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Punjabi takes a back seat as politicians pitch themselves

May 04, 2019 06:27 AM

courtesy  TOI MAY 4

Punjabi takes a back seat as politicians pitch themselves


With the election round the corner, trust our politicians to turn any event into an opponent-bashing and self-praising mela. On Friday, Chandigarh Punjabi Manch, an organisation that promotes Punjabi language, had invited the three candidates of the city — Congress’s Pawan Kumar Bansal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Kirron Kher and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Harmohan Dhawan to discuss their views on making Punjabi an official language in Chandigarh. But Punjabi took a back seat as the candidates took the opportunity to list their achievements and question what others did.

At the event, while former Dhawan slammed Kher for not fulfilling even a single promise out of the 60 she had made in her 2014 election manifesto, Kher hinted that if any one other than her comes to power, he would have problems in “working freely” as UT comes under ministry of home affairs (MHA).

“Had Kher fulfilled her promises of her last election manifesto, she need not have released a new one this time. Of the 60 promises she made in her manifesto, not even one has been fulfilled,” said Dhawan.

Countering this, Kher said that she spent Rs 7 crore in Sarangpur village. She also elaborated on how she had stopped the demolition drive outside lal dora areas — except for a few that were demolished due to Punjab and Haryana high court orders — and how she helped in increasing the land rates. Making a pitch for herself, she said, “Since Chandigarh comes under MHA, the candidate of the party that comes to power will be able to work freely in the city. If the candidate of any other party wins, there will be problems.”

The politicians did mark the event with what they did to promote Punjabi before moving on to tackling their opponents. “I made efforts to translate sign boards of the city in Punjabi,” said Kher, adding that she had conveyed to Haryana and the Centre that if Punjabi is made official language, for officers who might not know Punjabi, translators would be made available, she said.

Not to be outdone, Congress candidate Bansal turned Punjabi into an election promise. Recalling how he has been making efforts to have sign boards translated to Punjabi from 2008 onwards and the multiple letters that he has written to prime minister, home minster and governor of Punjab to make Punjabi a state language, Bansal said that if he is elected, he would make more efforts. But it was obvious that he was waiting for his chance to take a dig at Kher. Bansal also said that the high court only ordered the demolition of houses outside lal dora because UT administration did not present the case before the court properly. “It shows the lack of political will,” he claimed.


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