Regional buzz: Of the time when Sidhu was taken aback, Khattar’s new found love, and more
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Regional buzz: Of the time when Sidhu was taken aback, Khattar’s new found love, and more

Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K.

punjab Updated: Jul 23, 2018 13:51 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Navjot Singh Sidhu,Regional buzz,SAD-BJP combine
Illustration:Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT

When Sidhu was taken aback

Whenever Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu tries to corner the SAD-BJP combine for its “non-performance” and “wrongdoings” during the 10-year rule, he has to face a counter question. The reason: he was a part of the previous regime for many years being a BJP MP. Addressing a press conference along with PWD minister Vijay Inder Singla at Amritsar last week, Sidhu had a tough time. Asked by a scribe to comment on BJP state chief and Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik’s charge that the Centre has released its share of grant for the Patti-Makhu rail line project but the state government is not doing anything, Sidhu responded by asking whose government was it during the last 10 years. The journalist replied “yours”. Though somewhat taken aback, Sidhu managed to wriggle out by diverting the issue towards the BJP-led central government there were smiles on faces of Singla and Amritsar MP Gurjit Singh Aujla.

Quickfire Mann’s dig at Modi govt

Bhagwant Mann

Unlike others, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann doesn’t feel constrained by time. In the four-and-a-half minutes he got during a discussion on the no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, the stand-up comedian-turned-politician, known for his way with words, delivered a speech laced with sarcasm. Donning a yellow turban, Mann took digs at the central government for failing to fulfil its promises of curbing corruption, digitalising India, creating jobs, checking bank frauds and bringing back black money in 100 days, besides the crisis created for the AAP government in Delhi. “Modi-ji agle 6-7 mahine mein aap jaane wale hain, ab jaate jaate hi bata dein ache din kab aane wale hain (Modi ji, you are going to go in next 6-7 months, but you can when will we be able to see better days),” said the Sangrur MP in his trademark flat tone to wind up the pithy speech that had several fellow members burst out laughing. And, he didn’t plead for extra time.

DGP Arora’s statement surprises many

Punjab DGP Suresh Arora’s statement that he will take legal action against those maligning his image has come as a surprise for many in the police force. Arora, who generally keeps the media at bay, not only issued a statement through the public relations department but also gave interviews to select electronic media houses on his name being “unnecessarily” drawn in a drug case. His name was dragged by DG, Powercom, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya who, as head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by Punjab and Haryana High Court to investigate former Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh’s role in a drug case, had alleged that he was also investigating Arora’s role in the case. With the case coming up in the high court on July 25, the DGP’s statement is a clear sign that the state government is siding with him.

Drug STF takes to FB to highlight its feats

There have been questions over the success of the special task force (STF) in catching the ‘big fish’ involved in drug trade, but it has not left any stone unturned in blowing its own trumpet. Besides interacting with Facebook users by shooting special videos, STF officials are sharing on social media sites all ‘media coverage’ whenever they catch any smuggler. However, STF head and ADGP Harpreet Sidhu is missing from this drive. All interactions are done by IGPs posted in the wing.

Khattar’s new-found media love

Manohar Lal Khattar

Until recently, the RSS pracharak-turned-chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had been maintaining a safe distance from a majority of Chandigarh-based reporters covering Haryana. Now the first-time MLA has started building bridges with the sulking scribes. Almost every week, Khattar meets a group of four to five reporters over breakfast. The meal from the bachelor CM’s kitchen remains modest – a glass of juice, a few pieces of fruits followed by parantha with curd. The reason behind this sudden warmth towards the journos is the anxiety of the BJP about its perception among the people. The buzz is that the man behind convincing Khattar to break bread with reporters is his new and shrewd media adviser Rajiv Jain. The breakfast is unlikely to align the hacks trained to think critically. But better late than never!

Vij’s barb at Rahul

Haryana health minister Anil Vij was quick to quip on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament on Friday. “Congress only believes in nautanki (drama). The way Rahul Gandhi embraced Modi appeared as if he was saying ‘Modi Sharanam Gachchami’,” Vij said with a subtle pun, drawing from Buddhist mantra “Buddham Sharanam Gachchami”, which is chanted when a disciple surrenders to Buddha, the enlightened one. The minister’s witty response earned him several ‘likes’ on social media.

Jai Ram is a theatre fan

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s love for art and culture was once again visible at the Gaiety theatre in Shimla the other day. He reminded the audience about his theatre background and expressed his “hidden desire” to perform at the famous theatre located on the ridge. Though Jai Ram did not get a chance to perform there, he along with his wife Sadhna Thakur, a doctor by profession, performed ‘Naati’. The CM later hit out at detractors who have been criticising him for his love for the folk dance form. “Those dancing to the tunes of DJs have scant regard for Himachali culture,” he said.

Himachal CM picks his man

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s decision to recall 1989-batch IPS Sanjay Kundu from the central deputation prematurely caused anxiety amongst top cops and bureaucrats in the state last week. Kundu flew back to the state capital from Delhi in the state chopper along with the chief minister. He did not get nay posting for two days, but his presence beside the CM set off a blizzard of speculations. He has been posted as additional principal secretary to chief minister.

(Contributed by Surjit Singh, Navneet Sharma, Ravinder Vasudeva, Pawan Sharma, Rajesh Moudgil, Gaurav Bisht)

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 13:49 IST