Development our poll plank: Sukhbir

Sukhbir said it was the Congress that was unable to deal with the large number of rebels

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi | Published: January 16, 2012 12:49 am

Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) president Sukhbir Singh Badal,whose party is ruling Punjab in alliance with the BJP,has said that his party was fighting the ensuing Assembly elections on the issue of development.

“For the first time ever,there is actually a wave in favour of the incumbent government due to development works initiated by it. There is no anti-incumbency. Voters will reward us for our performance,” he told The Indian Express.

Asked about his party’s main poll plank,Sukhbir,who is also Deputy Chief Minister in the government headed by his father,said it was development.”The SAD-BJP government worked with the single-minded aim of developing Punjab. The results of steps taken by us,especially in the power sector,are already visible. We are asking for votes on the basis of our performance,” he said.

When asked if SAD — a predominantly panthic party that represents the Sikhs — had junked its panthic agenda,Badal junior said while the party was committed to the cause of farmers,it was of the opinion that all-round development of the state would also result in dividends for the farmers. “If the infrastructure is improved,won’t the farmers also benefit? If Punjab becomes power surplus,farmers won’t have to buy costly kerosene to run motors for irrigating their farms. The previous Congress government didn’t add a single unit of power. But,once the power projects initiated by us become operational,Punjab will be a power-surplus state,” he said.

Asked about the rebellion in many Assembly constituencies after declaration of candidates by his party and the BJP,Sukhbir said it was the Congress that was unable to deal with the large number of rebels.

“The truth is that Congress leaders sold tickets to the highest bidders. That is why there is a long line of Congress leaders wanting to join us. Why else would Capt Amarinder’s brother leave the Congress and join us? While initially we also faced some uneasy moments,we managed to deal with the issue in time. However,the Congress is still unable to even come to grips with the rebellion,which will cause it a loss of at least 40 seats. Having seen the sale of tickets in the Congress,I think we need a separate Lokpal just for the Congress,” he said.

But,what about indications that the BJP is expected to perform poorly — something that could play the spoiler for the alliance government? “Our understanding is that the BJP will do well. Wait for election results. The problem for the Congress is that there is no anti-incumbency wave,” Sukhbir asserted.

He also said that the SAD has made a concerted attempt to give tickets to a record number of Hindus. “Look at our list. There are former IPS,IAS officers,players of international repute,businessmen. Governance is a serious issue and needs the best people,” he said.

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