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Regional buzz: Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sukhbir Badal fire verbal volleys; Jai Ram Thakur takes on Agnihotri

Two months ago, Sukhbir had called Sidhu a “Bandar” (monkey). Sidhu has been also frequently referring to Sukhbir as “Sukha gappi”.

punjab Updated: Jan 15, 2018 12:54 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Navjot Singh Sidhu,Sukhbir Badal,Jai Ram Thakur
“I am not only in the driver’s seat, but all controls are in my hand. Don’t bother about my jeep, I have the steering wheel and the brakes,” Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur said. (Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT)

Team HT keeps tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir:

Jai Ram Thakur takes on Agnihotri

During the debate on the governor’s address, CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri alleged that the RSS was controlling the government. “Chief minister Jai Ram (Thakur) is in the driving seat of a jeep but too many people around him are trying to change the gear,” he said. Thakur was quick to respond to Congress leader. “I am not only in the driver’s seat, but all controls are in my hand. Don’t bother about my jeep, I have the steering wheel and the brakes,” pat came the reply.

Sidhu, Sukhbir fire verbal volleys

Punjab local government and tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and former deputy CM Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal, it seems, are competing with each other in name-calling. Sukhbir, who is also the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), last week called the minister “mental”. Two months ago, he had called Sidhu a “Bandar” (monkey). Sidhu has been also frequently referring to Sukhbir as “Sukha gappi”. The two leaders are expected to debate issues, not heckle each other.

This Mann no stranger to controversies

Punjab Congress leader Harinderpal Singh ‘Harry’ Mann is no stranger to controversies. He has switched parties to remain in power. Made information commissioner by the Akali Dal, he went on to bag the Congress ticket to fight from Sanaur in last year’s state polls. But the Congress won, he lost. A loose cannon, he has now left Congress blushing after a video of his advice to partymen “not to be suppressed by Akalis but cut them” has gone viral. He later explained that he had merely asked them to use swords in self-defence. Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh too had threatened a “Qatal-e-Aam” (massacre) in a rally during 2012 elections. He lost. He is now playing “no vendetta politics” tune after winning. And Akalis are all smiles.

Politicos take song route to rap rivals

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Punjab appears to have taken a cue from memes and online videos, learning to use sarcrasm effectively. And what can be better than playing Bollywood songs at a press conference to mock the rivals. Tarun Chugh, national secretary of BJP, attacked chief minister Captain Amrinder Singh for making false promises during the poll campaign. Chugh played a video of the promises made by Amarinder in the run-up of to state elections last year. “Vaada tera vaada, Jhoota hai tera vaada”, sung by Kishore Kumar for a movie titled ‘Dushman’, was among songs that provided the background score. The scribes had a hearty laugh.

No help desks, it’s cold out there

The ‘help desks’ on three floors of the Punjab secretariat where offices of most ministers and secretaries are located have been given a winter break. When asked, the general administration department said it was “too cold” in January and the desks will return in February. But the grapevine is that many ministers are working from home due to the “biting cold” and officers have to pay them visits for meetings. With babus and mantris absent, what help is the help desk.

Venting out his ire

Haryana IAS officer SS Dhillon who retired recently chose not to attend the customary farewell tea hosted by IAS Officers Association. The reason: Dhillon who has been subjected to CBI inquiry in Associated Journal Limited case despite opposing the allotment of plot on file feels that the association did not stand by him when he was being persecuted.

Bickering intensifies in Haryana Cong

The recent decision of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) to let the state presidents to continue in their post has aggravated the ongoing bickering in the Haryana Congress. While state unit chief Ashok Tanwar’s supporters distributed sweets and hailed the decision through posters, the rival group comprising MLAs and leaders having allegiance to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda responded in a predictable manner. Several of them could be heard saying that the decision allowed the state presidents to continue till a decision was taken and not for a full term. “We fail to understand why Tanwar supporters are celebrating?” a senior MLA said off the record last week. “We will talk to you on record at the right time,” he added.

The buzzword in HP politics: Son-in-laws

Amid the friendly banter between members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress in Himachal Pradesh, son-in-laws remained the buzzword. Congress legislator Asha Kumari, who was speaking on election of Churah MLA Hans Raj as deputy speaker, said that Chamba district got “half representation” in this government when our son-in-law Kishan Kapoor was inducted as minister in the state cabinet and now the representation is full. Later, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mukesh Agnihotri, too, took a jibe. Referring to chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s statement that the leader of opposition status will be given after observing their (Congress’) conduct, Agnihotri quipped: “CM should not forget that I am son-in-law of Mandi, so no need to observe my conduct”.

‘Grandparents deserve some credit’

Himachal Congress MLA Ram Lal Thakur feels his party is not being given its due credit by the ruling BJP for its contribution in development of the state. “You should not forget the Congress’ contribution. It is not that everything new happened in the BJP government,” he said during a discussion in the state assembly. As a BJP legislator tried to interrupt his speech, an irked Ram Lal told the treasury benches: “Don’t you have grandparents? They too deserve some credit”.

(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Amit R Joshi, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hitender Rao, Rajesh Moudgil, Naresh K Thakur)

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 12:53 IST