Updated: December 17, 2021 6:13:42 am
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA, Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, has been active in his Assembly constituency of Patti, which lies in the border district of Tarn Taran. Adesh, the son of former Punjab Chief Minister, Partap Singh Kairon, has been moving door-to-door seeking support from the electorates for the upcoming state Assembly elections. A three-time Food and Civil Supplies minister in the erstwhile SAD-BJP governments in the state between 1997 and 2017, Adesh is known for keeping his campaigns low- profile and for maintaining a distance from the media. The one prominent thing different in Adesh’s campaigns so far this year, however, has been his persistent reluctance to name the SAD as his party as he seeks votes from his electorates, giving fuel to rumours of a rift. On the day the SAD held a massive rally in Moga, Adesh, not only stayed away, but was also spotted holding a very small meeting of his own at the house of one of his supporters in the tiny village of Jhugian Natha Singh, near the Indo-Pakistan border.
The Indian Express talks to Adesh Kairon amid rumours that he is not happy with his party.
When are you going to end the suspense and put an end to rumours about which party you will contest from?
There is no suspense here. It is understood. If I respond to one rumour, then I will have to do it for every rumour. That is way I don’t answer.
So is it confirmed that you will contest from the SAD?
It is understood. My name has already been announced for the contest. Everything has already been decided.
But you had also announced that someone from your family would contest from neighbour assembly constituency Khemkaran (Sukhbir Badal had announced Virsa Singh Valtoha as the candidate from Khemkaran soon after Kairon made a public statement.)
I will contest from the constituency from where my ticket has been announced by the party. That is all I want to say.
What are the issues that you will highlight during this election? The drug problem was one of the biggest issues during the 2017 polls
The drugs issue is going to stay. It never ends. I have tried to end it and my efforts in this regard will continue. On the other hand, those who are profiting from the illicit trade will make all efforts to keep it running. The only way to deal with the problem is with a firm hand.
Your party has ruled the state for 10 years, yet very little was done
I can speak for myself and my department was Food and Civil Supplies in those governments. I never allowed any contentious farm laws to be formed during my tenure as a minister. People ask me why I don’t speak about all this. The whole of Punjab was sitting on the border of Delhi for a year. Earlier I alone would go to solve such issues.
But questions about the three farm laws and the SAD’s role in formulating them will be asked to every candidate from the party
See, I can only speak for myself. My family has done Seva of Majha from the time of our great-grandparents. We have done social and religious service in our area. My father Partap Singh Kairon was a freedom fighter and remained the Chief minister of Punjab before 1966. He turned Punjab into one of the most powerful states in the country.
Didn’t you tell your party to raise these issues during the year-long farm agitation?
When an agitation has already started then nothing should be said about it. Else, it can be mistaken as an attempt to score points with the help of someone else’s protests. I work silently. Nobody knows this, but I had nudged the Government of India earlier this year just by writing a letter to include pre-nursery classes into the midday meal scheme. I changed the law for the whole of India, while sitting in a tiny village of Kairon. That is my job. I don’t make false promises. I had handed out blue cards (ration cards under the PDS system) to all beneficiaries irrespective of their political ideology. Now, the government is taking these cards back from beneficiaries. Why are they doing this? Without the blue card, no one can avail health insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh in the government sector. The state has no burden of PDS under the blue cards and the Centre has to provide the same. Still, the state government is slashing the number of beneficiaries. Meanwhile, there are 4,200 youths from Punjab, who have already cleared physical and other tests, but have been waiting to be recruited in the Army. The process has been paused and the youths have been left in a lurch. Such are the issues that I raise, without making noise in the media or public.
What party will form the government in the next Assembly elections?
Gal eh hai ke eh hun sangat nu pata. (The thing is that only the public knows about it). Everyone wants to form their own government in the state. Everyone wants to work for the people. If there were some shortcomings in the past, everyone wants to put that behind them and just work for the state and the people (after forming the government). That is also my wish. If you want me to make an assessment for Punjab, then I cannot do that.
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