Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu talks about his grandfather Beant Singh’s legacy, his performance in the past, plans for the industrial city and his predecessor Manish Tewari in an interview to Divya Goyal. Excerpts:
On what basis people of Ludhiana should vote for you?
This is my home district. My ancestral village Payal is here and people here connect with my grandfather, the late Beant Singh, and they know I will do the best for Ludhiana.
How much are you depending on your grandfather’s legacy in these polls?
Undoubtedly, it matters the most. People know how he sacrificed his life to flush out terrorism from Punjab. They see his reflection in me, especially those who can relate with him as old buddies and acquaintances. So nothing can beat his legacy.
How will you rate your performance as Anandpur Sahib MP?
No doubt I have done my best. Be it the largest cancer hospital, IIT and ISB in Mohali or international airport project, all big projects are there today because of my efforts, and people will see that before voting.
Performance or being from Beant Singh’s family — what is going to be more important?
Undoubtedly, my grandfather’s image. It is more significant than my performance as maximum people will vote for me because I am his grandson.
Why should youth vote for you?
They should vote for me because I am a youth icon. I can connect with them. Also, I won as Youth Congress president of Punjab in the elections organised by Rahul Gandhi for the first time. I did 1,500-km-long padyatra last year to eliminate drugs from Punjab.
What step will you take for industries in Ludhiana?
I am surprised that Akali Dal asks for a share in every industry. There is a popular saying that whenever Sukhbir Badal comes to Ludhiana, industrialists flee away. More than 18,000 industries have shifted from here. This means there is a problem at the grassroots level. Other than traditional 10-20 big names, no new industries have entered Ludhiana whereas some 100-200 big names should be here at least. I will make sure that industries flourish here.
Your views on sitting MP Manish Tewari.
He has done maximum work for Ludhiana and that is why the party was keen on giving him the ticket. He was the one who ensured welfare of hosiery and bicycle industry here and referred their cases to Union Minister P Chidambaram. The support that he garnered for us in Ludhiana continues to be with us this time too.
How will you ensure optimum time is given to Ludhiana if elected?
I have shifted my base here and will be living in Ludhiana permanently if elected.
How is AAP and their candidate H S Phoolka going to affect Congress?
Kejirwal talked positive on rickshaw pullers, power bills, water bills but miserably failed to deliver. He did not even take a single issue to the Assembly and ran away. Now people have lost trust in him. As far as Phoolka is concerned, he is a lawyer and will run away to Delhi once polls are over. At present, he is seeing a rosy picture of being a politician and waving to the masses. Reality will be in front after polls and he won’t be able to sit with people to hear them. He can be a lawyer and run NGOs only. He is on a holiday from Supreme Court and will soon be back.