Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chairman Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Saturday that his party “will form” Punjab’s next government as he rejected pre-election polls delisting the party in the Feb. 20 election, alleging that the pollsters were “trying to influence the people using unethical means”.
In an exchange of views with The Indian Express, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab said Congress had done “not a single developmental job” in five years of his rule except for its leaders who were vying for the position of chief minister. He claimed that Congress “will not be able to cross the 15-seat mark”.
By the way, in the worst performance ever in the 2017 elections, SAD only won 15 seats and was relegated to third position in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which has 117 members.
Sukhbir also said that unlike 2017, there was “no AAP wave” this time and that the party led by Arvind Kejriwal was limited to “pockets of Malwa” because “there is no AAP in Majha and Doaba”.
“Notice me, we will form the government,” Sukhbir said. He credited SAD for building airports, highways, bridges, thermal power stations and a canal water system in Punjab.
“I challenge the Congress government to name one school, one new road, one new bridge, one new sewage treatment plant that they’ve built in five years. They can’t even name one. That’s the worst government that Punjab ever had. They just ruined the state by fighting against each other. The whole game is how to become CM.
Navjot Sidhu and [former CM] Captain [Amarinder Singh] were fighting for the position of CM. Now Channi and Sidhu are fighting for the position of CM. Punjab is nowhere on the scene,” Sukhbir said.
Striking at the Congress and the AAP, Sukhbir said only the SAD, which was a regional party, “will fight for our state and its rights”.
“Complete control of the AAP is with Kejriwal. None of the Punjab leaders are even allowed to hold a press conference,” he remarked.
Responding to a question about the former SAD ally, Sukhbir said, “The BJP has no candidates. They just want to see a candidate with a turban. They select people without any identity and without any basis. The president of the SAD declared that all these candidates “rejected by the parties, [and] who are not complete, or who are corrupt or unable to lead from the constituency join the BJP”.
He said SAD left NDA and BJP after being “stabbed in the back” over the issue of farm laws. Rejecting that Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM), which is also in the electoral fray, could pose a political challenge to the SAD, Sukhbir said that it only included leaders of agricultural unions and that after the end of agricultural unrest , the participants in the morcha had gone back to the folds of the respective parties to which they owed allegiance.
Regarding the relationship between the Center and the State, Sukhbir said: “The Center took away all the powers of the States. States have become like municipalities… Today, wherever the Center wants them to put DE in it, what is the role of DE in any little problem? They go out with various agencies, NIA comes in from anywhere, ED comes in from anywhere… You create an environment of dictatorship rather than democracy.
Akali’s leader attributed his party’s thrashing in 2017 polls to Amarinder Singh’s “false” agricultural loan exemption promise. “He [Amarinder] said he would waive all agricultural loans, whether [taken] banks, be it arhtiyas (commissionaires), or any one-time moneylender. People thought Rs 5 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, Rs 20 lakh [loan waiver] would be a great relief for them. They never knew they would be cheated. It was a big [game] changer.
Sukhbir called the registration of the drug case against party leader Bikram Singh Majithia before the election a “fake” for which he said the Congress government sacked two DGPs and Bureau of Investigation chiefs each after saying “they couldn’t register” a case that was “completely untrue”. ”.
Listing health and education as top priorities should the SAD-BSP alliance form the government, Sukhbir said, “Education means government education. I want to move from quantitative education to quality education. [We will construct] a medical school in each district and a 500-bed hospital in each district. It will also motivate people to educate their children to become doctors.
On a question about climate change and the depletion of groundwater, Sukhbir said, “It’s a very big issue, but everyone is pushing it under the rug. In fact, this is the most important problem. The way the water level drops in Punjab, in 20 years it will be a desert.
He added that he had a plan to charge groundwater along the Sutlej and Beas River, “because the water level went down to seven hundred feet to eight hundred feet.”
feet”. Sukhbir added, “Secondly, I will now focus entirely on solar energy and I want the industry to turn to solar energy as well.” He further stated that instead of paying in cash to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for electricity subsidies, “I will set up a parallel solar power plant on behalf of other companies and we will transfer this electricity to the PSPCL. It will all be self-financed.”