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Regional buzz: Of Capt’s Turkish holiday, the #MeToo minister and Khaira, the rebel

HT keeps a tab on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

punjab Updated: Oct 29, 2018 11:07 IST
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
captian amarinder singh,Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal,Sukhpal Singh Khaira
Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu

Grewal’s faux pas

To err, they say, is human. But some mistakes can be really embarrassing. The Akalis were quick to lap up the controversy kicked up by “inappropriate” text messages sent by a cabinet minister in Punjab to a woman IAS officer. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) senior vice president Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal issued a written statement on Thursday, demanding the minister’s sacking for “harassing” the officer. Grewal did not name the minister, but committed a blunder by giving out the officer’s name in the statement. The faux pas was committed even though the Akali media wing is packed with former journalists. When the mistake was realised, the SAD quickly sent a revised press release, deleting her name.

Turkey trip & heartburns

There is heartburn in Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s charmed circle of loyalists over his Turkey holiday. They say like a queen bee, Amarinder has “worker bees” to run his office and government. And one set of his coterie works and other holidays with him. The disgruntled ones in CMO are “leaking” information to media on the holiday and those keeping him company. They say other than sports minister Rana Gurmeet Sodhi and advocate general Atul Nanda, Amarinder’s friend from Pakistan are part of the vacation. But Amarinder’s friends are ensuring different kind of “leaks” back home to keep his holiday out of news.

GK vs Sirsa

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK and general secretary Manjinder Singh Sirsa seem to be playing hide and seek. A fortnight ago, GK, who has been upset over “certain developments” in the party, threatened to resign and went abroad, handing over charge to his confidante and vice president Harmeet Singh Kalka. When GK came back and rejoined, Sirsa went on “strike”. He headed over charge to another committee office-bearer Amarjeet Singh Pappu. Both have refused to talk, but the recent events have indicated that trouble is brewing in the religious body.

Khaira’s love for rebel tag

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dissident leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira loves to be called a “baaghi” (rebel). Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Khaira, who along with seven other legislators revolted against the AAP leadership three months ago, said, “We are rebels. People of Punjab like rebels.” Asked if he would continue to act as a dissident, the Bholath MLA said he made the remark in a lighter vein. On being told that when politicians come to power, they don’t like dissidents, Khaira replied: “Tussi sannu satta toh do, assi baaghi ho ke chalawange (You give us power, we will run it (government) as rebels).”

No lull, AAP factions back to firing salvos

After their reconciliation talks, the AAP factions were back to their favourite game of hitting out at each other within a few hours. AAP state leaders accused the rebel faction of demanding the post of president for Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in the garb of khudmukhtyari (autonomy). Asked about their rivals’ ‘Khaira-mukhtyari’ charge, Khaira said the fight is not for posts, but greater say for people of the state in running the state unit. “You are trying to make us fight,” said the former leader of opposition. The way the two factions have been squabbling for months, do they any instigation?

Blockade for aam aadmi, passage for SGPC member

Demanding financial compensation for stubble management, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has been staging protests across the state. A group of protesting farmers held a protest and blocked the road in Gidderbaha sub-division of Mukstar district last week. They did not allow traffic movement, causing inconvenience to people, but were selective. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member Jathedar Gurpal Singh Gora was given way. An example of double standards of the protesting union!

Hooda slams Khattar govt through couplets

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda recently recited a couple of poems at an interaction with newspersons to flay the BJP government and its video-song titled ‘Vikas Geet’ that was played at a function held on its four years in power. Hooda’s poem opened with “pradesh kiya karzdar, apradh apke dwar (Haryana has been dragged into debt, crime knocks at your door).” In contrast, Vikas Geet begins with “Haryana ke vikas mein rakhya 36 jaat ka khyal tane’’ (Khattar has kept in his mind people of all castes while developing state). A lyrical opening to political fight next year!

Protest plan brings bickering to the fore

The Himachal Congress’ protest over infighting in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) brought out its own internal bickering. In the protest march, state unit chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu was joined by party affairs in-charge Rajni Patil, her deputy Gurkirat Kotli and Congress legislature party leader Mukesh Agnihotri. Soon after the sit-in outside the CBI’s regional office, Agnihotri and some other leaders left to meet former chief minister Virbhadra Singh. On the other hand, Sukhu and his supporters marched through the Mall road, violating prohibitory orders. They were not happy with Virbhadra supporters’ half-hearted effort.

Kapoor raps his cabinet colleague

Himachal food and civil supply minister Kishan Kapoor, who drew flak for his behaviour recently, is again in the news for another video. This time, he is upset over poor sanitation in his hometown, Dharamshala, and indirectly slammed his cabinet college, Sarveen Chaudhary, who holds the urban development portfolio, for the mess. In the video, Kapoor is seen complaining to chief minister Jai Ram Thakur that municipal corporation is not cleaning the dustbins that have his (minister’s) name inscribed on them. “The minister concerned has directed the civic body not to clean them,” he says, predicting a loss in Lok Sabha polls if such things continue.

(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Sukhdeep Kaur, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sarbmeet Singh, Rajesh Moudgil, Gaurav Bisht and Naresh K Thakur)

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 11:03 IST