Punjab Diary: Political retreat!

Bathinda: After his defeat in the recent Assembly elections, former Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has stayed away from active politics and chosen to go abroad. Even his office in the city seldom sees visitors. To make matters worse, his core group of leaders that enjoyed good positions during his tenure has jumped ship, joining his becirc;te noire Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, who was elevated as the PCC president recently. During the polls, Warring had openly appealed to people to defeat all Badals, including Manpreet.

At cross purposes

Ludhiana: Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann recently launched an anti-corruption helpline, urging people to share complaints by uploading video/audio recordings of such incidents to support their claim. However, a poster recently came up at the Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, “warning” visitors against indulging in videography or clicking of pictures on the premises. This not only goes against the CM’s policy of making Punjab corruption-free, but also makes things harder for citizens to lodge anti-graft complaints.

Aiming for the sky

Gurdaspur: Brimming with youthful exuberance, Arjun Partap Singh, son of ex-MLA Fateh Jung Bajwa, is indeed chasing a Himalayan dream. Earlier this month, he teamed up with Nepalese mountaineer Nimsdai Purja, the protagonist of movie ’14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible’ and started chasing his dream of scaling Mount Everest. Ten days later, he climbed to an altitude of 22,000 feet. The summit is at 28,000 feet. Beyond 22,000 feet, Arjun was not allowed to go as he didn’t have the permissions from local authorities. He has now chalked out an elaborate training schedule under supervision of leading mountaineers. He plans to scale the summit sometime next year.

Cong’s predicament

Gurdaspur: Navjot Singh Sidhu continues to befuddle the political class. Everybody is guessing his next move. His party colleagues claim he is creating a situation where the AICC expels him. He can then play the ‘victim card’. Others say he is confused and groping in the dark. That he has the necessary resilience and toughness to bounce back from any situation is beyond doubt. His decision to skip Amrinder Singh Raja Warring’s installation ceremony as PCC chief and subsequently meeting CM Bhagwant Mann are only adding to the confusion. Cricket writer Harsha Bhogle once wrote: “Sidhu has the mind of a poet and the hardness of a rock.” Let us see if he lives up to Bhogle’s words.

At the receiving end

Amritsar: A pair of doves had a ‘taste’ of VIP culture on a hot May evening during the inauguration of an art installation at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama, amid the sprawling Rambagh garden, here. Mayor Karamjeet Rintu was supposed to unveil a Mother’s Day art installation and release a pair of doves on the occasion, which got delayed by over an hour with the entire VIP cavalcade coming in late. After a wait of over an hour, the birds finally got their moment of freedom and the VIP photo-op!

Contributed by Sukhmeet Bhasin, Manav Mander, Ravi Dhaliwal amp; Neha Saini

Punjab Diary: Political retreat!