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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Regional buzz: Shwait Malik has his way; Captain wishes Jaitley speedy recovery

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

punjab Updated: Apr 23, 2018 10:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh

Capt wishes Jaitley speedy recovery

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh isn’t known to be a gracious politician for nothing. The CM hosted a dinner for some guests from Delhi at his residence last week and they got talking about Union finance minister Arun Jaitley. When one of them informed Amarinder about Jaitley’s kidney-related problems and infections, he showed concern. The guest called up the finance minister and handed over the phone to the chief minister. Capt enquired from Jaitely about his health, told him how one of his relatives had recovered from similar health problems and wished him speedy recovery. Amarinder and Jaitley, who chatted for about 6-7 minutes, had faced each other in an all-out fight in Amritsar during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. And, they seem to have made up since.

‘Please give me a good portfolio sir’

After the swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, Aruna Chaudhary, who was elevated to cabinet rank, met chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and asked for a “better” portfolio. When Capt asked the minister if she wanted to give away education department allocated to her at the time of government formation in March last year, Chaudhary affirmed with a nod. “Sir, please give me a good portfolio,” she was heard telling the chief minister. Her plea worked as she got transport, social security, and women and child development.

Malik has his way

Punjab Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Shwait Malik put the office-bearers of the Chandigarh Press Club in a Catch-22 situation last week. The newly appointed state chief was invited for a ‘Meet the Press’ programme on Friday. Malik, who is also Rajya Sabha MP, took the dais along with Phagwara MLA Som Parkash and Sufi singer-turned-politician Hans Raj Hans. At such events, only the person addressing the media and the club office-bearers sit on the dais as per tradition. Malik was informed, but he wanted the two leaders right next to him, saying their presence was important. Though some scribes drew his attention to the club tradition, he insisted on having his way. And, he did. When he answered questions, the BJP leader went on and on. No wonder Malik’s appointment had surprised many of his party colleagues in the state.

Rampur Phul, the lucky segment

The Rampura Phul assembly constituency in Bathinda has once against proved to be the lucky charm for its MLA with Gurpreet Singh Kangar making it to the state cabinet. In 1985, Sukhdev Singh Dhillon became health minister, while Harbans Singh Sidhu from the same constituency served as animal husbandry and dairy development minister in the Congress regime. During the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) regime from 2012 to 17, Sikander Singh Maluka got a berth in the Parkash Singh Badal cabinet. The lucky run is continuing!

Congress MLAs and leaders teased each other over development projects during the quarterly meeting of the district-level review and monitoring committee of urban development chaired by Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu last Thursday. When municipal corporation officials talked about projects being taken up, Ludhiana West MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu, who is now food and supplies minister, told Ludhiana East legislator Sanjay Talwar that most of them were in his (Ashu’s) constituency. “Hamara bhi kuch lihaaj kar lo,” Sanjay said to officials. Senior deputy mayor Sham Sundar Malhotra, representing ward in old city area, also asked them to take up projects in old city. Bittu, who had been watching all this while, could not stop himself. He told Malhotra that being the senior deputy mayor, he should think about the entire city and not just the old city areas.

This Haryana minister is a globetrotter

Haryana agriculture minister OP Dhankar has gained the reputation of a globetrotter. The minister probably has the highest number of official foreign visits to his credit. Come summers and Dhankar is again off to foreign shores in Europe and Latin America on a 17-day trip to Netherlands, Spain, Brazil and Argentina. Well, he and his officers apparently want to study the best practices in farm sector. And a visit to cooler climes of Europe probably could be the best way to do this.

No chorus for crooning CM

With just over a year to go for the assembly elections, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar is trying to infuse some motivation in his officials, albeit in futility. Khattar chose the Civil Services day function on Saturday to croon a song which he fondly unveiled at the Chintan Shivir in December 2017. His chartbuster — dharti ki shaan tu, bharat ki santaan, teri muthhiyon mein band toofan hai rey, manushya tu bada mahaan hai, bhool mat… — however came a cropper as only few officials gave him the company to hum the lines. Some officers present in the function felt that the number had a RSS link and it was out of place to recite it at such a function.

Faux pas: Khattar does it again

In a faux pas, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar while welcoming ‘golden girl’ Manu Bhaker, who won a gold medal in shooting at Commonwealth Games, to Haryana said she won a medal in archery. He then forgot to count wrestler Vinesh Phogat among gold medallists. Khattar had earlier also embarrassed himself while welcoming Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik. The CM at that time not only forgot silver medallist PV Sindhu’s name, but also said she was from Karnataka. His gaffe almost solved the fight between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana which were fighting for the shuttler. To err is human, but making it a habit is a strict no-no.

No more turban tussle for Tanwar

Learning a lesson from past experience, Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar seems to have decided to end the war over the pagadis (turbans) sported by supporters of different factions within the party. While ex-CM Bhupinder Hooda’s supporters sported pink turbans and those of Tanwar wore red ones to show (off) their strength at party rallies. Not to forget ugly spats among supporters of these competing factions. Since the party is going to hold a ‘Jan Aakrosh’ rally in New Delhi on April 29, Tanwar is now repeatedly saying there is no need to wear turbans of any particular colours, thus indicating an end to the turban tussles.

Haryana babus & their ways

Trust babus to find ways to wriggle out of any government move to discipline them. To improve office efficiency, the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana on April 4 sent detailed instructions to all its top bureaucrats regarding disposal of files, prescribing one working day for files marked “immediate”, three days for “urgent” ones and five days for those dealing with “ordinary” matters. A special campaign has been undertaken to clear the files pending for more than one month by April 27. Not many can disagree with the intent. But some officers seem to have found a way to deal with tricky files. “Please discuss” is what they scribble on files to push them back to their subordinates. The files are processed again to beat the timeline. Not the first time instance of bureaucratic ingenuity to get the better of attempts to streamline working in departments! Similar moves, including the central file monitoring system and Aadhar-based biometric attendance system, to rein in bureaucrats have also been rendered ineffective earlier.

(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sarbmeet Singh, Harsimran Singh Batra, Hitender Rao, Hardik Anand, Rajesh Moudgil)