Babus to become public servants
While ministers and MLAs do understand the fact that their doing away with beacons would send a positive message across the masses, Capt Amarinder Singh-led government’s decision has disturbed the bureaucrats. They will also have to shun the amber and even blue beacons atop their vehicles, which used to make them stand apart from the general public on the roads while also giving them a sense of pride till Saturday. Though it’s just the beginning, the public has started expecting that the Chief Minister would effectively snatch the VIP title from babus and make them realise that they are, in fact, ‘public servants.’
Punjab minister to keep you laughing
Generally, we expect the ministers to hold a portfolio with utmost seriousness unless it would lose his/her grip over the bureaucracy that is already high-headed. But here in Punjab, there is an exception. Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has announced that he would continue with his TV assignments, the most popular of which is a comedy show, where he is seen laughing all the time. Now, how a minister appearing on screen with heavy laughter runs the department in an efficient way is the challenge which everyone wants to see getting accomplished.
Youth brigade eager to get smartphones
After installation of Captain Amarinder Singh-led state government in Punjab, now it’s the turn of the youth brigade to look up to the government as they are now eager to get smartphones for which they had registered themselves. During the run-up to the state assembly elections, Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh had made a poll promise with the youngsters about providing smartphones to them if the party was voted to power in the elections. It has been learnt that in order to fulfil the poll promise, the state government is in process of inviting global tenders for supply of these phones.
Gurdwara PA system comes in handy
Congress government’s resolve to eradicate the drug menace within four weeks of coming into power is also receiving a lot of support from the locals. In rural areas, residents are already working on the resolve as they are using public address systems installed in the village Gurdwaras to urge drug peddlers to give up their line of work, lest they should invite the wrath of the state police force.
Hooda’s Captain love
Haryana’s former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda had surprised all in his party by adopting a very belligerent stand on the SYL canal, which was in direct conflict with that of his party senior and now Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. Hooda had vowed not to campaign for the Congress in Punjab, which was not co-operating in the construction of SYL canal. As a result, Captain Amarinder too told him to stay away from Punjab as he did not need any Congress leader from Haryana including Hooda to win the polls in Punjab. However, Captain did not forget to invite Hooda to attend his swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhawan on March 16, which Hooda not only accepted but also ensured that he must be seen as someone who matters a lot for Congress heavyweights including Rahul Gandhi. Congress workers are, however, having a different take. They say that only Captain Amarinder has been able to counter TsunaMo in the recently held Assembly polls. Therefore, he is the real leader of the Congress now.
All is not well in CMO
It seems that all is not well in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in Haryana. Ever since Manohar Lal Khattar took oath as the state’s Chief Minister almost three years back, there has been several rounds of bureaucratic shuffle in the CMO. However, senior IAS officer Rakesh Gupta has been able to stay put in the CMO from the day he was appointed by Khattar. It is learnt that Gupta, who hails from Gujarat, has been able to impress Khattar by virtue of his ‘good works’ which many on the fourth floor of Haryana’s Civil Secretariat do not accept. It is being claimed that even Gupta is not happy as his wings have been clipped over the last few months. Grapevine suggests that there are many power centres in the CMO, which is affecting the government’s functioning.
Ex-CS shares ‘busy’ schedule
Senior IAS and former Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal in his recent Face ook post shared that as the top bureaucrat during 2014-17, he did not go even once on any foreign tour, either official or private, did not enjoy LTC or other holidays even once within India, did not even avail a single earned leave in three years. For exercise, both physical and mental, he played golf only for 65 hours, on 13 days out of 1,000-odd days, and that too starting with the break of dawn on holidays and finishing by 10 am, having the rest of the day for work. He tried to follow the best working traits of his seniors, which he kept on learning all through his life.
Akalis in mourning
Remaining in power for 10 years, Akalis seemed to be mourning their defeat in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections as they stayed away from the swearing-in ceremony of Capt Amarinder Singh and his nine ministers held in Punjab Raj Bhawan on Saturday. Former Chief Minister and patron of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Parkash Singh Badal spent most of the day at his residence in his native village and watched the entire ceremony on television. His deputy and son Sukhbir Singh Badal visited Faridkot and Kotkapura assembly constituencies and held meetings with party activists. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs, however, attended the ceremony but alleged that seats were not reserved for them at the swearing-in ceremony. Led by leader of the Opposition H S Phoolka, the AAP legislators alleged breach of protocol.
Sidhu shown his place
Eyeing the post of Deputy chief Minister, it wasn’t in any doubt that Sidhu would be given a berth in the Cabinet. However, Capt Amarinder showed the cricketer-turned-politician his place in the party as Sidhu was given Local Bodies ministry along with a couple of minor ministries. The firebrand politician and first-time MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, in the first cabinet meeting, forced Chief Minister Capt Amarinder to withdraw his proposal to shut down 28 Improvement Trusts. Sidhu told his Cabinet colleagues that he first wanted to study the structure of these Trusts before taking any decision in this regard.
SAD to do away with ‘siropa’ culture
Seemingly learning from its past follies, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to do away with its siropa culture. This decision was taken by none other than SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal who felt that during his party’s regime, real party workers failed to get attention of the party high command and the leaders from other political parties came and joined the party and received siropas around their necks and later, after taking political mileage, left the party like migratory birds. Highly-placed sources in the SAD said that after introspection, now the party supremo felt that because of the siropa culture, many outsiders made their entries into the party and exploited the party for their political gains and later left the party mid-way and worked against the party’s interests during elections.