Maharaja sweats it out
In a run-up to the Assembly polls Capt Amarinder Singh this time is sweating it out to establish his connect with masses. Maharaja Patiala, who generally used to avoid meeting public in the past, is leaving no stone unturned to reach out to voters. It may be the impact of the AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s special appointee Parshant Kishore’s poll strategy that Amarinder is “forced” to sweat it out in this scorching summer. The way Kishore’s team is organizing one programme after another for Amarinder’s better mass contact, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also could not refrain himself from saying: “Maharaja is now trying to replicate my Sangat Darshan programmes.”
All eyes on Sidhu
In a rejig of the Punjab unit, BJP president Amit Shah recently inducted Rajya Sabha member Navjot Singh Sidhu in the state’s core group. His entry in the premier group has surprised all as he is the most vocal and severest critic of the Shiromani Akali Dal, with whom the BJP is set to contest the state polls again this time. Now, the BJP leadership is also keen to see Sidhu’s role in the core group meetings, where the party is supposed to discuss the strategy to improve the position of the SAD-BJP alliance to win the Assembly polls for third consecutive term.
Sukhbir captures the show
Punjab BJP this week held an event in Bathinda, where Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was to make people aware of Modi government’s two years’ performance. The arrangement of the event was in the hands of the BJP with also the stage being dominated by the saffron party leaders. However, Deputy Chief Minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, with his acumen, stole the show. Speaking before Jaitley, Sukhbir gave a detailed 25-minute power point presentation from the stage, elaborating the statistical details of the state’s finance and developmental works. The presentation was so impressive that Jaitley also couldn’t resist complementing him, saying: “Sukhbjir ji, I would suggest you make video and also release a book containing all such details as it is really remarkable to learn that Punjab is witnessing an overall growth under your able leadership.” Jaitley’s compliment, however, didn’t go well down among the BJP cadre.
The ever shrewd old guard
Six times Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh does not leave any scope for rumour mongering when it comes to his political prestige and support. This happened when senior Congress leader Anand Sharma came to Shimla and expressed his desire to host a lunch for the Congress MLAs as a gratitude for having him elected as Rajya Sabha MP from Himachal. Sensing that it could send wrong political signals at a time when he (Virbhadra Singh) is already in crisis due to the CBI and ED investigation against him, the Chief Minister was quick enough to say, “No. I will host this lunch, since you have come from Delhi.” Sharma, who has a little political ground in the state but is often tipped as a ‘probable contender for chief ministership in case of leadership change for his proximity to Congress president Sonia Gandhi had no option but to agree. CM’s close circles were happy at the old guard’s shrewdness.
Retirees gel well in CM’s office
Ever since retired IAS officer, TG Negi has taken over as Principal Adviser to Chief Minister, things have smoothened to a great extent. Negi goes along well with CM’s Principal Private Secretary, Subhash Ahluwalia, who is a retired IAS officer too. Sources said earlier with VC Pharka, a senior serving IAS who has now been elevated as Chief Secretary, Ahluwalia was not very comfortable. The two retirees now gel well. If CM’s Principal Private Secretary (Ahluwalia) goes out of station, Principal Adviser (Negi) could be seen sitting on his chair so that people coming to meet CM office do not suffer. “We have been friends for a long time,” Ahluwalia shares happily. The talk is that being retirees, the two don’t have hassles of administrative hierarchy—which suits the CM well in the run up to the polls.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is known for not losing his anger under any circumstances. He is dubbed as a tough man, but very humble from outside. However, these days he is said to have shown his anger, at least when things go wrong even after his instructions. According to people close to him, Khattar was apparently upset when a couple of bureaucrats did not come out with satisfying answers during a review meeting. An upset Khattar instructed his top aides in the CMO to ensure officers concerned come to his meeting well-prepared. Now, the onus is on his Principal Secretary RK Khullar to do the needful.
‘Emergency’ in Delhi
Delhi was never in news so much as it is these days, thanks to none other than belligerent Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his team, whose continuous attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not gone down well with the people. As a result, nothing is being left unturned to harass Kejriwal, who has declared that Prime Minister Modi has imposed ‘emergency’ in Delhi. Most of the Bills sent to the Central government for approval have been returned, which has left the AAP people perplexed. The Centre is looking for an excuse to arrest anyone in the AAP on any pretext. It is really ‘emergency like situation’ in Delhi, which is waiting for its good days!
Delhi CM taking tuitions!
Known for his unconventional methodology of approaching elections and choosing unorthodox plan of action when it comes to luring people, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party’s convener Arvind Kejriwal has been successful in his strategies so far. Adding one more to the tally, Kejriwal who is eyeing Punjab assembly polls, has started learning Punjabi. Not long back, he addressed thousands of Punjabis in rallies, sporting a turban. Only after he was countered as non-Punjabi by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and PPCC president Amarinder Singh, Kejriwal started taking tuitions to learn Punjabi. Confirming it on news channels, Kejriwal said that, “I have learnt Gurmukhi so that I can feel the pulse of the Punjabi population and get familiar with their cultural heritage and social condition.” Kejriwal has his opposition on toes every now and then with such moves.
Sampla’s coterie in troubled waters
The coterie around Union Minister Vijay Sampla is in trouble these days. Five of his followers have been booked in criminal cases in June and an inquiry is pending against the sixth. These are the persons whose pictures appear on hoardings and posters with Sampla in Jalandhar, Phagwara and Hoshiarpur and in Facebook pages. First one to be booked was Rajan Angural, a fire-brand BJP youth leader from Jalandhar for the death of a lineman of POWERCOM on duty . Second one on the list was Tejaswi Bhardwaj ,ex-Chairman of Phagwara Improvement Trust, booked on June 16 in a case of fraud with an NRI lady. The next one was ex-mandal president Pankaj Chawla, Mandal vice-president Sunil Chamm and BJP youth leader Jatin Vohra, who were booked for criminal assault on Phagwara MC Superintendent Santokh Singh. In addition to these, a complaint has been forwarded against Sampla’s right hand man Amit Taneja. Jalandhar Police Commissioner has been asked to initiate an inquiry into the complaint by BJP workers that he desecrated religious pictures and idols and put the blame on Jalandhar police. Seems June didn’t prove to be a comfortable month for the minister’s followers.
CM ki sehat ka raaz kya hai?
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is known for leading a disciplined life, remained the talk of the town among his rivals, but this time for his good health and fitness. As senior congress leader Sunil Jakhar also pointed out in Jalandhar that he was impressed by the fitness level of the CM. “We really want to know that what is the secret behind the fitness of the CM,” he had said. When mediapersons asked this question during Sangat Darshan in Nakodar, the CM, who had otherwise left the venue, rushed back to reply and said, “Kam karo sare. Asi kam karida, AC kamre vich nahi baithi da.” Surely, the rivals must have got the reply with a political punch from the CM.
Badal’s slip of tongue
During Sangat Darshan at Nakodar Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal kept on addressing the local MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala as Ajit Singh Kohar. The CM kept on doing so until he realised that it was Wadala whose name he had to mention. While the gathering picked the slip of tongue, those sitting next to the CM kept waiting that when he would mention the name of Wadala. On noticing this, the CM himself laughed out loudly and then mentioned that he actually meant Wadala. On hearing his name, Wadala heaved a sigh of relief!
A case of mistaken identity
A man who was on his regular walk to the market and was crossing by the Sector 35 Congress office where the party supporters were protesting against PM on Yoga day, was caught by cops, taking him to be a supporter of Congress. The man was lifted by the cops. However, while the cops were pushing him into the police bus he cried, “Why are you picking me, what is my fault?” The person then told the cops that he was just on his regular walk. it was only then that he was left free.
32 resolutions in just 20 minutes
Patiala Municipal Corporation has created a new history when it cleared 32 of its resolutions in just 20 minutes without any debate over it. In the general house meeting of MC even as the Congress-led opposition tried to raise their voice against it but being less in number in the 50-member house, nobody heard their point and all these resolutions concerning the development of the city were given clearance.
Contributed by Rajay Deep, Archana Phull, Rajeev Ranjan Roy, Simranjot Singh Makkar,Sunil Ruddra, Kusum Arora, Jagpreet Sandhu, Jagdeep Chopra
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