In this Idea Exchange moderated by Editor (Punjab) Vipin Pubby, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal calls Arvind Kejriwal a “media creation”, the CBI “one of the most corrupt organisations” and says that he sees the NDA winning 13/13 in Punjab
Vipin Pubby: You have been saying that the Centre has been discriminating against Punjab when it comes to funds. What needs to be done to undo the situation?
Badal: The devolution of funds for Punjab has come down from 3 per cent to 1.3 per cent over the years. In terms of actual amount, Uttar Pradesh gets Rs 90,000 crore from the Centre, we get Rs 3,000 crore. The Centre discourages developed states in order to subsidise the unwanted expenditure of underdeveloped states. The criteria for distribution of funds should not be population, poverty and backwardness. It should be based on how much the state is contributing.
Charanjit Ahuja: Special industrial concessions have been given to the hill states neighbouring Punjab. Has it impacted the state’s economy?
Badal: Yes, it has. We have taken it up with the Centre without success and will take it up again when the new government comes to power.
Rakesh Rocky: How is the Sukhbir model of development different from the Modi model of development?
Badal: There is no comparison. The problems of Gujarat are very different from the problems of Punjab. The circumstances are different. You have to dovetail your policies according to your needs.
Virender Kumar: All the schemes you talk about are financed by the Centre.
Badal: That’s not true. For instance, not a single penny for e-governance has come from the Centre. The state has to work hard for Central schemes too. It is not something that falls into your lap. My team sat for 15 days in Delhi to get JNNURM funds worth Rs 4,800 crore. The Government of India is like a bank — you go and get money from it. But how you use it depends on you. I have worked out a model for my state.
Jaskiran: Has the Aam Aadmi Party emerged as a political alternative to the BJP and Congress because people are frustrated with these two parties?
Badal: No. Arvind Kejriwal came to power using words which people loved to hear. Take the words ‘aam aadmi’. In a party which has millionaires and billionaires, where is the aam aadmi? As an income tax officer, did Kejriwal go after top businessmen? He should tell us, if he is such a fair man, what he did as an IT officer. He is a creation of the media. Now he is after you (the media) and the media will now demolish him.
Vandana Sharma: What about the issue of corruption that AAP has taken up?
Badal: Arvind Kejriwal was chief minister for, what, 49 days? He was taking decisions left, right and centre. Did he take any decision to eliminate corruption? Corruption cannot be tackled through a Lokpal. It continued…