Opposition was too busy settling scores to take notice!
For a party that gave the country the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the refusal of Congress government’s ministers and officers to share information with the media is ironical. Other than local government minister Navjot Singh Sidhu who holds press conferences and gives his version when asked, most ministers in the Congress government are happy dishing out press statements and not facing the media. Some have even briefed bureaucrats not to give any information and themselves too only entertain beat reporters. For the rest, you have the RTI Act!
Bajwa a lone ranger
Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa took everyone by surprise when he expressed displeasure with the Amarinder Singh government last week for not acting against the “corrupt” ministers of the previous Akali-BJP government. “I will keep raising the voice of people,” he said. Though there have been murmurs of discontent against the government’s style of functioning, Bajwa is not getting any support from his party colleagues. None of them has backed him for being “people’s voice”.
It’s a name game
His may be a famous surname, but not everyone seems impressed. Sharing the stage with finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal and other dignitaries at a job fair for women in Ludhiana, Congress MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu refused to call the minister by his last name. “I will not address him as Manpreet Badal as ‘Badal’ because the Badals had looted the state for years,” he alleged. Ashu, carrying on in a lighter vein, said that when he got the phone call for the function, he was told that ‘Badal saab’ is also coming. “I panicked and confused him with (former CM) Prakash Singh Badal,” he said to guffaws from the crowd.
Haryana Cong women wing looking for fresh faces
The women wing of Haryana Congress is on the lookout for new faces. Though the party has decided to retain Sumitra Chauhan as its chief, headhunting is underway for other posts. The party circles are abuzz with the names of likely choices ever since Chauhan along with All India Mahila Congress general secretary in-charge of Haryana Neetu Verma interviewed some aspirants last week. Party insiders say it is the first time that interviews are being conducted, unlike in the past appointees were handpicked by the high command.
Dhankar’s cow love
For Haryana agriculture minister OP Dhankar, cows are celebrities. At the state cattle fair held in Jhajjar last week, he said that cows walking on the ramp were as big as Katrina Kaif and Mallika Sherawat in celebrity appeal. An enthusiastic Dhankar got so carried away at the event that in his speech, he started singing a Haryanvi song in praising of those who had come to watch the event.
Free publicity for rival party
As the poll campaign in Himachal Pradesh is at its peak, the Congress hit out at the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre over price rise. Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and AICC spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi had placed pulses and an LPG cylinder on the dais while slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to check inflation. Surprisingly, the cylinder bore the stamp of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana under which free LPG connections were given to women belong to families that fall below the poverty line. Now that’s free publicity for the rival party.
(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Harsimran Singh Batra, Rajesh Moudgil, Hardik Anand and Gaurav Bisht)