Chandigarh confidential

DGP Saini's photo-op

The Punjab Police is getting media-savvy and how. It all started with the police headquarters in Chandigarh sporting a refurbished media lounge. Now, DGP Sumedh Singh Saini is leading the effort from the front. With Cabinet minister and Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal's brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia by his side, Saini was all over the front pages of newspapers, sympathising with the father of a serving officer, from his department, who had been shot dead by a local Akali leader. The DGP's office not only ensured a photo op but also press coverage of how Saini did not sleep till the culprits were behind bars. The cameras flashed again as the top Punjab cop addressed a press conference in Amritsar to announce the arrests. From bad press to good, Saini has indeed come a long way.

What Haryana won't tell

The Congress is learnt to have avoided roping in Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to campaign in the Himachal Pradesh polls due to the DLF-Robert Vadra controversy. Even the Haryana chief minister's Gujarat visit seemed unlikely till last week. So neither his confidantes nor the Haryana PR department, which had gone on an overdrive after the state was placed first in several parameters of the 11th five year plan, could tell if their boss was Gujarat-bound. Even the Gujarat Congress said Hooda's schedule was tentative, while the chief minister remained tight-lipped till the nod came. It seems that it takes just one Khemka to undo all the credit earned for making Haryana number one!

De-facto thanedars calling shots

Several senior police officials admit that PPP chief Manpreet Singh Badal's observation that jathedars (Akali leaders) have been acting as thanedars (police officials) and are calling the shots, was an accurate assessment of the situation. A senior police officer said that this has led to increased political interference and contributed to the deteriorating law and order situation. Officials also point out that the re-constitution of police sub-divisions and thanas in accordance with assembly seats has made officers at the cutting-edge level - DSPs and SHOs - even more amenable to the wishes of ruling party MLAs and halka incharges (constituency incharges), where there are opposition MLAs.

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