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Regional buzz: Sukhbir, Khaira exchange bomb barbs and race for Haryana DGP’s post

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and former leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira never let go of any opportunity to take digs at each other

punjab Updated: Aug 13, 2018 11:29 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Regional buzz,Shiromani Akali Dal,Sukhbir Singh Badal
(Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT)

Keeping tabs on power politics in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K:

Khaira Vs Mann: ‘Brothers’ at war

Politicians never cease to amaze. Punjab AAP leaders — Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann — call each other ‘veer’ (brother). They have been hitting out at each other like never before after Khaira’s sacking from the post of leader of opposition (LoP). Mann, who was targeted by Khaira’s supporters, held a press conference on Tuesday, going after the ex-LoP all guns blazing. Calling him “chatur, chalaak and tikdambaaz” (clever, cunning and manipulative), Mann said Khaira’s revolt was fight for “gaddi” (position). “When I became party chief, Khaira, whom I consider my elder brother, resigned as chief whip. On becoming the LoP, he went with a bouquet to (AAP convener Arvind) Kejriwal who was then democratic. After his removal, he said there was dictatorship in the party,” he said. There was more – “When I was crisscrossing villages, all he did was to go live on Facebook with a pen worth Rs 12,000 in his pocket,” said Mann. The Bholath MLA hit back the next day, pulling no punches. “He calls me opportunist, but my “chota veer” (younger brother) changed three parties in six years,” Khaira said, adding, “his (Mann’s) outburst out of personal hatred, frustration and depression.” Some brotherly love this!

Ramoowalia woos migrants for SP

Balwant Singh Ramoowalia was in Chandigarh last week to announce his appointment as the in-charge of Punjab and Chandigarh for the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP). Ramoowalia was all praise for Yadav, but lashed out against the SAD – the party the balladeer-turned-politician left in October 2015 to join the SP and become a cabinet minister in Uttar Pradesh. He said the SAD has no role in national politics, and its leaders lack vision. Ramoowalia, who merged his Lok Bhalai Party into the SAD in 2013, later felt marginalised and quit. “I am here to mobilise ‘UP native bhaiyas’ who have migrated to Punjab,” he said.

Sukhbir, Khaira exchange bomb barbs

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal and former leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira never let go of any opportunity to take digs at each other. Addressing reporters at Punjab Bhawan in Chandigarh on Friday, AAP dissident leader Khaira described Sukhbir as a “fused” bomb. “Since when have you started taking Sukhbir seriously? Thuss hoya hoa anar hai,” he told reporters, thereby meaning that he (Sukhbir) is uninspiring. Khaira, who is a two-time MLA from Bholath, was responding to the SAD chief’s barb a day ago, calling him a “human bomb”. Sukhbir apparently likes to call his adversaries “human bomb”. He had used the same expression for local bodies minister Navjot Sidhu and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Bajwa in the past.

Cop in a teacher’s avatar

Punjab inspector general (IG), organised crime control unit (OCCU), Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh recently addressed a press conference to announce the arrest of gangsters in style. The IG made a presentation using his laptop to give the profile of notorious gangsters nabbed by his team, tossing questions, like a teacher, to reporters to check their knowledge. “Aap iss killing ke bare main jaante hain na ke nahin jaante?” Singh asked while showing a clipping related to a killing carried out by the gangsters in Bathinda. When the IG asked the question, no one answered at first. Then, he repeated it with more authority and many scribes collectively replied: “Yes Sir”. By the way, Singh is closely associated with teaching and has written books on Right of Information Act and ‘anti-defection law’.

Race on for Haryana DGP’s post

Haryana IPS officers seem to be leaving no stone unturned to stake their claim to the office of director general of police (DGP). Incumbent state police chief, BS Sandhu retires in September-end. The two-year secure tenure ordered by the Supreme Court for the DGP has made it a high stake contest. A number of DG-rank officers in the reckoning are trying to make their way using BJP central leadership as well as the RSS networks. One IPS officer, who is in the zone of consideration but out of favour with the state government, surprised his colleagues when he invited RSS leader Indresh Kumar recently to an event held at the Madhuban police complex in Karnal. The state government is keeping its cards close to the chest on the matter and has so far not sent a proposal for the empanelment of the officers to the UPSC.

Bureaucrat’s sweet treat for scribes

Ram Niwas, additional chief secretary, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, Haryana, knows how to create a “niwas” (abode), albeit temporary, in the hearts of “heartless hacks” via the Haryanvi delicacies. Last week, the 1985-batch IAS officer gave a brilliant start to the press conference of Karan Dev Kamboj, minister of state for food, by giving crisp and insightful introduction of his department. Kamboj also came across as an articulate minister having complex facts, figures and each step of his department on the tip of tongue. After “bhashan”, it was time for “ration”. Ram Niwas gestured his retinues: “lao bhai”. Before the hungry souls started to devour the delicacies, Niwas announced: “We made special arrangements to bring fresh ghewar from Kaithal and phirni from Pundri to my media friends”. The message was loud and clear.

Govt wants babus to keep ministers in loop

The ministers in the Khattar-led BJP government have been cribbing about lack of discipline in a section of the state bureaucracy. A communication from the chief secretary’s office, dated August 8, has led credence to their gripe. “It has come to the state government’s notice that administrative secretaries/heads of departments proceed on leave or training or tour without prior intimation to the minister in charge concerned,” reads the official communiqué. All IAS and HCS officers have been directed to inform the minister-in-charge about their leave, training programmes and tours while applying and after getting approval for the same.

Haryana BJP’s pic blooper

An advertisement displayed on Facebook a few days ago by the BJP unit in Haryana continues is creating buzz in administrative and political circles. The ad announced “Kapaas Dhanyawad Rally” with photos of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and some happy farmers, but it drew a plethora of negative remarks as the crop shown in the advertisement was that of mustard, not cotton. But no one bothered to remove the post or correct the error.

Minister under fire for bias

Himachal Pradesh irrigation and public health minister Mahender Singh is under fire from the opposition parties for providing jobs to people of his constituency, Dharampur, through the backdoor. His letter recommending job for one of his supporters went viral on the social media, triggering allegations of bias. The minister accused a department official of selective leaks. “The official was removed from an important project and he made the recommendation letter public. It’s not the handiwork of opposition,” he told reporters in Mandi the other day. What about propriety in making job recommendations, Mr Minister?

Warding off an evil eye

At a time when internal squabbles are haunting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and his wife Sadhna Thakur made a quiet visit Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain. The temple dedicated is dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per popular belief, Jyotirlinga at the temple helps ward off evil and neutralise the enemies. Though Thakur has not spoken about his trip, the CM’s supporters feel his difficulties could increase with BJP veteran leader and ex-CM Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was lying low after his defeat in the 2017 assembly elections, scaling up his activities. The Dhumal camp is upset over being ignored by the chief minister.

Patil’s warning to warring factions

There seems to be no let-up in infighting that has gripped Himachal Congress despite repeated appeals by AICC in-charge of party in HP Rajni Patil to workers to maintain discipline. An ugly spat took place between rival factions in Una when workers were welcoming Patil at a party convention the other day. Amid the fierce slogan shouting, an irritated Patil issued a warning. “Was this a welcome? I don’t understand what kind of behaviour is this? If they are fighting, a strict action will be taken,” she said.

(Contributed by Navneet Sharma, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Ravinder Vasudeva, Hitender Rao, Pawan Sharma, Rajesh Moudgil, Gaurav Bisht and Naresh K Thakur)

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 11:26 IST