Himachal Confedential: An apple of eye

Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta owes his rise and him being given cabinet rank twice to Chief Minister Prem Prem Kumar Dhumal. An apple orchardist,Bragta got elected from Shimla in 1998 and was made a minister.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:October 10, 2011 12:02 am

An apple of eye

Horticulture Minister Narinder Bragta owes his rise and him being given cabinet rank twice to Chief Minister Prem Prem Kumar Dhumal. An apple orchardist,Bragta got elected from Shimla in 1998 and was made a minister. As a cabinet minister,he enjoys a protocol higher than his party senior and Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj. Though both hail from the apple belt,they cannot see eye to eye. This fact was amply demonstrated last week when Bragta went to preside over Shimla’s Dussehra festival at Jakhu hills after being asked to represent the chief minister. Bhardwaj stayed away from the ceremony. Even though Bhardwaj had recently mended his fences with Dhumal in the hope of getting a ministerial berth,but he cannot digest how Bragta is still being preferred.

Neither tired nor retired

Union Minister Virbhadra Singh has no plans to retire or take a back seat in Himachal politics. Many wonders the secret of his amazing energy,as he takes long journeys through tough mountain routes. Knowing that it will be impossible for the party to ignore him in the 2012 Assembly elections,“Raja Sahib” has already started testing the ground even as many chief ministerial aspirants in the Congress are only fortifying their own constituencies. Singh,this time,also has his son Vikramaditya escorting him on the tours — though he may not be eligible to contest the polls as he is just 23. But “Tikka sahib” is surely a rising star covertly eyeing at the state Youth Congress chief’s post.

Bricks and bouquets

Unique are the ways of the BJP government,which has chosen to apply different parameters to bureaucrats returning from their “overstayed” central deputations. Last month,the government literally rolled a red carpet for Bharti Sihag — a 1983-batch IAS officer — when she decided to return to the state. She was not only allowed to submit her joining report in Delhi-based Resident Commissioner’s office,but also sanctioned leave. Her posting orders issued in Shimla were modified the next day. The officer,three days ago,went on a compulsory foreign training submitting her joining report from Delhi itself. Benevolence is worth to be appreciated but it had caused heartburns among similarly placed bureaucrats — a few getting bricks and others bouquets.

Raja bows to Raja

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections,Maheshwar Singh — a BJP heavyweight and erstwhile “Raja” of Kullu — gave Virbhadra Singh a tough fight and lost by a narrow margin. Nevertheless,Maheshwar Singh always gives huge respect to the former “Raja” of Rampur Bushehsr. This time,when Virbhadra Singh went to participate in the famous Kullu Dussehra at the historic Dhalpur Maidan in Maheshwar Singh’s hometown,he bowed down and touched the feet of the Union minister. “Atithi Devo Bhava” — our guests are equal to God is Kullu’s culture,he says. But now all eyes are on Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s tour to preside over the closing ceremony of the festival. It will be interesting to watch how he receives “professor sahib” in the backdrop of their differences on him contesting next the Assembly election from Kullu — to which Dhumal is not fully agreeable.

Photo-shoot

A casual photograph of a policeman published in a vernacular newspaper while he was being treated of “mental stress” by a Korean therapist,proved costly for this gentleman. He was taken off from his day patrol duty on the Mall Road and sent to be the Police Lines. A few days later,when some photo journalists happened to be at the Police Lines covering an event,the gentleman cop refused to be photographed. “Your photograph has landed me to Police Lines,now please do not risk my job by clicking another picture,” he told a photojournalist.

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