Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine in Punjab will create history again by winning the Assembly elections for the third consecutive time next year on development agenda, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has said here.
The Minister for Food Processing Industries and SAD MP from Bathinda said the alliance will be voted back because it had worked hard for the future of the state on an agenda of “development, development and yet more development”.
“For the future and progress of Punjab, this government has worked very hard. A lot has been done, there is always a lot more that needs to be done. I am very confident that we will do a hat-trick and create history for the third time,” she told PTI during a visit to the UK earlier this week.
“The SAD-BJP government in Punjab created history in the last elections by bringing in a government second time, where a sitting government had never been voted back into power. Not only were we voted back but we were voted back with a bigger majority than what we had come in with the first,” said the daughter-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Punjab is scheduled for polls in January-February 2017 and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has jumped into the fray besides SAD-BJP’s traditional rival Congress.
Badal, however, said she was confident of victory because “in the last 10 years, there is not a single Punjabi in any city or any village who would say that development has not happened in the state.”
She added: “The World Bank has ranked Punjab as the best destination in ease of starting up a new business…Take any sector, in education – we were 14th when we took over, today we are 2nd in the country.
“We were a power deficit state, but now we are a power surplus state; the revenues of the state have gone up three times; we have three international and five domestic airports; the entire infrastructure has been upgraded.”
She said Punjab is the only state where water and electricity for farming is given absolutely free of cost, which is a huge support to farmers.
“These kind of concessions have only been given in Punjab whenever an Akali Dal government comes in,” she said.
The minister was on a three-day visit to the UK to promote India as a destination for food processing.
She held talks with all the top UK retails chains including Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Partridges, Waitrose, Holland & Barrett and Harrods.
“Everyone has shown a lot of interest either in coming to India or tying up with local people and even sourcing from India. We are hoping to hold a World Food Summit alongside the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Ahmedabad in January, where we have invited all these representatives to come and make a common platform of stakeholders,” she said.
The Indian government had recently allowed 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) route in marketing of food products produced and manufactured in India.
“We want global giants to come and Make in India, not just for India but we are looking at making India the food factory of the world because that is the kind of raw material base we have,” she said.