Maharaja walks, PR machinery talks

When it comes to ingenuity, Punjab Congress' PR machinery wins hands down. State president Captain Amarinder Singh is still the maharaja and any attempt by him to meet the aam aadmi warrants nothing less than a press statement. So much so, that when Captain walked through the main market in Moga during poll campaigning on Friday, the party's machinery had this to say: "Capt Amarinder walked through one of busiest and main markets in Moga for over an hour and spoke to people. He got down from his car and started walking in the market much to the pleasant surprise of people. His security staff had a tough job controlling people who had surrounded him, wanted to shake hands and get photographed." Need we say more!

Band, baaja , baraat!

"The Congress' runaway bride (Joginderpal Jain) has become the Akali Dal dulha (groom) and for both, band, baaja and baraat has descended on Moga," a Congress leader summed up the procession of VIPs from both parties camping in Moga for the bypoll along with all their paraphanelia - SUVs, imported eatables, drinks et al. "The modest town does not have many good eateries, clubs or other means of entertainment. Some are even thanking Jain for Moga's new-found importance and the free entertainment," quipped a Akali leader.

Leadership crisis

With the Haryana Assembly's budget session set to begin on February 22, speculation is rife on who will lead the Opposition in the House. Leader of Opposition Om Prakash Chautala's arrest on corruption charges has virtually left the INLD headless these days. Though the senior Chautala's bail application is pending in the Delhi High Court and INLD leaders are keeping their fingers crossed, talks are already on to pick his replacement at least for the budget session. While the party chief's younger son Abhey Chautala seems to have taken over the reins for now, the INLD has another choice in Ashok Arora, who had served as the Vidhan Sabha Speaker when the party was in power. While some senior INLD advisors and leaders opine that Ashok Arora should be designated as the party's face in the forthcoming budget session, the stumbling block is that the party has always been led by a member of the Chautala family. With such history, Abhey Chautala at least stands a fair chance to lead the debate as a deputy leader of opposition

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