Photo-op with PM
The Punjab Congress leaders have found a new outing – meeting the Prime Minister. Learning a lesson from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal,who have been incessantly wooing not only the PM but also his Cabinet colleagues to secure grants,now almost all the Congress netas are making a beeline for the Prime Ministers Office in New Delhi. With defeat in Assembly polls ringing alarm bells,MPs such as Ravneet Bittu,newly-elected MLA Parminder Singh Pinky and those seeking a parliamentary ticket for their kin (read MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi) met the PM separately. The photo-op was then all over the media to display the clout factor. A delegation of all state MLAs and MPs too met him recently. The man matters,octogenarian Badal has finally taught them.
Jinxed press conferences
At a recent news conference hosted by Punjab Food and Supplies Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon,a journalist remarked,Thank God,at least one of the new ministers has decided to hold a press conference. On this somebody pointed out that Tota Singh had held one a few days ago. After hearing the comparison being drawn,Kairon was quick to join hands and request the scribes: Baksh do meinu ji (have mercy on me). I dont want to go the same way.
Who can beat the department that caters to livestock in the art of butter polishing? At a recent seminar to observe World Veteniary Day,the entire Punjab Animal Husbandary Department department – from the minister to the officials – devoted a large part of their speech to thank Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal for gracing it with his presence and scripting Punjabs new destiny. While minister Gulzar Singh Ranike called him the young visionary,chief parliamentary secretary Des Raj Ghugga to sang paeans to Sukhbir. Even financial commissioner JS Sandhu and director HS Sandha lavished enough praise to make the occasion utterly-butterly. Sukhbir took it all in with relish. After all,who does not like savouring the humble butter.
A senior officer posted in the Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hoodas office always keep speculating about his possible transfer. Mera kaya hai jaldi hi tabadla aadesh anne walal hai, he told some journalists recently. It a different matter the he figures on the list of officials set to fly to Israel on a tour next week. The man behind Hoodas image building campaign has started feeling insecure after a new set of officers have gained proximity to the Chief Minister .
Power of RTI
The Right to Information Act has become a pain for many officers. Recently during a departmental meeting,an Information Officer took a dig at his colleague for filing RTIs applications relating to the department. Is ne to main gira ke pittugan jab ye agli baar application layega. (I will beat him when he next comes to me with an application). The head of the department who was present,kept smiling rather than snubbing the official. The very next day,the RTI freak in question submitted another application and came out of the department unscathed and smiling. Thats the power of RTI.
Much is in a name
He may have fallen on bad times,and it is all the more obvious as indicted Punjab minister Tota Singh has become a butt of the jokes. Some of the quick takes on him: Tota Singhs wings have been clipped. He is grounded,yet to be caged. Blue times for Tota Singh. However,those close to him still remember the days when media used to say Tota Singh flies high.
Three more to go ?
After the recent transfer of two High Court Judges,Justice Alok Singh and Justice Nirmaljit Kaur,available information suggests that three more Punjab and Haryana High Court Judges are on the verge of being transferred. While two of the three,including a woman Judge,have their kith and kin practising in the High Court,the third one,they say,will be a surprise.
With sword hanging
A large number of law officers posted in the Punjab Advocate General office are all set to be dropped. With Punjab government contemplating downsizing of the AG office,the law officers who are favourites of the former ministers in the Akali-BJP government are apprehending their exit. With over 50 law officers to be dropped,the fear of losing their berth,for BJP and Akali appointees,is proportionate to their ratio (60:40) in the office. It is believed that the list of BJP appointees is final and will be followed by Akali list . Everyone has kept their fingers crossed.
Wait and watch
Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majithia,who unsuccessfully contested as Congress rebel from Majitha after being denied party ticket,is crying vendetta and says his brother Jagwinderpal Singh is at the receiving end. Jagwinderpal was booked in a case of attempt to murder in the first week of January. While Lalli terms it a vendetta case registered at the behest of Akalis,the latter hit back by saying that the case was filed when the code of conduct was in place in Punjab and things were in the control of Election Commission of India. Lalli has been alleging that ever since court granted pre-arrest bail to Jagwinderpal while directing him to join investigations,the police are making his brother wait in police stations from morning till evening without even asking a single question. .
Police feels the pinch
Faridkot police is not happy with their MLA these days. Reason: the allocated liquor quotas have been shut down. Deep Malhotra,MLA and a well known liquor baron of the area,is said to have had fixed quotas for the police personnel of the district in accordance with their ranks. But now ensconced safely in the government,Malhotra has stopped most of the quotas. An SHO was heard complaining,We thought now that he (Malhotra) has won,getting liquor will be easy but the reverse has happened. The MLA explains the exercise as a means to bring discipline amongst the force.
power brokers time
With Municipal Council election round the corner Congress leaders and workers are out looking for that one powerful man in their area who can ensure them a ticket. On the other hand,for the power brokers,it is time to settle scores. One such incident relates to a councillor-turned MLA in Ludhiana. Despite opposition from within his party,he won the Assembly elections and is now counted as a powerful MLA. His office can be seen full of ticket aspirants with the MLA openly ticking off candidates whom he suspects to have opposed him during his campaign.
Great Expectations belied
Young and women officers are generally considered to be more receptive and sensitive towards the public issues but not in case of Nawanshahr district,which has complete dominance of women officers from civil to police administration. Leave apart listening to public grievances personally,most of the times these woman officers are not even accessible on phone. Even media persons fail to connect to them. People even say that during public meetings,which takes place occasionally,they hardly pay any attention towards the issues.
During his recent visit to the border districts of Punjab,Union Minister Jairam Ramesh was very particular about his looks while getting clicked. He would frequently take off or put on his sunglasses so as to give different poses and was even seen sipping Diet Coke while interacting with villagers. In the villages full of dust,he ensured that his white Kurta Pajama did not spoiled.
Love at first sight
At a seminar on rural development policies recently,Union Minister Jairam Ramesh and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badals camaraderie was quite visible. Badal said it was love at first sight for him when he met Ramesh. Badal said that he could not have done so much for Punjab if he was in Rameshs chair. Returning the compliments Ramesh said that it might be love at first sight for the CM,but he had known a lot about him for many years. Ramesh further quipped that the first meeting with Badal proved very expensive as then he was the Union Minister for Environment,and the Punjab CM got nearly Rs 500 crore sanctioned from him for the state.