Is there any change in strategy after losing the Lok Sabha elections from Patiala?
We are contesting this election much more intensively. It is a single segment compared to nine segments in LS polls. Canvassing in Assembly by-election requires a personal touch. The connect of our family with the electorate is much more than anybody else. We will certainly win.
What kind of campaign you will depend on this time?
It will be a mix of everything. Starting from door-to-door campaigns to small group meetings and workers’ meetings, we will try to cover all wards.
What are the issues on which you are contesting?
Development is a major issue. Roads are in bad shape, sewage overflows and hygiene goes for a toss. People suffer during the rains. Last time there was a cholera outbreak. We will assure people of a solution to their problems.
Patiala city is one of the most ignored towns in the state. How do you assure the people you will do something for the city?
Akalis did not do anything for Patiala. They ignored it deliberately because it has been a pocketborough of our family. The government sold precious land in Patiala and the money, instead of being spent on the city’s development, was diverted to Bathinda and Lambi. The government sold acres of land worth crores which belonged to irrigation, public works and agriculture departments and also Rajindera Hospital and PRTC workshop.
Amarinder did not campaign for you during the LS polls. Will he give you some time this bypoll?
Yes, he will. He plans to be in the city August 9 onwards. He realises his presence is necessary. During the LS elections he was tied down.How can anybody take care of two elections at the same time?
Your brother-in-law Malwinder Singh, who has been upset with you, has said he would not campaign for you. Any efforts to win him back?
It is a family matter. I would not like to say anything on this in a public domain.How will you get Congress MLAs opposed to you on your side? Brahm Mohindra and Randeep Nabha both will campaign for me. I have spoken to Brahm. He has assured me of his support. He campaigned for me even during LS election. I do not see any reason why they should not support me.
How do you look at differences between Amarinder and PPCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa? Will you request Bajwa to campaign for you?
Let us deal with their differences after the by-election. We need to concentrate on both the seats. If he wants to concentrate on Talwandi Sabo, then it is fine. He is welcome to campaign in Patiala as he is party president. It depends on his schedule.
Have you studied the reasons of your defeat in the LS elections?
AAP polled votes that could have come to our kitty. People voted for AAP because their candidates did not have baggage. They provided an alternative. Congress was facing a anti-incumbency. We have analysed the situation. What we need is greater connect.
Do you think Congress still has some hope?
Ups and downs are part of politics. Nothing is forever. Hope sustains life. We will hit back.