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Regional buzz | Aman Arora’s Rs 15­ crore plan, and who is Sidhu countering?

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

punjab Updated: Jun 07, 2017 10:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Punjab government,Local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu,Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar
In a faux pas, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday tweeted congratulation messages to Class 10 students in the state for their board exams results. The CM also tried to encourage those who could not succeed and asked them to not get disheartened and perform better next time. But the only problem was that the Haryana board had not even announced the results for Class 10.(Illustration by Daljeet Kaur Sandhu/HT)

When Khattar jumped the gun

In a faux pas, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday tweeted congratulation messages to Class 10 students in the state for their board exams results. The CM also tried to encourage those who could not succeed and asked them to not get disheartened and perform better next time. But the only problem was that the Haryana board had not even announced the results for Class 10. Some Congress supporters, who try their best to pinpoint and circulate Khattar’s mistakes in speeches and tweets, lost no time in spreading it across Twitter and WhatsApp. The CM deleted his tweets later, though.

Mohindra and his art of tackling media

Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra seems to know the art of preempting media. The health department has strict instructions that any information being divulged to the media has to have the minister’s sanction. But the media’s worry is information sought could well be released by the department as a press note. Worse still, the minister can even claim credit for unearthing a scam, when asked for reaction! Who is advising Mohindra? He has hired a former journalist who was earlier media adviser of his cabinet colleague, Charanjit Singh Channi.

Who is Sidhu countering?

In a hurriedly called press briefing, Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Sngh Sidhu last week made public a letter received by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh from Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu regarding misuse of central funds. While he was lashing out at the previous Akali-BJP government for fund diversion, Amarinder was in Delhi to meet Naidu for release of funds for urban development. Both developments were published by newspapers with equal prominence the next day. But there were whispers in political circles about who he was countering – Badals or Amarinder. However, to be politically correct, Sidhu announced that he functions under the CM’s “tutelage”.

Aman Arora’s Rs 15­ crore plan

Aman Arora, newly appointed co-president of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab, wants Rs 15 crore. The AAP leader said this while talking to reporters last week about the private member’s bill he plans to move in the state assembly, seeking MLA Local Area Development (MLALAD) fund of Rs 3 crore annually on the pattern of other states. “The total comes to Rs 15 crore in one term of five years for overall development of assembly constituency,” he said. Realising that this was the figure quoted by one of his party colleagues as the amount offered by BJP to AAP MLAs in the state to switch sides, Arora quickly clarified, “It’s not what BJP is offering. We want these funds rightfully from the government for development of our areas”.

Haryana CM recalls his sporty days

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar with the 25­member Friendship Peak Expedition team of girls in Chandigarh on Thursday. (PTI)

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar last week flagged off a 25-member golden jubilee mountaineering expedition team of girl students of government schools to scale Friendship Peak, Manali area. While interacting with them, he fondly remembered his school days. Aside from playing kabaddi and wrestling, the chief minister said he was good at badminton and cycling. Yoga and cycling were part of his routine as pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “I also went to Haridwar several times on bicycle,” he recalled

Rewari protest leaves Sharma fretting

Education minister Ram Bilas Sharma got angry while interacting with mediapersons last week. The minister, who has the gift of the gab, lost his cool when he was repeatedly asked why was the government school in a Rewari village not being upgraded despite the fact that health of agitating girls, who were on fast, was deteriorating. When would the school’s upgrade be notified was the next query. Sharma, who had already stated that steps were being taken, didn’t like the barrage of questions and left in a huff.

Busybody Bharti in a new avatar on social media

After a slew of controversies on social media, Neeraj Bharti, chief parliamentary secretary in the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government, deactivated his account, bringing relief to leaders who were his target. From those in the opposition BJP to his own party colleagues, Bharti spared none. Those at the receiving end of his barbs included BJP central leaders, including the Prime Minister, party colleague and transport minister GS Bali and others who tried to mess with him. The issue of his controversial remarks against PM had reverberated in the Himachal Pradesh assembly also. The BJP’s social media army could not shut him up. Though he has set up a new account, Bharti has been somewhat quiet. And, people are trying to guess what he is up to.

Himachal BJP banks on Mangal Pandey!

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Himachal Pradesh are going gaga over the new in-charge of party affairs Mangal Pandey, member of legislative council in Bihar. During Pandey’s three-day trip, they declared that the party will get 60-plus seats under his guidance in the state. What was more amusing was that activists of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the BJP, hummed the theme song of Aamir Khan-starrer film Mangal Pandey on his arrival at the state headquarter.

In poll season, all eyes on Mankotia

As the state assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh are slated for end of the year, speculations are rife about party-hopping, especially the possibility of some Congress leaders defecting to BJP. Political analysts see former minister and Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) vice-chairman Vijai Singh Mankotia as a probable defector. Known for switching sides, Mankotia has ruled out leaving the party this time, though. When asked by journalists what if the BJP invites him to contest election, he said, “I am good where I am. No possibility of joining BJP or any other party”.

On a sticky wicket, BJP to ‘cure’ Kashmir!

Kashmir turns “hot” every summer since the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation. But ever since People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed a coalition government in the state in 2015, the “paradise on earth” has been caught in a web of unending violence. In 2014 assembly elections, PDP sought votes promising to keep the saffron party away from Kashmir and BJP promised end to discrimination with Jammu and Ladakh regions. While both might have lost some ground in their respective strongholds for joining hands with each other, the BJP claims it has been working steadily to set things right in Valley. A top BJP leader claimed that the ills plaguing Kashmir were never cured by the Congress led regimes. “The Congress doled out sops but never tried to set things right. We have taken up the responsibility. Wait for some time, separatists, militants and others of their ilk will be choked,” he asserted.

(Contributed by Sukhdeep Kaur, Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Rajesh Moudgil, Hardik Anand, Naresh K Thakur, Gaurav Bisht, Ravi Krishnan Khajuria)

First Published: May 22, 2017 10:08 IST