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Friday, September 24, 2021

Chandigarh confidential: Friends, Foes, Friends Again

Remember the long-standing feud between Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal? Well, that’s history now. Last week, the CM called on her and the two met with a warm hug.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
August 30, 2021 6:17:36 am
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh

It is said that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics. These days, Congressmen and women in Punjab are going out on a limb to spread this message of tolerance and brotherhood. Remember the long-standing feud between Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal? Well, that’s history now. Last week, the CM called on her and the two met with a warm hug. Ditto for former PPCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa. The Rajya Sabha MP. who had taken the art of letter writing — against the Cong government — to new heights in the last few months, is now buddies with the very same CM he was grousing about.

The meeting by minister Tript Rajnder Singh Bajwa where it was decided to call for replacing the CM, was attended by legislators, some of whom were singing paeans to Capt Amarinder till a few days ago. A day later, Charanjit Singh Channi, one of the four ministers who rooted for the CM’s removal, thanked him profusely in a Cabinet meeting. Now, before you start getting all judgemental, please understand these politicians have reached a higher stage of evolution. They live by their conscience. Every day. And they do what their conscience tells them. Every day. So what if it does a lot of flip-flops. The bottomline is that they are true to themselves. It’s time the ordinary voter wedded to a political party takes a cue from them.

Dushyant, Gautam, Bhai-Bhai

This generosity of spirit runs though the region. When Haryana Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala tabled a Bill in Assembly on land acquisition, the Congress MLAs were up in arms, slamming it  for being  a “draconian anti-farmer, pro-corporate, black law aimed at ruining the farmers”. But to his surprise, his bête noire JJP MLA Ram Kumar Gautam, who had once called him a greedy man for keeping all the portfolios, came to his rescue. “Earlier it was impossible to acquire land because of the existing legal provisions”. Citing the example of Bass municipal committee in his constituency of Narnaund, Gautam said, “The committee needs four acres but no farmer is ready to give it.”

Visibly touched by this support, Dushyant addressed him as ‘Ram Kumar Gautam Ji’, a far cry from days when he had sought an explanation from Gautam for bad mouthing him. Thanks to this bill, the two are chums, another example of generous hearts.

Sidhu, Scarves & A Wristband

The winters may still be a few months away, but scarves have already announced their arrival in the sweaty plains of Punjab. The credit goes to the one and only PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Ever since the day he called on the Gandhi siblings in Delhi, he’s been sporting one along with his trademark Pathani suit. The man sure has a sense of history. In June, who would have thought that Afghanistan would soon be on top of everyone’s mind. The dapper leader also knows how to redefine fashion. The other day at Amritsar, what caught everyone’s attention was the big, fat band on his right wrist. Even as he thundered ‘itt naal itt kharka du’, all eyes were riveted to this band. What is it? A Rakhi, friendship band, or another scarf? The mystery remains unsolved.

Sukhbir & Malout Di Jutti

Speaking of style, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal is also trying to refine his. Last week, he created quite a stir among his cadre when he checked out a Punjabi jutti at a store in Malout.

Badal, whose kurta is becoming baggier by the day, could be seen hopping around for balance as he tried to slip on a jutti without bending too much. Last we heard, there was a buzz about him becoming a jutti ambassador. Who knows?

Will Kunwar Police AAP?

Once a policeman, always a policeman. So believe AAP  leaders  of Punjab, especially when it comes to former IPS officer Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh. With party supremo Arvind Kejriwal giving him the pride of place both at public functions and on billboards, some legislators are beginning to get uncomfortable. Last week in Gurdaspur, Kunwar sat in front, not too far from Kejriwal, while the legislators stood behind, struggling to get into the photo frame. The buzz is that if the party comes to power, the former cop will get the home ministry. And  given his equation with Kejriwal, he will police everyone, including the CM. While you may dismiss it as figment of a very fertile imagination, party MP Bhagwant Mann’s supporters have already stopped glorifying Kunwar for quitting the force. Meanwhile, the former cop seems to have gotten into the skin of his new avatar. That explains his mask-free appearance. Quite like most of his would-be voters.

Snake Under The Charpoy

Haryana Congress MLA Shamsher Singh Gogi is not impressed with slogans proclaiming ‘Haryana No 1’ . “There aren’t  sufficient teachers and still the future of students is bright,” fumed Gogi when a minister asserted that all is well amid a discussion on the paper leak. Gogi said: “In Class XII results of open schools, 38,000 students received just 34% marks on the basis of internal evaluation. These students won’t be able to take admission in any Haryana colleges as they require a minimum of 45 per cent. This situation has put a question mark on their future.”

Gogi ended his address by urging the government to introspect. But he put it in a much more colourful manner. “Apni charpai ke neeche danda pher ke dekho kahin saanp to nahin hai.” Seems some people took the danda part too seriously.  (With inputs from Sukhbir Siwach, Anju Agnihotri Chaba, Raakhi Jagga, Kamaldeep Singh Brar and Divya Goyal Gopal)

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