Chandigrah Confidential: Political shootout

It was meant to be a sporting extravaganza for lovers of shooting but that didn’t stop Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia from taking aim at,of all people,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Updated: April 8, 2014 3:47:11 pm

Political shootout

It was meant to be a sporting extravaganza for lovers of shooting but that didn’t stop Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia from taking aim at,of all people,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At the concluding ceremony of an inter school shooting championship in Narangwal,Ludhiana — organised by the Punjab Rifle Shooting Association (Majithia is its chairman) — Khel Ratna awardee Ranjan Sodhi used his speech to emphasise that Punajbis had tremendous potential for the sport and hence all that was needed was proper infrastructure. “When we practice in Italy,a lot of Punjabis turn up at the range much to the amazement of the Italians,” Sodhi said. It,however,woke up Majithia. “Sodhiji is right,some Punjabis have so much potential that without even winning the MP elections they can stick to the PM chair for 10 years,” shot Majithia and Sodhi’s expressions said it all afterwards.

SAD’s Pied Piper

Unlike her husband,Sukhbir Badal’s lacklustre performance as a Parliamentarian,Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal is quite the head-turner. As if her high-voltage and high-decibel participation in Parliament debates is not enough,she is the Pied Piper to the four other SAD MPs,who tail her in and out of Parliament. The four do not mind that they hardly get time to speak as she does all the talking and seem to love their clear-cut job of nodding in agreement and raising slogans when she does. Contrast this to Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa,who the Badal bahu locks horns within the Parliament every session. He is hardly followed by any of the 13 Punjab Congress MPs. Like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,he goes humming,“ekla chalo re (walk alone)”.

True-blue Jamai Raja

HE MAY have Congress in his veins but the Jamai Raja of the Congress party,Adaish Pratap Singh Kairon,is a “true-blue” Akali. His blue cards for the atta-dal scheme were adjudged a poll winner by the Opposition Congress in the last Assembly polls. The cards were picture-perfect with both the sasur — CM Parkash Singh Badal — and the jamai (Kairon) ensuring their presence on each blue card. Now as the Congress government at the Centre has come out with its own Food Security Act,Kairon refuses to talk of its impact on his atta-dal scheme. A businessman too,Kairon also does not want to ruffle the feathers of the union ministries he regularly deals with.

Saying it in verse

“Kaanton ko mat nikal chaman se e baghban,yeh bhi gulon ke saath khile hain bahar mein”,lamented Minister of State for Health Santosh Chaudhary as she expressed her displeasure at a state BJP leader’s speech that made no mention of her and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at a function in Amritsar. Chandhary said the names of SAD and BJP leaders were announced from the dais but there was no mention of Azad and hers,despite the fact that Azad had come to inaugurate the health projects for which the function had been organised.

Give us a jhoonga

DEMANDING projects related to the health sector,Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal told Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad that a little assistance from the Centre would be enough for Punjab given the Union health ministry’s budget. “Tusin taan saanu roonga jhoonga vi de deo taan saade layi kaafi hovega,” Badal told Azad,explaining that roonga jhoonga was a complimentary gift that shopkeepers handed over to children.

Badal’s biography

PUNJAB Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal seems to be in the mood to tell his story the easy way — hiring an author for his biography. Badal hinted at this at the launch of a biography on the CMD of Hero cycles O P Munjal. After listening to excerpts of Munjal’s life,Badal said: “My life was also full of hard work. I started as a sarpanch and now I am the chief minister for the fifth time. I am also thinking about a biography on myself. Though I never get time to read books because of my busy schedule,but I will love to read this book provided they give me one.” Kumar.

Point to make

FORMER Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh seems to have been taken aback by the sudden change of heart in his flock with many of his die hard loyalists shifting allegiance to his bête noire and the incumbent PPCC Partap Singh Bajwa. Rumours are rife in Doaba that Captain was deeply hurt when his seniormost minister during his term at the helm and a co-accused in infamous City Centre Scam sang paeans to Bajwa’s stewardship. It seems to set off alarm bells with Captain stepping up efforts to keep his now-trimmed-down flock together. A leader said that Captain didn’t want the party high command to get a whiff that his loyalists have been deserting him.

Organic farming

A GROUP of farmers say that they were hurt by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s attitude towards organic farming. Having gone to meet him at a public function,a known progressive farmer in the state said that when the group appealed to the chief minister to crack down on dealers of pesticides and insecticide in the state as their use may lead to cancer,the chief minister instead of paying heed is supposed to have said: “Chhaddo eh gallan,cancer te America Vich vi hunda hai” (leave such talk,cancer occurs even in America). The farmers said the chief minister while publically exhorting organic farming in the state shows no such enthusiasm in private.

Join the party

THE chaotic Congress meeting at Yamunanagar left state unit chief Phool Chand Mullana red-faced as irate supporters of Union Minister for Social Welfare and Empowerment Kumari Selja did not permit the veteran leader to speak by raising a storm over the alleged regional bias and neglect of Yamunanagar by the present government. Mullana,who was visibly upset,showed his anguish at journalists covering the event. He got so agitated over the questions being put to him that he asked the journalists: “You behave like party members. Why don’t you join the party?” Well,the journalists whom he wanted to snub might not be joining the Congress in the literal sense but they of course had joined the ‘party’ to get a juicy story.

Silence is golden

IN ITS reply,demanding dismissal of a petition filed by murder convict Dharam Pal demanding stay on his execution,the Haryana government has chosen to remain silent on the cardinal point raised by the man on death row. That his acquittal in the rape case following which he had murdered five members of the “rape” victim was not brought to the knowledge of the President while deciding his mercy petition. Taking this plea,Dharam Pal had,in April,moved the High Court demanding stay on his hanging. In his reply,filed last week,Haryana has neither chosen to rebut nor accept the contention raised by Dharam Pal. On the other hand,no response filed by the Centre has resulted in yet another extension of stay on Pal’s hanging till October 28.

IAS war

It is being looked upon as the ultimate compliment that a politicians can pay a bureaucrat. Normally held in disdain by each other,politicians and bureaucrats have always had an uncomfortable relationship. But the high profile tussle between two politicians to get their close relatives into the lone nominated IAS post in Punjab tells a different story. While Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka is rooting for his daughter-in-law,Vidhan Sabha Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon wants his son to be posted to the post. The result: the committee that has to choose the nominee is yet to take a decision even after more than a month. The real IAS officers are watching the show with much amusement. This round they have won. For sure.

Not man enough?

It’s not for nothing that people say that Punjab politics is run on rhetoric and mindless statements. The latest in the series of such statements is the one given by Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia. Taking on Congress leaders for accusing the SAD for the state’s dismal fiscal position,Majithia said the falling rupee is a sure shot sign of the Centre’s wrong economic policies. So far so good. Then Majithia suddenly tells Congress leaders that they should be “man enough” to admit their mistakes. Is Majithia trying to say that Congressmen are not men enough? Something about this statement takes us all back to his memorable rich-in-expletives speech in the Assembly’s Budget Session.

Flood politics

In Punjab,the flood situation seems to be sorted out well constituency wise and not district wise. Sadly,this time,Chief Minister’s Parkash Singh Badal’s own constituency of Lambi is the worst affected. This has given all officials of irrigation department,drainage wing,disaster management and flood relief an opportunity to impress the CM. Starting with principal secretary (Irrigation) to the SDOs,everyone was seen camping at Muktsar supervising flood operations.

Vijay Yatra

HJC chief and MP Kuldeep Bishnoi has devised a novel way of making his presence felt in the state. In wake of the upcoming Vidhan Sabha polls in Haryana,Bishnoi has announced that he will spend a night each in the residence of people belonging to all the 36 castes. The campaign,named “Vijay Yatra”,will commence from October 6 — the birth anniversary of Bhajan Lal. It will continue for 54 days. Kuldeep’s family members will also do the same.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App