Regional Buzz | Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal came up with an interesting solution to help potato growers in the state. As potato farmers are staring at heavy losses due to drop in demand and prices, the state government held a high-powered meeting to help them deal with the slump.punjab Updated: Feb 27, 2017 12:06 IST
Food for thought
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal came up with an interesting solution to help potato growers in the state. As potato farmers are staring at heavy losses due to drop in demand and prices, the state government held a high-powered meeting to help them deal with the slump.
The CM, who chaired the meeting, suggested that inmates in all the state jails should be fed potatoes. Another idea was to serve potatoes to schoolchildren, under the government-run midday meal programme, to add to their calorie intake. The state authorities discussed the issue after leaders of farmers’ unions had sought their help.
After the state assembly polls, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife, Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, made their first visit to Amritsar on Saturday and attended the monthly ‘bhog’ ceremony of ‘akhand path’ at the Golden Temple.
Unlike their previous trips, their outing remained low profile this time. Whenever the deputy CM was in the holy city earlier, the administrative top brass of the district used to be in attendance besides the entire local Akali leadership. However, neither any senior official nor any prominent local leader of the Shiromani Akali Dal accompanied the couple this time. The duo also showed less interest in talking to reporters.
In the high-stakes poll battle for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), in its manifesto released last week, went overboard in making promises. The promises ranged from more schools and dispensaries to free education to more Sikh children.
The party also listed promises it made and fulfilled. But one section titled ‘Jo nahee kaha si, oho vee kita (What was not promised, but still accomplished)’ caught everyone’s attention. It included rescue operations carried out after Nepal earthquake and floods in Kashmir, and help given to farmers of Pehowa in Haryana to get their lands back from the state government.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s supporters in his assembly constituency of Karnal were upset over the indifference of district authorities to their “genuine” demands. But they have now found a way to get themselves heard.
The formula, according to a local leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is to invite the CM to their residence. “Once officials of the district administration find out about the CM’s visit, they take their demands seriously and take no time in completing all pending works,” he said. The roads get repaired and painted, potholes are filled up and other issues taken care of.
Chinks in Chautala clan?
The much-hyped ‘Jal Yudh’ (war for water) of the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, which ended with the arrest of its leaders, including Abhay Chautala, on Thursday was seen as the launching pad of Abhay’s son Arjun Chautala into politics.
It was the first state-level programme in which Arjun had actively participated and went to jail along with other senior leaders of the party. However, the absence of family members of Abhay’s elder brother Ajay Chautala, who is in jail in teachers’ recruitment case, was the talking point throughout the day-long protest.
Neither Ajay’s MLA wife Naina Chautala, nor their two sons, Hisar MP Dushyant and Digvijay, were seen at the rally. Dushyant told reporters on Sunday that he and his brother were abroad as per a pre-decided programme.
Preparing for poetic politics
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh will present the general budget for financial year 2017-18 on March 10. The CM holds the finance portfolio and his budget speech lasted two hours last year. But it may be even longer this time.
Officers of the finance department are making extra efforts to create a record of sorts in the state assembly, trying to incorporate just about everything.
A special officer has been deputed to incorporate couplets and quotations. The officer has sent a message on WhatsApp to his friends, asking them to send best of Urdu couplets that can be used to hit out at the opposition.
AAP’s hilly dreams
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lacks an organisational setup in Himachal Pradesh, but its supporters showed a lot of enthusiasm during the assembly elections in neighbouring Punjab.
A number of its supporters had travelled to Punjab and spent there a month, canvassing for the party candidates. On their return, they are not only eagerly awaiting the poll results, but also visiting different villages and looking for prospective candidates, hoping that the party may enter the fray in the hill state, where the elections are due later this year.
(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Surjit Singh, Rajesh Moudgil, Neeraj Mohan and Gaurav Bisht)