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Nov 18, 2019-Monday



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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Regional buzz | Manpreet’s gift of gab and Sherry, the selfie star

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has the gift of the gab. When Manpreet got up to move the bills in English on the last day of the Vidhan Sabha session last week, he was interrupted by Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjeet Bains. The legislator asked him to speak in Punjabi.

punjab Updated: Apr 04, 2017 09:57 IST
Hindustan Times
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal.
Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal.(HT Photo)

Manpreet’s gift of gab

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has the gift of the gab. When Manpreet got up to move the bills in English on the last day of the Vidhan Sabha session last week, he was interrupted by Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjeet Bains. The legislator asked him to speak in Punjabi. “I will, I will,” replied the FM. When he started speaking in Punjabi interspersed with Urdu couplets quoting Ilama Iqbal, the LIP legislator looked zapped. He perhaps didn’t fully comprehend the FM’s Urdu-laden Punjabi.

Capt cutting Manpreet,Sidhu to size?

The power games and palace intrigues have already started in the barely fortnight-long Congress government in Punjab. After cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu got the message that his TV shows are on thanks to CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s legal bailout, Sidhu has dropped his demand for urban development department. Now finance minister Manpreet Badal who like Sidhu was hogging a lot of media limelight, got a taste of the same medicine after Amarinder publicly stonewalled his move to erase memories of British Raj through a bill. Only a handful of ministers have been appointed are now even they are wary of the spy games. The message going down is no one other than the CM gets credit for all the right moves and ministers get flak for things that go wrong!

Kumar hogs the limelight

As Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh was away to Delhi to try and bolster his party’s prospects in municipal polls, his chief principal secretary Suresh Kumar held the fort in the state capital, Chandigarh. On Friday, all passages in the corridors of power seemed to lead the journalists to his office. In groups of 2-3, more than a dozen scribes trooped in to his office to hear the latest from him. None of them – not even the affable, media-friendly bureaucrat –had expected such a turnout of journalists at one place in one go. Kumar offered lassi and chatted with them. The journos then started leaving one by one – a few after taking quotes from him for their stories and a few by simply saying goodbye to him. What it showed is how important he is in the present dispensation.

In govt, right hand does not know what left is doing

Two glaring instances of contrasting press notes and statements of CM Amarinder Singh have left the media in a tizzy. After the government decided to make an unknown officer of transport department a scapegoat for the red beacon order following a faux pas, some more followed. A press note from the CM’s office said drug task force chief Harpreet Sidhu had joined and was present in Monday’s meeting with CM whereas he joined work much later on Friday. In another goof-up, the CMO released a press note that vigilance probe will be ordered into the Rs 31,000 crore foodgrain scam after CM said it at a press briefing in the state assembly. But the government is mulling a third party audit. As the new government gets a hang of things, there are murmurs in media on whether CM’s statements were being issued without consulting departments concerned for facts.

Sherry, the selfie star

Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. ( HT Photo )

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is the star among the new ministers in Punjab. Wherever he is, be it his office or the state assembly, his fans vie for his attention. They want to talk to him and get pictures clicked. During the first session of the 15th House, Vidhan Sabha staff, particularly women, came in small groups for selfies or photos with the celebrity minister. “Sir, please a photo with you” became the buzzword. Sidhu, who was holding a meeting, did not disappoint. He was enjoying all the love and affection without doubt.

Khaira’s fervent appeal for seats in House

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief whip Sukhpal Khaira is often unsparing in his attacks on rivals, but was seen leading for seats for two MLAs of alliance partner Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) in front row of the state assembly. He wanted seats alongside the AAP legislators for the duo. “Yaar, you were also in the opposition a few weeks ago. Please do not change like this. Hear our request and let them sit with us, as they are our alliance partners. We have to work out floor strategies,” he told the leaders of the ruling Congress. But his requests were unheard.

Sidhu left sheepish after Raju remark

Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who appears on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’, had to face embarrassment last week when famous stand-up comedian Raju Srivastav said as a minister, he (Sidhu) is different from rest of the political lot (in the country). “At least, he will be visible twice a week (on the show), while other politicians never show up after becoming minister,” he said with the cameras panning to sheepish-looking Sidhu. Before that, Raju also quipped that he had taken a vow to appear on the show only after “Sidhu Ji” becomes a minister. Raju has joined the programme after Sunil Grover left it after a spat with show host Kapil Sharma.

Capt Abhimanyu & his scripture ‘gyan’

Haryana finance minister Capt Abhimanyu, the other day, showed his knowledge of religious scriptures. While briefing newspersons on the national archery tourney, he spoke at length when he asked if he thought only married persons made good rulers. The question, of course, had a reference to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and newly appointed UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, both are unmarried. Quoting various Vedas, Puranas and other scriptures, Abhimanyu insisted there was no mention in any of the religious books that only married persons could rule. “Any person with knowledge, wisdom and virtues could be given reigns to rule,’’ he said, adding that he was also currently reading “Bharat Gatha’’ authored by Suryakant Bali. Bali is a senior journalist and a known RSS sympathiser.

Dhumal loyalist gets clicked with Nadda

Known to be a staunch loyalist of BJP leader and ex-chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, former horticulture minister Narender Bragta recently surprised everyone by calling on Union health minister Jagat Parkash Nadda in New Delhi. He did not try to hide it, ensuring that his pictures with Nadda, whose growing clout in state politics has made Dhumal supporters uncomfortable, are released to the press. Nadda is being seen the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the state assembly polls due later this year.

Maheshwar Singh loves his topis

Kullu MLA Maheshwar Singh was conspicuous in last month’s budget session of the Himachal Pradesh, which ended abruptly, not for his trademark speeches. But he drew attention for wearing Himachali caps with different colours .Throughout the month-long session, Maheshwar, scion of the erstwhile royal family, showed off his collection of caps. “Himachali caps are not any party or any leader’s trademark. They are for all Himachalis,” he replied when he referred to his caps. Often, caps with coloured bands are associated with political leaders and parties.

Anil Sharma’s trip to Maldives

At a time when legislators of the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were busy slugging it out with each other in the state assembly, animal husbandry minister Anil Sharma made a quiet holiday rip to Maldives . Sharma’s son Ayush is married to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan. Khan’s mother also went with them.