Regional buzz - When Amarinder silenced Akalis, Mantri Sidhu’s grand plans, and more
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Regional buzz - When Amarinder silenced Akalis, Mantri Sidhu’s grand plans, and more

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

punjab Updated: Jun 19, 2017 14:37 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
Amarinder Singh,Navjot Singh Sidhu,Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu

When Amarinder silenced Akalis

Continuous sloganeering by the Shiromani Akali Dal during the Vidhan Sabha session on Friday angered Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. He stood up and told the party MLAs in an intimidating tone that he doesn’t come under pressure. The Akali MLAs were raising slogans against power minister Rana Gurjit Singh in the mine auction controversy and demanding farm debt waiver. “I have a list of 10 Akalis who are doing sand mining and will take no time in making it public,” Capt said. The snub silenced the Akalis. But now the AAP leaders want the CM to make the names public.

Mantri Sidhu’s grand plans

After the day’s proceedings in the state assembly got over, finance minister Manpreet Badal and local bodies minister Navjot Sidhu on Friday met reporters to clarify some issues. Asked how some private buses were still plying illegally in the state, Sidhu said the transport department was with the chief minister. “I can’t do anything. Je main mantri hunda main taan poonchan chaka dinda jehre illegal bussan chala rehe ney (had I been the minister, I would have pulled all such people by their tails for operating illegal buses),” he said. Badal, who was sitting beside him, smiled.

Punctual Captain

As an MP, Capt Amarinder Singh remained in the news for not being regular in Lok Sabha. But he is setting an example in the state assembly with his punctuality these days. Amarinder comes to the House about 10 minutes before schedule. On day one, he walked across to the opposition benches to exchange greetings members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Thereafter, several Congress legislators surrounded the CM – a few of them touching his feet – and kept chatting with him till the bell started ringing signalling the start of assembly proceedings. Capt’s early arrival has ensured that most of his party legislators also reach the House before time.

CM’s camp office: Cops caught on wrong foot

To keep his ‘connect’ with the people of Majha region and redress their complaints, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had opened his ‘camp office’ on Court Road in Amritsar about a month ago. But, strangely, the city cops did not know about the CM’s camp office. This ignorance is being blamed for cops raiding the premises to find a crime suspect. An offended government has suspended two inspectors and the role of a DCP is also under scrutiny.

Harsmirat’s PR team goes into overdrive

Union food processing minister Harsimrat Badal’s new mantra appears to be: “When you do something, show it”. Whenever she inaugurates or lays foundation of any project, she wants the people of her home state, Punjab, to know about it. Her PR team promptly issues a press release to the media in Chandigarh as well. Last week, the Bathinda MP was in Kerala for a project inauguration. The news was sent to reporters here. After all, her electors matter to her.

The joke’s on Sidhu

Actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh was recently on a popular comedy show that also features local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. The show host pulled the minister’s leg as usual. “The airline companies welcome Diljit whenever he boards a plane and Sidhu Paaji travels so frequently between Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Delhi that when he enters a plane, the crew ask, ‘Sir, you have come again’,” he said. A sheepish looking Sidhu, who usually likes to talk, was speechless.

Youth Congress bears the brunt of bickering

The factionalism within Haryana Congress, it seems, has started to gnaw at the state Youth Congress as well. Or that was the buzz during the three-day training camp held in Chandigarh last week for newly elected officeholders of Youth Congress in the state. Besides Indian Youth Congress (IYC) president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, MLA from Gidderbaha in Punjab, Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda was among Haryana Congress leaders who addressed the meet. Neither Randeep Surjewala nor Ashok Tanwar, both former chiefs of IYC, or former State Youth Congress leaders such as Amit Sihag, Sanjay Chokkar or Chiranjeev Rao were present. Several members sought their participation, pointing out Hooda junior had no YC background.

Grover on hot seat

When state cooperation minister Manish Grover came for an informal chitchat with journalists of his constituency at Press Club in Rohtak, he did not expect uneasy questions. The chat soon turned into a complaint session with journalists grilling Grover over deteriorating law and order situation in the district. The minister, who was visibly awkward and without answers, cheered up a little when he learnt about the farmers’ agitation ending peacefully.

UPSC’s meeting in cool climes of Morni

A meeting for filling 32 vacancies in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) from among the Haryana Civil Service officers has been scheduled by the Union Public Service Commission next month. The selection committee meeting will be held at a state-run guest house in Morni hills in Panchkula district. Though such meetings are usually held in Delhi, the choice of Morni hills, popular as a weekend getaway, as venue by UPSC has become a talking point. The five-member committee has one UPSC representative and two each from the department of personnel and training of the centre and the state government. The names of 40 HCS officers will be considered for appointment.

Virbhadra’s witty side

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh is known for his repartee. When a journalist asked him about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state-wide parivartan yatra, his reply was: “I am a king. I ride horses, but I do not believe in yatras. You all know what happened to LK Advani after his rath yatra. He only remained Prime minister-in-waiting”.

(Contributed by Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Navneet Sharma, Aseem Bassi, Rajesh Moudgil, Hardik Anand, Gaurav Bisht)

First Published: Jun 19, 2017 14:37 IST