INTENSE LOBBYING is on within the Congress party as it tries to finalise its list of candidates for the Punjab assembly elections with the interests of a few heavyweights pitted against each other. Former Union minister Manish Tewari is learnt to be keen to contest from Ludhiana East constituency. But Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu is said to be supporting someone else from that seat. Manpreet Singh Badal, who joined Congress earlier this year, wants to contest from Bathinda but Captain Amarinder Singh is keen to field Surinder Singla from there. Captain’s one-family-one-ticket rule is also being put to test. Two cousins, Deepinder Singh Dhillon and Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, who quit the Akali Dal to join the Congress, are demanding tickets but other contenders are citing this rule.
UTTAR PRADESH Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s promise to distribute smartphones to certain categories of population if his government gets another term has raised the eyebrows within the opposition BJP. A few BJP leaders, led by Meerut Lok Sabha MP Rajendra Agrawal, have rushed to the Election Commission complaining a violation of election code of conduct by the Samajwadi Party. The code of conduct kicks in only after the election schedule is announced, but the BJP leaders have argued that the decision of the UP government was akin to bribing the voters ahead of the polls as the government had already begun the registration of people eligible for the smart phones.
THERE ARE existing guidelines of the central as well as state governments prohibiting liquor vends along the national highways in the country. Hearing a bunch of petitions, the Supreme Court was Wednesday told by a lawyer that it would be difficult to have a liquor shop in hilly areas that could comply with these norms because of the terrain. Heading the bench, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur came up with a novel idea to meet the demand. “Why cannot there be home delivery? Home delivery could be explored by the authorities for hilly areas,” said the CJI.
In Lighter Vein
OVERHEARD IN the Central Hall of Parliament: a BJD MP, on being asked about the latest position of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on demonetisation, compared their situation to that of people who had landed in a theatre screening the wrong film. “They both bought tickets to watch the movie ‘Fight against black money’, but the plot and story line has changed to ‘cashless economy’ and ‘digital payments’. They must be wondering whether to enjoy the movie or come out looking for another auditorium.”