Sunday, 23 February 2020

Parkash Singh Badal As Punjab’s Leader Critical Reflections

Updated: December 28, 2013 2:44 pm

The last three decades have been witness to a significant shift in the nature of India’s politics and economy in the sense that regional states have emerged as the platforms, where politics and economy increasingly unfold. This has coincided with the rise of the state-level parties. Even the state units of the national parties have developed distinct identities. While the autonomy of the states and the rise of the state parties have received much attention, there has not been much appreciation of the critical need to study the nature of state-level political leadership that has re-emerged in a big way in the recent decades. This is despite the fact that a study of political leaders’ actions, values, rhetoric, policies, and styles can be quite useful in ‘understanding and also explaining political change and development’ of a particular state during the life and times of the ‘leader’. The recent focus on public policy/public management and governance has also led to greater recognition of the complexities and challenges faced by the political leadership. Political leadership studies also help in analysing ‘the changing social composition of the political elite’ as well as the ‘evolving nature of representation’ in the state under study. Even in economic domain, there has always been a close link between the performance of a particular state and that state leadership. To substantiate the argument, one can refer to the recent assembly elections victories of BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which have been attributed even by the national leaders to the leadership quality of Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh respectively. In India today, Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, Jayalalithaa, Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee as chief ministers are the ones who wield enormous power and influence within their states, irrespective of the fact whether they belong to the national or state-level parties. Then, there are ‘lesser’ leaders like Lalu Yadav, Karunanidhi, Chandrababu Naidu, Sharad Pawar, Ramvilas Paswan, Ajit Singh or Mayawati, who as founder-presidents or ‘natural heirs’ have been waiting in the wings to bounce back. In the fragmented electoral system of today, it is the state-level leader, irrespective of being affiliated to a national or state party, who in consultation with other minor state-level leaders has been instrumental in shaping the form and content of the party agenda and manifesto, distribution of party tickets, tenor of election campaigns, alliance-building and modes of distribution of patronage among the masses as well as party functionaries. What adds to the clout of the state-level party bosses is simply to do with the sheer size of the territory and population of regional states, which are comparable to whole countries of Europe. Besides carrying the coercive power of the state, the winning leaders also gain access to huge political resources, organisation, money and votes.

Thinking about the state-level leadership in recent India brings our attention to the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal, who stands out for being not only the five-time Chief Minister of the borderland state of Punjab but also being one of the senior-most active political leaders of consequence in the country like Karunanidhi. Badal in his long political career has shown remarkable resilience in surmounting formidable challenges that especially came during the difficult days of militancy when at one time Akali Dal leadership went in the hands of the extremist elements led by Simranjit Singh Mann. Badal was also on the margin of Akali politics during the ascendance of Surjit Singh Barnala in Akali politics. Showing remarkable political skill to negotiate and make bridges, Badal managed to return to achieve leadership of Akali Dal in collaboration with another formidable Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who had the distinction of being elected Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee for the longest time since its formation in 1920. What was remarkable about the resurgence of Badal, who had been the Akali Chief Minister in 1977-1980 in alliance with Jan Sangh, was that it also helped the Akali Dal in transforming itself from being a panthic party taking up primarily the Sikh cause to become a multi-ethnic party for Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat. Under his leadership that has remained unchallenged within Akal Dal after the assembly elections victory in 1997 and the demise of Tohra, there has been a welcome shift in the electoral politics of SAD that was first visible in the 1997 elections in the sense that politico-economic issues (development, roads, bridges, octroi, free power and water, traders’ demands, water for Punjab farmers, fiscal governance, institutionalised corruption) have for long firmly replaced the ethno-religious issues (read Panthic Issues – a product of gurudwara politics) like Anandpur Sahib resolution, transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, anti-Sikh riots or fake encounters. The end of militancy might have come under Congress regime led by Sardar Beant Singh but revival and consolidation of formal democratic institutions have taken place under the watch of Badal during its 1997-2002 stint. Badal leadership also witnessed the Akal Dal to focus on Punjabi identity, as mentioned above, rather than the Panthic identity as has been reflected in the common minimum programmes of Akali Dal and BJP since 1997. The Akali Dal and BJP despite having opposed ideological position on many issues have had most fruitful alliance. If it has been due to the fact that the two parties complement each other’s support base in social and spatial terms (Hindu/Sikh; urban-rural) then it has also been due to the sagacity of the leadership of Badal, who has always had most cordial relationship with the top leadership of the BJP and has always managed to defuse the tension that keeps cropping up at the state level.


“We have ventured to put Punjab into the orbit of high growth trajectory”


28-12-2013Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in an interview to Deepak Kumar Rath, speaks about relations between Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party, his government’s policies for the all-round development of Punjab and several other issues. Excerpts:

What is the motto of the rally at Jagraon, Moga, and what is the expected number of people to attend it? What message do you want to give through this rally?

■             The SAD-BJP alliance is organising a mega rally at Jagraon to mobilise public opinion to oust the most inefficient, corrupt and anti-people Congress-led UPA government at Centre to pave the way for installation of BJP-led NDA government to ensure country’s overall development and prosperity with a focus on holistic growth of states, which has been considerably ignored by the UPA government during its regime.

We expect over five lakh people to attend this historic rally and elaborate arrangements are being made to make it a memorable event in the history of Punjab polity, perhaps one of the biggest rally ever in the country.

We want to give a clarion call to the people from every nook and corner of the state to show the door to the Congress, which has miserably failed at all fronts–be it agriculture, industry, power, education, healthcare and even in mitigating the hardships being faced by the common man (aam aadmi), for whom it claims itself to be votary to safeguard his rights.

Is there any plan for the Akali-BJP alliance to have more public meetings of Narendra Modi before the forthcoming general elections?

■             Surely, we would organise many more such rallies to sensitise the people to cast their franchise in favour of the SAD-BJP candidates during the next Lok Sabha polls to achieve an ultimate goal to install the NDA government at Centre.

Do you feel Narendra Modi would do miracles in Punjab also as a strong nationalist leader?

■             Yes, of course, Mr. Modi is BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and has now emerged as the consensus national leader amongst the masses, who is extremely capable of transforming the destiny of nation besides cherishing the aspirations of our countrymen. As you are aware that SAD has enviable popularity in Punjab, for which it was voted to power consecutively for the second time in the last assembly elections and now Mr. Modi’s charisma would further consolidate the electoral prospects in favour of the SAD-BJP alliance in the forthcoming general elections.

 

How do you react to the last assembly elections in Punjab?

■             I have already mentioned that the SAD-BJP alliance was voted to power for the record second time only due to communal harmony, peace and amity in the state besides unprecedented development and prosperity during its previous term and we are duty bound to fulfill all the promises made with the people of the state with utmost sincerity, zeal and commitment.

We fought these elections exclusive only on the plank of development, whereas the state Congress leadership had hardly any agenda to pursue except indulging in mudslinging and criticising us without any rhyme and reason.

Recently your government convened an investors’ meet at Chandigarh. What is the total amount of MoUs signed? Will the investors really come or would they be stagnant at MoU stage?

■             During the recently concluded Progressive Punjab Investors Summit at Mohali, as many as 117 MoUs were inked involving an investment of over Rs 65,000 crore. We are committed to ensuring execution of all these projects because we don’t want them to remain merely on paper rather they should actually come on the ground. We have already constituted Punjab State Investment Bureau under my Chairmanship and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal as its co-Chairman to facilitate the potential investors. Apart from this, a senior IAS officer–Mr. Anirudh Tiwari–has also been appointed as CEO with all powers to clear the projects in fast mode and therefore none should have any doubt or apprehension about the implementation of these projects in the right earnest.

 

Why is Punjab lagging behind in industry sector?

■             Punjab has been lagging behind in industry due to wrong policies of Centre and continued step-motherly treatment meted out to it, as our state was denied an industrial package despite repeated requests while our neighbouring states like J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand were extended the similar one, thereby resulting in decay of our indigenous industry on one hand and flight of capital on the other.

Do you feel that the Central government is giving a step-motherly treatment to your plans for development of Punjab in various sectors?

■             Yes, Centre has been discriminating against Punjab from day one in all the sectors. It has denied us an industrial package, thereby affecting our industry to a considerable extent besides agriculture by adopting anti-farmer policies to force the beleaguered peasantry to end their lives. Centre is deliberately controlling everything related to agriculture–be it fixation of MSP, determining the agricultural inputs like fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, diesel and regulating all agrarian policies without taking us into confidence.

What is your plan for growth of agriculture and education sector in the state?

■             On the agriculture front we have initiated big plans of crop diversification to reduce our cultivable area under paddy. New farm practices coupled with ultra-modern machinery, solar pumps for irrigation and better marketing network have put Punjab in agriculture sector far ahead of other states. We are planning to organise an agriculture summit on February 23 and 24, 2014, to provide a healthy platform to the progressive farmers, agro-processing industry, agri-experts, horticulturists and exporters to ensure a level playing field for all the stakeholders to emerge Punjab as a front runner state in the field of agriculture. We are also focusing our attention on developing allied farming like fisheries, bee-keeping, piggery, goatary besides agro-forestry and horticulture to give further impetus to agriculture. Concerted efforts are afoot to evolve farmer-oriented policies to motivate the farming community to go for value addition crops like cotton, sugarcane, maize, edible oils etc. to supplement their income as compared to conventional crops.

We have made phenomenal progress in the field of education and thus proudly captured the third position in the educational infrastructure across the country. As many as 17 new colleges, nine new universities besides prestigious institutions like Indian School of Business, Mohali, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Central University at Bathinda have been opened. Six new residential schools are being set up at Bathinda, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Mohali to provide facilities at par with convent schools including boarding and lodging to the meritorious students free of cost. Likewise, as many as 72,000 school teachers have been recruited. Dr. Hargobind Khurana scholarship scheme has been launched to provide Rs.30,000 per annum as scholarship to economically poor and bright students in the rural areas securing above 80 per cent marks in class 10th.

 

Recently Punjab University became the number one University of India by a survey, but the primary education sector is lagging behind. Comment.

■             We have focused our attention on providing quality education to the students in the primary schools keeping in view its paramount importance being the foundation of school education system. We have recruited requisite number of teachers besides upgrading the buildings and infrastructure. Our aim is to produce best quality students from the elementary, upper and senior secondary schools so that they could cater as a feeder source in higher education, i.e. colleges and universities.

 

What is your vision for Punjab and where do you see India’s future at international arena?

■             Punjab has remained an oasis of peace and communal harmony in the country during the past seven years. We have ventured to put Punjab into the orbit of high growth trajectory so that it could emerge as a front runner state in the country. Punjab is already at top in agriculture and soon it would lead the nation in industry too. I take this opportunity to apprise you that Punjab has become power surplus state with the commissioning of its prestigious Talwandi Sabo and Rujpura Power Plants and soon it would propel industrialisation across the state.

How many Lok Sabha seats would NDA get from Punjab?

■             We will certainly win all the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab and contribute significantly in the formation of the NDA government at Centre. I don’t expect, rather I am confident, that NDA would achieve absolute majority to form a stable government, which would last for next full five years.

 


28-12-2013

Badal as a pragmatic politician has the acumen to understand the limitation of the Akali Dal on several counts and to ensure lasting alliance with the BJP as was evident in 1997 elections when despite getting the majority on its own the Akali Dal under the leadership of Badal invited the BJP to join the government. First, the party has been identified primarily as a party supported by the Sikhs especially the rural Jat Sikh landed peasantry. Second, the Sikh community itself is not a homogeneous community consisting of different castes and also is divided on class and regional lines. These differences have steadily increased in the aftermath of the Green Revolution. Third, there are equally sharp divisions among the Sikhs on politico-ideological lines, as a significant section of the community has been traditionally voting for the Congress. The decent vote share the Congress maintains among all sections of society, especially the dalits who constitute about 31 per cent of the total population, does make up for its disadvantage among the Jat and Khatri Sikhs. Fourth, Akalis have always been divided among several factions especially when in power due to conflict over party policies as well as the leadership.


“‘PARKASH’ IS THE SYMBOL OF PROSPERITY FOR PUNJAB”


28-12-2013Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP, Rajya Sabha, Shiromani Akali Dal, in an exclusive interview to Sorabh Aggarwal, speaks on different issues related to his party. Excerpts:

Being the oldest ally of BJP, what is your opinion on the recent election results of the four states?

■             See, our relation with BJP is very old. We were there with them when it was Jan Sangh, and we are still with them, when it is BJP. The recent election results have shown that there is a Modi wave in the country, and people have realised that Narendra Modi has proved it that he is the most dynamic leader of our country. Narendra Modi has already proved his credentials in Gujarat. People of the entire India now want to see him as the Prime Minister of India. Starting from the common man to intellectuals and industrialists, all sections of society have reposed their trust in him. So, we as one of the oldest ally of NDA want to disseminate the Modi Mantra to each nook and cranny of our nation. Of course, we would fullfil the dreams of the common man and are determined that the NDA wins a two-third majority, so that Narendra Modi could make India a developed and prosperous country.

There is a growing discontent among the ground-level workers of BJP in Punjab. They allege that SAD has dominated the urban centres and BJP has shrunk to rural areas. What will you say about these allegations?

■             I don’t think there is any discontent. All the departments including Urban Development Department, health, local bodies and other departments are with them. Mr. Parkash Singh Badal has always taken BJP into confidence on everything and I don’t think there is any discontent between us in Punjab.

Recently Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s 86th birthday was celebrated. What is your reaction

on that?

■             See, Badalji is the leader, who has given his all for the country. That he is still active in the politics at this age is a proof that how much he loves his state and people and still yearns for the betterment of the people. Under Badalji’s dynamic leadership, Punjab is treading the path of prosperity. Punjab is a state of agriculture, but Badalji understands that agriculture alone can’t bring prosperity in people’s life, so now he is focussing on the industrial sector. For creating a positive environment for investors in Punjab, he has organised Progressive Punjab Investors Summit recently. Many industry stalwarts came to the summit and showed interest in investing in the state. All this has been done by Badal Sahab for the betterment of the people of the state.

Excessive use of fertilizers in agriculture is leading to the problem of cancer in the state. What steps are you taking to curb this problem?

■             Yes it is true that we are facing this problem. Excessive use of fertilizers has contaminated the ground water. Due to this, there is a problem of drinking water. The government is working on this problem extensively from rural to urban areas. Special arrangement is being made to clear the sewers. Availability of drinking water is the prime focus. For curbing the problem of cancer in the state, we have invited TATA and many other hospitals to set up their facilities in the state.

The biggest problem of Punjab is the storage of grains. Production is ample in the state, but due to shortage of cold storages, these grains are rotten in the open…

■             We are in talks with the Central government in this regard. We buy grains from farmers and give that to the Central government, but, it does not provide us with the storage facilities. Last year, we made some storage facilities, but the Central government does not pay any heed to that. Grains are getting ruined in the open, but the FCI does not take cognizance of the situation.


As someone who witnessed the turmoil in Punjab, Badal has been aware of the yearning of the people in today’s post-militancy Punjab for break from Panthic politics and a hope for lasting peace and prosperity. The continuation of coalition politics in Punjab has not only ensured electoral dividend for the Akali Dal but more importantly has led to the gradual discarding of radical stances by political parties all over the state. This has been evident in the form of manifestos of Akali Dal and its ally BJP released since 1997 elections to reiterate the critical need to maintain peace, brotherhood, communal harmony, socio-economic welfare, all-round development and sustainable and profitable agriculture through diversification. The communal harmony theme is reminiscent of the common programme of the Akali-Jan Sangh coalition government way back in 1967. Of late, under the leadership of Sukhbir Singh Badal, the present President of Akali Dal, the SAD-BJP coalition government has shifted its attention to bring in investment in urban sector and also go for greater industrialisation to diversify economy as post-Green Revolution; the agricultural output has been stagnating. Also discernible has been the shift from anti-centre stand to cooperative federalism and from a politics of confrontation under the leadership of Badal senior. Given the fact that Punjab is a two-community state and that religion has played a role in the state politics for fairly long time since colonial days, Badal has played the role of a reconciler with aplomb as was most recently evident in the way his administration handled some recent events that had threatened to reignite the communal tension in the state.

28-12-2013What explains the extraordinary power and influence enjoyed by Badal senior in post-militancy Punjab aside from the fact that both states and the state parties have increasingly become far more significant both in political and economic terms? One can consider the following additional factors. First, organisational and ideological weakness that has crept within Akali Dal explains as to why the party has come to heavily depend on the personal charisma and popularity of Badal senior who comes across as a patriarch, albeit a benevolent one. Like in the case of Akali Dal, unfortunately not only the newly formed caste-based parties like SP or RJD even the other much older, cadre-based and ideologically rooted parties like DMK and National Conference have fallen victim to dynastic/family-based politics, with all levers of power remaining within the ‘ruling family’ and the patriarch. What also goes in favour of Badal’s undisputed authority is the lack of any other leader within the party, who can claim state-wide support base after the tragic demise of Captain Kanwaljit Singh, a senior Akali minister in 2009. Badal being a grassroots leader, who started his career as a sarpanch after graduating from Lahore University, has been very well aware of the specificities of the politics of three regions and the different aspirations. He has also been a shrewd practitioner of real politics as is evident in the way he has survived so long in the volatile politics of the state–he has decimated all opposition from within the party not by adopting confrontist politics but by deft manoeuvring. Being soft-spoken and keeping firm control over the party machinery and also over SGPC has helped. Of late, he has groomed his son Sukhbir Singh Badal. After initial hiccups, Badal junior as campaign in-charge in 2012 showed competence in electoral management as was evident in his success in enabling the party to win successive elections, first time in post-1966 reorganised Punjab. He also successfully met the challenge put up by Manpreet Badal, who threatened to take away traditional Akali vote by advocating reformist politics.


“PUNJAB IS PROUD OF SAD-BJP GOVERNMENT”


28-12-2013Shanta Kumar, former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, BJP leader and in-charge of Punjab, in an interview to Shrikant Sharma, speaks about challenges before the SAD-BJP government and other issues. Excerpts:

 

As a ‘Parbhari’ of Punjab state, what is your take on the SAD-BJP government?

■             Punjab government is working with a successful track record and Parkash Singh Badal is one of those Chief Ministers, who are intelligent, energetic and successful. He has been running the government with full sincerity and integrity. After about 46-47 years, a government has repeated its term in Punjab last time and it’s all because of good working of the government and the personality of Parkash Singh Badal. Recently he launched the investors’ summit, in which there were many corporate giants, who evinced keen interest in investing in Punjab. This proves that we have given a good governance model to the people of Punjab.

 

What are the challenges before the government?

■             See, challenges are those which the whole Indian politics is facing and the reality is that the politics in India has gone off-track. Indian politics is lacking in purity, transparency and integrity. We are striving hard to protect political parties from pollution of political devaluation. We are in power in Punjab and due to this there are times when we have to face this pollution. But to counter this, we are keeping a reality check on the government and we discuss these issues with Parkash Singh Badal and to a large extent we have been successful in it. But the major problem Punjab is facing is the economic crisis. In Punjab we have to fight against terrorism as well. But from economic point of view, there are many problems. Loans have increased but I think, the way the government is trying to bring investment in the state, this problem would soon be solved.

 

If we compare Narendra Modi and Parkash Singh Badal, who will be the better Chief Minister?

■             It is difficult to make the decision but Parkash Singh Badal is veteran leaders and one of the most respected leader in Indian politics as he saw many things which we can’t experience. On the other hand, Narendra Modi has been successful in inspiring the youth of the country–so both of them are successful at their places.

 

What is your reaction on Moga rally on December 21?

■             There is a lot of enthusiasm among the people o f Punjab and I think that Moga rally will be an unprecedented occasion, which will be attended by huge gathering as people are infatuated with Modi’s persona. So I can say it would be a successful rally in Moga.



“IT’S NAMO’S CHAK DE PHATTE IN PUNJAB”


28-12-2013Shyam Jaju, BJP leader concentrating on Punjab, talks on various issues related to Punjab with Nilabh Krishna and Divya Satpathy. Excerpts:

What would be the impact of Moga rally?

■             See, the first thing is that BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are jointly organising this rally. So it is more important to be called NDA’s rally. In Punjab, BJP is in ruling coalition also, and it is the first rally after the anointment of Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate. So it is natural that we prepare for it in a big way. Recent results of the state elections have infused confidence in the party workers and it will be a very successful rally.

Will there be a “Modi wave” in Punjab in the upcoming general elections?

■             Of course, there will be a “Modi wave” in Punjab too. His first rally was organised in Pathankote, in remembrance of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, which was decided in a short time period of eight days. It is a fact that it was the biggest rally of BJP in Pathankote till date, and it will be repeated in Moga.

There is a growing discontentment among the ground-level workers of BJP in Punjab. They allege that SAD has dominated the urban centres and BJP has shrunk to rural areas. What will you say about these allegations?

■             The coalition of BJP-SAD is a historic coalition. Shiv Sena and SAD were our first friends and it is not only limited to elections, it has an ideological meaning also. Wherever there is a coalition government, a little bit of discontentment factor always remains. There are some departments with us and some with them. Something goes on on the subject of power sharing, but there is no such big issue that can create a rift in the coalition. Government is functioning smoothly. Parkash Singh Badal was also there at the oath-taking ceremony of Dr. Raman Singh and Vasundhara Raje.

In the last 15-20 years, groundwater level has gone down extensively in Punjab. What is our reaction?

■             See, there are many things about Punjab like first time government was repeated in the state. Till date, Punjab has always seen alternate parties coming to the government. As is the complaint of BJP-ruled states, Punjab is also facing the same discrimination. There are many projects of Punjab government, which are pending due to the negligence on part of the central government. The central government should implement everything on the same policy for every state.


28-12-2013

An honest appraisal of Parkash Singh Badal leadership has to underline his failure in turning around the economic deceleration of a state, once hailed as a ‘model state’ of India. What needs to be appreciated about Badal senior leadership is that despite having spent a lifetime in the Dharamyudh Morcha in favour of Punjabi Suba demand and then for the fulfilment of Anandpur Sahib Resolutions and having spent more than a decade in prison, he has chosen to adopt a leadership model that thrives on the secular idiom of development. As a politician, he has retained his traditional community support base, but has also relentlessly worked to broaden it on a developmental plank across the deeply rooted social cleavages in the state.

(The writer is Professor, Department of Political Science, Panjab University, Chandigarh)


“BJP’S ORGANISATIONAL BASE REACHES EVERY NOOK & CRANY OF PUNJAB”


28-12-2013Kamal Sharma, State President, Punjab BJP, talks with Rohan Pal on Narendra Modi’s Moga rally, BJP’s performance in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, party’s organisational growth and SAD-BJP government’s policies in Punjab. Excerpts:

What would be the message and impact of Moga rally?

■             Moga rally is jointly organised by the Akali Dal-BJP alliance and it would be a massive rally where more than five lakh people will attend it. BJP is a cadre-based party so our workers from rural and urban areas will attend it to make the rally a successful one. The SAD-BJP senior leaders had met together and made joint efforts for a successful rally. People of Punjab have a craze for Narendra Modi and thousands of enthusiastic party workers are making their best efforts to make Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India.

As a state president, how do you plan to revive party’s organisational growth and increase vote percentage for BJP?

■             BJP has a strong base and good network of its own in all the districts of Punjab. Frequently, I do visit every district and try to meet the party workers to know the problems of the common man. Then we do review meetings with ministers and government officials to tackle the problems and follow up the development schemes of the Punjab government. Every month, senior leaders of the BJP and Akali Dal discuss different issues relating to governance in a coordination meeting. We try to streamline all the problems in the coordination committee meeting. It is a media myth that Akali Dal and BJP have no proper coordination.

Do you face a difficulty in solving all your workers’ problems in the alliance government?

■             Bottlenecks are always there in working with an alliance government and sometimes both the alliance partners have to compromise on certain issues. The Akali Dal-BJP alliance government has a motto to give good governance to the people of Punjab and establish a peaceful atmosphere. Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal Sahab has taken up many pro-people schemes in the sectors like education, health and industrial development. In the recently held investors’ meet in Punjab, many industrialists showed interest and promised to invest in the state.

Does the SAD-BJP alliance face any problem in dealing with the Centre?

■             Of course, the UPA government at the Centre is hell-bent on checking the unstoppable growth of Punjab. They try to put state government’s various plans in cold storage still we try our best to support the farmers and industrialists in Punjab.

Will Modi’s rally have any impact on the forthcoming elections?

■             Narendra Modi is now a renowned leader at the international level. He is known for his honesty and has given good governance in Gujarat. Now people of Punjab and India want to practise Modi mantra at the Centre. People of Punjab are also realising this. We hope in next general elections, Punjab will win all Lok Sabha seats to strengthen the hands of BJP Chief Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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