Regional buzz: Khattar’s Dubai trip, Mohindra vs Khaira, and Mr punctual CM
What is going on in the power circles in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.punjab Updated: Dec 04, 2017 12:52 IST
Khattar to woo investors in Dubai
After the United States and China, Haryana chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar has set his eyes on the Emirates for bringing investment. Khattar is leading a high powered delegation of officials to Dubai in early December to attract foreign investment. While Khattar’s plans to bring groups like Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda to Haryana have not materialized despite signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), another project with China Fortune Land Development Company is too hanging fire. It remains to be seen how well the Sheikhs respond to the state government in terms of investment keeping in view it’s not so impressive track record.
Mohindra takes on Khaira
A courteous and soft-spoken politician, parliamentary affairs minister Brahm Mohindra is not someone you would expect to take on abrasive and belligerent leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira. But he did quite effectively during the three-day winter session of the state assembly last week, thanks to his sharp sense of timing. When the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader’s name was called out to move his calling attention notice on road accidents, he was not present and the speaker proceeded to next item on the House agenda. When Khaira walked in immediately thereafter and informed the speaker that he had just stepped out for a minute, Mohindra called it “height of irresponsibility”. Earlier, the leader of opposition while moving the calling attention notice on disrespect shown to Punjabi language on signboards installed on some national highways in the state read out the contents in English. Mohindra was quick to spot the irony and take a swipe at Khaira who was left speechless for once.
Dera vote row: Longowal, Jathedar have different takes
Since he assumed charge as president of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Gobind Singh Longowal is facing opposition on the issue of seeking support of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda during the Punjab assembly polls. Even as he had undergone ‘tankhah’ (religious punishment) at the Akal Takht for seeking votes in violation of its decree, he is repeatedly saying that he never visited dera for votes. The decree asked the Sikhs to boycott Sirsa dera. On the other hand, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh while favouring him said that he (Longowal) committed mistake of seeking votes, but then apologised and served the punishment. So, it is not clear who is right: Jathedar or SGPC chief?
Chandumajra Jr: Pay homage to those who died of dengue
In competitive politics, netas forget legislative prudence sometimes. On the opening day of the state assembly last week, Punjab MLAs paid tributes to prominent personalities who passed away between the end of last session and beginning of the winter session. First-time Akali MLA Harinder Singh Chandumajra demanded that the House pay homage to those who died due to dengue in the state. The speaker simply ignored his demand, asking the MLA to sit down. “What a demand?” a scribe in the press gallery murmured.
Mr Punctual: Punjab CM
Not a regular in the state assembly as an opposition MLA and later the Lok Sabha as MP from Amritsar, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has considerably improved his track record this time. He not only attended the winter session of the state assembly on all three days, but also was among the first ones to enter the House with four to five ministers and legislators in tow. The CM set an example for his party colleagues with his timekeeping and came 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start of the House proceedings. As other Congress MLAs entered the House, most of them went to his seat to greet him or chat with him on all three days.
When Chautala got carried away
Leader of opposition in Haryana assembly Abhay Chautala recently got so carried away with the audience’s applause at Rohtak’s Jat rally that he doubled the donation amount to the Jat Seva Sangh that is building an educational institute for the Jat community. The INLD leader was requested to make a donation of Rs 50 lakh by Jat leaders. Abhay got a rousing response from public when he was about to announce his share and he doubled it to Rs 1 crore. Union steel minister Birender Singh, who came next, said he did not have Rs 1 crore to donate but will give steel of that much amount. Many perceived his donation announcement as “scandalous” and a conflict of interest since he holds steel portfolio in the Union cabinet.
Gita Jayanti a boost for women empowerment
The two-week extravaganza of International Gita Jayanti Mahotsav (IGJM) organised at Kurukshetra brought women empowerment under the spotlight. The top dignitaries tried to teach the importance of independence of daughters to the people of Haryana, which is infamous for the skewed sex ratio. During their visits to Kurukshetra, both President Ram Nath Kovind and the newly crowned Miss World Manushi Chhillar advised the daughters of Haryana to shun “fear” and start chasing their dreams. Even in his 30 minutes speech on the inauguration of the IGJM, the President focused on the daughters of Haryana and he criticised the old ‘evil of veil’ (Parda Pratha) in the state. Later, on the concluding day, Miss World Manushi said all daughters of Haryana should dream big and work hard to succeed without any fear. “Sabhi Haryana Ki ladkiya ek jaisi hai, or appko bina dar ke apne sapne pure karne chahiye”, she appealed.The message is loud and clear, but will it have the desired impact--the fingers are crossed.
All eyes on counting day in Himachal
Himachal leaders are waiting for December 18 with a bated breath. As there is still a fortnight to go for the counting of votes several of them, including chief minister Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh and son Vikramaditya Singh, are holidaying. The CM’s family is in Kerala. But a few others are doing the rounds of astrologers to know their fate. “I have already visited five astrologers ever since the polling ended on November 9. All of them have predicted my victory,” said a candidate who fought the election on the Congress ticket.
(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Surjit Singh, Hitender Rao, Hardik Anand, Gaurav Bisht)