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Regional buzz | Sidhu after Badal junior, Amrinder targets ex-CM and Hooda cuts a sorry figure

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

punjab Updated: Jul 10, 2017 17:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Sidhu after Badal junior, Amarinder targets ex-­CM

After three months of coming to power, Congress MLAs and workers are finally happy. They feel the tirade of Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu against monopoly of SAD president Sukhbir Badal “patronised” Fastway Transmissions is getting high ratings for both Sidhu and his party. “He is touching the right chords. So far it didn’t seem like there was a new government in place,” say many Congress MLAs. Sidhu’s anti Badal rant has forced CM Captain Amarinder Singh to change track. The CM, who was harping the tune of “no political vendetta” against Badals, has targeted former CM Parkash Singh Badal saying inquiry into Behbal Kalan firing after sacrilege incidents will expose Badal’s hand. Senior after senior, junior after junior and the Congress MLAs are for once not complaining!

‘Fakhr-­e­-Qaum’ for Captain irks Akali leaders

Arhtiyas (commission agents) of Punjab honoured chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh with the title of Fakhre-Qaum (pride of community) last week, drawing a sharp reaction from the Shiromani Akali Dal. The opposition party asked Amarinder to get the title from farmers by waiving their complete debt, and not from the arhtiyas who have been fleecing them (farmers). In December 2011, Akal Takht had also bestowed the Fakhr-e-Qaum title on the then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, triggering criticism from different political and Sikh religious organisations which questioned the sanctity of award. With the latest title, the state now has two recipients, on both sides of political divide.

Another Chautala ready for political plunge

The buzz in political circles in Haryana is that the stage is being readied for the launch of leader of opposition Abhay Chautala’s son Karan in politics. Abhay is son of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala who is lodged in Tihar jail along with his eldest son Ajay in JBT teachers’ recruitment scam case. Karan shared dais with his father on the issue of stir planned by the party on Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue. A large number of party workers could be seen struggling to take a selfie or two with him.

Hooda cuts a sorry figure!

Many journalists attending former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s kisan mahapanchayat in Jind on Saturday staged a walkout from the programme. The reason: His unruly supporters entered the media section and kept disturbing the newspersons from doing their work. In Rohtak, too, journalists had staged a walkout from Hooda’s press conference earlier this month after his supporters created chaos. While addressing the gathering, Hooda apologised to journalists, requesting them to come back, and left everyone in splits after he asked them in Haryanvi to not take out their anger of mismanagement in their news reports about the programme.

Mankotia is always in news

Himachal Congress leader Major Vijai Singh Mankotia (retired), a war veteran, has again opened front against chief minister Virbhadra Singh. “Mere saath ghatnayien ghatiti rehti hain .... I am always on the other side of the fence. I have got used to it,” said the former minister in response to a barrage of questions from newspersons after he was dropped from the post of vice-chairman of Himachal Tourism Development Board. The former soldier-turnedpolitician has been hopping parties in his 34-year political career. He contested elections as an Independent for the first time in 1982, then joined the Himachal Kranti Morcha, a political outfit floated by ex-CM Thakur Ram Lal that later merged with Janata Dal. In 2008, he contested the election from Dharamshala on BSP ticket, but lost. He then returned to the Congress in 2011 and contested the election as its candidate.

New transport policy riles Congress leaders too

After the Punjab government released the draft of transport policy to end the Badals’ monopoly, several Congress MLAs who are running private buses in the state also felt the heat. They rushed to the chief minister’s office (CMO) to meet top officials to gripe about their grievance. “If the draft policy gets implemented as it is, saade taan hath vadey jange (our hands are going to be chopped off),” said Congress MLA from Faridkot Kushaldeep Singh Kiki Dhillon, referring to some provisions in the draft. The CMO officers gave a patient hearing and tried to pacify him.

Topi’ politics takes centre stage in Himachal

With the state assembly elections round the corner in Himachal Pradesh, traditional topi (cap) has assumed significance. Prime Minister Narendra Modi donned a maroon band Himachali cap while meeting his Israeli counterpart, much to the rejoice of supporters of his party colleague and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal back home. BJP leaders, including Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and Union textiles minister Smriti Irani, have sported ‘maroon band’ Himachali caps in ‘Parivartan’ rallies held to build up the party’s campaign in the state.

(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Sukhdeep Kaur, Rajesh Moudgil, Hardik Anand and Gaurav Bisht)

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 17:34 IST