Regional buzz: Lack of coordination among AAP leaders, topology of an apology, and more
Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.punjab Updated: Mar 19, 2018 12:17 IST
When TMC dharna was forcibly lifted
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) surfaced in Punjab in 2016 with former Congress MP Jagmeet Brar as its president. Brar quit TMC two months ago, saying Mamata had lost interest in Punjab. All seemed lost for the party. But it surprised everyone last week when party workers led by its new state president Manjit Singh started an “indefinite” hunger strike near Golden Temple in Amritsar to protest against imposition of the goods and services tax (GST) on langar (free community kitchen) at places of worship, including the Sikh shrine. A signature campaign was also started. On third day, the protest caught attention of Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, who also met the protesters and expressed solidarity with the cause. As soon as he left, the police forcibly lifted the dharna saying they did not have permission. TMC protesters were upset over the police action. No prizes for guessing what the Mamata Banerjee government does in such situations!
Lack of coordination among AAP leaders
When the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government announced the dates for the budget session of the Punjab assembly, leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were upset. They all wanted a longer session. Three party leaders separately demanded that the duration of the session should be increased. Leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the session, which is slated to start on March 20 and will continue till March 28, be extended to the second week of April. Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu wrote a letter to speaker Rana KP Singh urging him to extend the session to ensure at least 15 sittings. AAP co-president and Sunam legislator Aman Arora went a step ahead. He, along with some party MLAs, met the speaker with a request to increase the number of proposed sittings to 20. Obviously, they failed to consult each other. With this kind of coordination, one wonders what they would do if the number of sittings are increased. And this happened before the dramatic developments triggered by their party chief’s controversial apology.
‘Topology of an apology’
Aam Aadmi Party convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s apology to former revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia for making allegations of his involvement in drug trade during the state polls became a talking point. Though many people commented on the development on social media, Punjab IAS officer KBS Sidhu made an interesting observation. “Usually one finds “contempt” treated with “apology”; rare to find an “apology” treated with such “contempt,” he posted on his Facebook page with hashtag #AAPPunjab. In another post, he wrote: “Topology of an apology or AAPology?”
Cops’ worry over skype meetings
It’s in sync with the Punjab Police’s move to use technology for better results. But Faridkot superintendent of police (headquarters) Deepak Pareek’s move to hold skype meetings has got some of his juniors worried. Last week, three officers, who compared notes on this issue, were unanimous that things are going to be tough because it will give their exact location. “Hun tan farlo vi nahi waj sakdi bahut aukha hoya paya,” one of them remarked.
South domination in Haryana bureaucracy
Bureaucrats coming from across the southern states and serving in Haryana are playing a dominant role in the present BJP regime. Some of the most key positions in the state government are with these IAS officers from the south. P Raghvendra Rao, who was recently picked for central deputation, was the finance secretary of the state. Raj Sekhar Vundru is the managing director of Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Corporation (HSIIDC), considered among the top most state-owned companies. V Umashankar heads the Gurgaon Metropolitan Development Authority, a newly created body. TL Satyaprakash is director, town and country planning department while J Ganesan is the chief administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). Another officer, TVSN Prasad, who is soon expected to join the state from a central government posting, is expected to take over as the new finance secretary.
Don’t expect freebies, Khattar tells scribes
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was in full form on Saturday during the annual event of Haryana Union of Working Journalists in Rohtak. Khattar, who was the chief guest, skillfully announced Rs 5 lakh for the union while suggesting them not to seek privileges rather learn to let them go. The journalist body had asked the CM to give free toll passage to scribes, besides housing and health facility for them and their families. The CM reminded them that journalism was not a business, but a mission, and journos should not expect freebies from the ruling dispensation.
Hitting below the belt
Himachal Pradesh BJP legislator Jawahar Thakur, who defeated Congress stalwart Kaul Singh Thakur in his stronghold of Darang in state elections, stunned Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mukesh Agnihotri in the Himachal Vidhan Sabha the other day. The soft-spoken legislator tried to interrupt Agnihotri during his speech on the budgetary proposals. Before he could say anything, Thakur said that the Congress leader should be thankful that he defeated Kaul Singh Thakur.” Had he won, he would have been heading the Congress Legislature Party in the state assembly for sure,” he added. Now that’s hitting below the belt!
A futile exercise
HP consumer affairs minister Kishan Kapoor, while returning to Dharamshala from Shimla recently, decided to conduct surprise raids on fuel stations on the way. He found irregularities at the first station he raided and slapped a fine. However, when Kapoor reached the next filling station, he was bewildered. The minister found the staff waiting for him with flower bouquets. Obviously, the information about his surprise raid was passed on to them. At all the other half-a-dozen filling stations he raided, all that the minister found was bouquets. On the whole, a futile exercise in the end!
In Himachal Pradesh, the opposition Congress was furious over the absence of ministers in the Jai Ram Thakur government from the state assembly while a discussion on the state budget was on. CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri said that one could understand if the chief minister was not in the House due to some work, but ministers were missing too. He suggested that it would have been better had Jai Ram inducted Ramesh Dhawala or Rakesh Pathania in his team. “At least they are always present in the House,” said Agnihotri. When Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rajeev Bindal said that two ministers were present, Agnihotri quipped: “It seems the government has started pooling system in the House”.
(Contributed by Surjit Singh, Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Gagandeep Singh, Hitender Rao, Hardik Anand, Gaurav Bisht, Naresh K Thakur)