Regional buzz: Manpreet Badal’s grand gestures to Preneet praising a Badal project
Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.punjab Updated: Oct 16, 2017 23:39 IST
Not the minister’s cup of tea!
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has a taste for grand gestures. After he became minister, Manpreet decided that he is not going to offer tea to visitors in his office in the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh. “Dear I’m extremely sorry for not offering tea to you in my office. But every action of governance in this office is full of “TEA” – TRANSPARENCY EFFICIENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY. You are an indispensable part of making ‘TEA” in this office better. Your suggestions are welcome,” reads a notice in the anteroom of the finance minister’s office. When a reporter of this newspaper recently went to his office, Manpreet was busy in a meeting. The reporter was asked to sit in anteroom where one of the minister’s aides was having tea with a visitor. The reporter barely settled down before an attendant walked in with a cup of tea, courteously requesting him, “Sir, tussi cha lao”. The reporter politely declined, but what about Manpreet’s resolve. Practice what you preach, Mr Minister!
Preneet praises Badal project
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Sings and the Badals are often accused by their rivals, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), of having a “secret understanding”. When Capt’s wife and former Union minister Preneet Kaur visited Golden Temple the other day, she provided more ammunition to such detractors. Preneet lauded the Badals for the work their government did to beautify the surroundings of the shrine even though other Congress leaders, including tourism minister Navjot Sidhu, have been finding flaws in the beautification project. Though there are some who say that she made the comment in a lighter vein, her praise appears to have strengthened the prevailing impression.
Sidhu & his Majithia bashing
Punjab tourism minister Navjot Sidhu likes to go after former revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia. After addressing the national tourism conclave, he said that Majithia would try to create a rift between him and chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Calling him a “scheming” Akali, Sidhu said that Majithia had managed to sideline senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). He also blamed the former minister for his ouster from Amritsar and the defeat of senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley.
Bypoll verdict: AAP had an inkling?
After going all-out for party candidate Maj Gen Suresh Kumar Khajuria (retd) to make their presence felt in the bypoll for the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency, top state leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) started underplaying the result before the counting of votes. Leader of Opposition in Punjab assembly, Sukhpal Khaira, who held a press conference in Chandigarh on Friday to demand power minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s dismissal from the state cabinet, was asked by a reporter about the bypoll. “The byelection is meaningless, totally irrelevant. It will have no impact on anything,” he said, dismissing the outcome.
Khattar’s journo jargon
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar seems to have become well-conversant with reporters’ jargon. While briefing newspersons on his government’s standpoint on the scrapped Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme, he repeatedly told scribes, who were struggling to take down notes, to relax and let him complete his brief first, as an official handout would be sent to them. His opening sentence was also that he knew there were a few more press conferences and events during the day and would be brief. And, his parting shot was that he would ensure the press release reaches them as early as possible.
Cong’s Theog gaffe
After HP chief minister Virbhadra Singh announced his decision to contest the assembly election from Theog constituency – the political turf of octogenarian leader Vidya Stokes, several local Congressmen went into a huddle to discuss the poll strategy. The loyalists, mostly local leaders, gathered at public works department (PWD) rest house in Theogh to chalk out details of Virbhadra’s nomination filing schedule, but the move backfired after pictures of their “cocktail party” were viral. To make matters worse, the photos showed a police officer partying with them at the government-run rest house despite the poll code. Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Rakesh Singha was quick to complain to deputy commissioner Rohan Thakur.
No lobbying: BJP’s message to ticket-seekers
Keen to put up a united face, the BJP has been trying to dissuade its ticket aspirants in Himachal from launching campaigns on social media to lobby for nomination. But what raised the hackles of the party leaders is that several applicants intensified their social media campaign at the time when the party’s central election committee, including BJP national president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, met in New Delhi to finalise the tickets for the upcoming state elections. The party’s IT cell quickly drew a list of such ticket aspirants and dispatch it to the party leadership.
Former Union minister Sukh Ram, his minister son Anil Sharma and grandson Ashray Sharma took the Congress by surprise when they decided to switch sides to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). They announced the move on social media just ahead of the BJP’s crucial poll in New Delhi. Anil Sharma, animal husbandry minister in the Virbhadra Singh government, posted a photo on Twitter in which he was wearing BJP scarf to announce the switch immediately after meeting the party leaders. BJP supporters on social media welcomed the move, dubbing it another step towards making India Congress-mukt. But a Congress activist was quick to respond, posting, “Congress-mukt India or Congress-yukt BJP?”
(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Surjit Singh, Rajesh Moudgil, Gaurav Bisht)