Regional Buzz: From Sukhpal Khaira’s tunnel vision to Sunil Jakhar’s bagri dialect
Keeping tabs on power politics inn Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir:Updated: Mar 05, 2018 13:54 IST
From the Capt Amarinder government’s holiday blues to Haryana DGP Bajleet Singh Sandhu’s Holi bash, we take a look at all that is buzzing in the region:
Khaira’s tunnel vision
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira has been slamming the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab on just about everything. Ask him if the same rules apply to his party’s government in Delhi. And he starts ducking. When Khaira, leader of opposition in Punjab assembly, at a recent press conference asked Amarinder to disband his army of advisers and officers on special duty, a scribe wanted to know the AAP leader if he would offer the same advice to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal but he evaded the query. On being pressed for a reply, Khaira said he was not aware of the government set-up there. Last week, he criticised Amarinder for appointing a retired Rajasthan cadre IAS officer, who originally belongs to Punjab, as chairman of Punjab School Education Board. By the way, his party boss also had Dhir Jhingran, an ex-bureaucrat from Assam, as member of the State Advisory Council for Education in Delhi until recently. Jhingran quit the panel after the chief secretary ‘assault’ case last month to express solidarity with the officer.
Ducking queries, Badal style
SAD leader and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is a master of the art of deflecting tricky questions. During his visit to Mahant Gurbanta Das School For Deaf and Dumb in Bathinda on Tuesday, Badal was asked about the resentment expressed by the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral against the BJP not giving due importance to its partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). “Meri tan changi ijjat karde ne oh [They (BJP) respect me a lot],” he said, ducking a direct answer. However, he added that such things keep going in an alliance. No wonder the Akali-BJP alliance has been strong despite occasional hiccups!
Jakhar’s bagri dialect
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar was at his idiomatic best was at the meeting held by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh with MPs and MLAs last week to know their demands ahead of the state budget. Pressing for tough stand against the Akalis who ran the government for 10 years, Jakhar said a snake can stop dang marna (biting) but not funkarana (hissing). The comment was made in chaste bagri dialect of Abohar, the area from which Jakhar comes. Rajya Sabha MPs Shamsher Singh Dullo and Partap Singh Bajwa were more direct. Dullo said the mafia of Akali-BJP rule was still active. Bajwa also asked the government to do all it can to mop up funds for development.
Capt govt’s holiday blues
After promising change and better governance, the Congress government cut the number of holidays to ensure more working days. But it seems to have done a U-turn on the principle behind the move. It has announced several half-day holidays since, causing inconvenience to people travelling to government offices from far-off areas for official work. On Tuesday, the government declared second half as holiday in its offices and educational institutions as a mark of respect to a former minister who passed away. In Muktsar, an elderly person was left waiting at the window by an official who was busy winding up for the day in a hurry after the half-day announcement. When he griped about the inconvenience, the official said: “Baba ji ki kriye pehla ek ghanta khrab hogya late pta lgya half day da (What can I do? My one hour has already been wasted as I came to know about the half day late). The more things change the more they stay the same!
Grewal’s witty side
Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, political adviser to former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, showed his witty side during a press conference in Ludhiana after the municipal corporation elections. Grewal along with other SAD and BJP leaders complained about alleged use of hooliganism and arm-twisting to win the elections. When asked about the claims of district administration and police that the elections are free and fair elections, the Akali leader said that the deputy commissioner and commissioner of police are either sleeping or they have weak eyesight. “I will gift glasses to them so that they see the hooliganism of Congress leaders,” he said in a lighter vein.
Haryana Cong is always upbeat
The Congress’ political footprint is shrinking, but its slipping fortunes haven’t dented the enthusiasm of party leaders in Haryana. When Congress president Rahul Gandhi last week constituted half-a-dozen jumbo committees for the upcoming plenary session to be held in Delhi from March 16, former chief minister Bhupinder Hooda’s supporters, who keep griping about their leader not getting his due importance, were jubilant. He has been made chairman of the sub-group on agriculture, employment and poverty alleviation with Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh, Jairam Ramesh, PL Punia and Randeep Surjewala among its members. Adampur MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi included in the organising committee as a special invitee was thrilled and thanked Rahul for “putting faith in me”. Another special invitee, former minister Ajay Yadav, let everyone know that he is also on the panel. With the state elections due next year, these leaders have been jostling for space and prominence to keep up the morale of their supporters.
DGP Sandhu’s Holi bash
Haryana DGP Baljeet Singh Sandhu seems to have stolen a march over his IAS colleagues by organising a ‘Holi Milan’ celebration at his residence on Friday. Traditionally, Holi celebrations for Haryana IAS and IPS officers are organised by the chief secretary. However, since chief secretary DS Dhesi did not organise a Holi bash this year, an affable Sandhu scored by inviting IAS and IPS officers to his residence for celebrating the festival of colors.
Batra likes to be in news
One may learn from Congress leader Subhash Batra how to be in news. The former minister recently met rebel BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini at his residence in Rohtak. Batra then told reporters that politics was a game of possibilities, stirring up rumours that Saini may be exploring options about joining the Congress. The former minister two days later again released a statement, putting to rest his own created rumours, maintaining that his meeting with Saini was just a courtesy call on Holi and had no political meaning.
(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sachin Sharma, Sarbmeet Singh, Tarsem Singh Deogan, Hitender Rao and Hardik Anand)