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Regional buzz: Salaria’s ‘lift kara dey’ gift to party’s Punjab unit, a cocktail of babus’ one-liners, and more

Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh

punjab Updated: Oct 02, 2017 12:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Swaran Singh Salaria,Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll,Maj Gen Suresh Khajuria
Illustration: Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT

Salaria’s ‘lift kara dey’ gift to party’s Punjab unit

Swaran Singh Salaria, BJP candidate for Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll, had got an elevator installed in the headquarters of the party’s Punjab unit in Chandigarh. A plastic plaque was also fixed on the lift announcing that he donated the lift in memory of his father. Salaria, who started out as sepoy in the army, a job he left to do business, has come a long way. Now, he owns a security agency, chain of luxury hotels and an aviation company. Though it is not clear how much the elevator cost him, it certainly helped his image in party circles.

A cocktail of babus’ one-liners

Two senior bureaucrats, who are not holding important assignments, have been keeping busy by posting idiomatic expressions on social media. Sarvesh Kaushal, who remained chief secretary before being shifted as chief director, Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration by the present government, tweeted: “Annay kuttay hirrnan day shikari (Blind dogs hunting deer)”. “Incompetent persons cannot do a tough job,” he wrote, explaining the meaning. Karan Bir Singh Sidhu, special chief secretary, social security department, replied, “Ujjrey baghan day gahlarr patwari” (Ruined gardens and govt officers do lip service)”. Kaushal in another post, wrote, “Fasli baterey, na tere na mere (Selfish birds, side with none)”.

Bypoll: AAP gives social media campaign big push

Contesting the Lok Sabha bypoll on a “shoestring budget”, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may be struggling to match the campaign of well-endowed established players, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal (BJP-SAD) combine, on the ground in Gurdaspur. But the party is more than a match for them on social media. Its social media team is trying to lend heft to poll campaign of its nominee Maj Gen Suresh Khajuria (retired) by posting video clips and photographs of his and other party leaders’ election campaign to connect with the electors, besides keeping the party workers enthused. The rookie party, which emerged as the principal opposition party in the state assembly polls, had not done too well in the area earlier. And, it has been rocked by desertions in the past two weeks.

This ‘fauji’ is super fit

Maj Gen Suresh Khajuria (retd), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate for the October11 Gurdaspur bypoll, has preferred door-to-door campaign and corner meeting to big public meetings. But the pace set by the 64-year-old retired general often leaves his associates panting. They are unable to keep pace with him. When Khajuria was in Amritsar last week to pay obeisance at Golden temple, his young brigade of supporters found it hard to match his footsteps. And one of his associates, seemingly embarrassed, even requested him to slow down.

Congman takes Badal blessings

A close aide of a senior Congress minister recently visited former chief minister Prakash Singh Badal for his ‘ashirvad’ (blessing) for the post of president of a co-operative society of Banwala Annu village near Lambi. The 162 society had elected 10 executive members, five each from Congress and SAD. SAD members declared that they would support the candidate if he is able to get Badal’s blessings.. The minister’s aide followed the advice and got their support. “I am a loyal Congress worker and had visited Badal only to thank him for SAD members’ support during the election,” he later clarified.

Don’t be gullible: MLA’s advice to Malwa people

Punjab assembly deputy speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti took a dig at people of Malwa region in a district-level farmer awareness camp in Muktsar the other day. Malwe de lok layi lag ne atte ik dooje magr jaldi lag jande ne ate apna nfa nuksan nahi dekhde (People from Malwa belt tend to trust and follow others blindly without weighing the pros and cons), said the Malout MLA before advising them not to burn agriculture residue. He also urged the farmers not to commit suicides and instead face the situation.

Haryana Cong and its bickering blues

The Khattar government’s decision to scrap the Dadupur Nalvi canal project has brought factionalism in the Haryana Congress to fore. Both ex-CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and All India Congress Committee’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala promptly announced their separate protests. Hooda decided to hold a state-level rally in Yamunanagar on October 2 to protest against the move, Surjewala, who is MLA from Kaithal, held a demonstration on Sunday. Though Hooda and Surjewala rarely speak about each other in public, party insiders say they are going all-out to emerge as the tallest leader of Congress in the state. “Surjewala announced the protest before Hooda. Also, everyone has the right to protest to strengthen the party,” one of the AICC spokesperson’s aides said. Hooda, who enjoys support of most party legislators in the state, is likely to use the protest as a show of strength.

Hard work conquers all: Virbhadra’s mantra

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh is 83, but takes pride in his ability to put in hard work. The six-time CM, while projecting his son, Pradesh Youth Congress chief Vikramaditya Singh, as his political heir the other day, he threw a challenge to young leaders. “I challenge the youth if they can work harder than me. I entered active politics when I was 25,” said the veteran leader who remains his party’s best vote-catcher in the state.

Why Shinde is upset?

All India Congress Committee general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde took over as in-charge of party affairs in Himachal Pradesh in July and has spent the past two months grappling with bickering in the state unit. But much to Shinde’s chagrin, his predecessor Ambika Soni is still being shown as in-charge in posters pasted along the roads highlighting the party’s rath yatra.

(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Navneet Sharma, Nikhil Sharma, Sarbmeet Singh, Neeraj Mohan and Gaurav Bisht)

First Published: Oct 02, 2017 12:11 IST