Punjab believes in Punjabiyat, it is a liberal society. We’re a regional celebration… I’m what we are able to do for state- Shekhawati Rides

AMARINDER SINGH, Former Punjab Chief Minister

MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: You may need launched a model new social gathering, Punjab Lok Congress. Is it merely born out of anti-Congressism? What would you identify your structure or philosophy?
A high-power committee will sit down over the next couple of days and decide the broad outlines, which really can be the manifesto of the social gathering. We’re very crucial, we aren’t going to depart Punjab at sea. We’ve bought threats from inside, with out, and it’s for us to do our bit. I don’t know whether or not or not the Congress goes to be able to do one thing one of the best ways they’re correct now; everybody appears to be pulling everyone to bits. And I don’t perception the (Shiromani) Akali Dal, which has on a regular basis carried out ‘double’ on these factors… I was spherical all through the build-up to terrorism, and they also carried out with both sides… I really feel there’s a spot for all of us who actually really feel Punjab must be secure, Punjabis must be secure.

MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: You acknowledged you’ve been open to a seat-sharing affiliation with the BJP, nonetheless the BJP has acknowledged it may battle the entire 117 Assembly constituencies throughout the state. It acknowledged there could also be polarisation in Punjab and they also hope to do successfully. Are these conflicting alerts?
We’ll battle the entire seats with our allies — whether or not or not in adjustment with the BJP or with Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (a former Akali Dal chief who has formed his private social gathering). When the BJP acknowledged it (that it’ll contest the entire seats), I had not left the Congress… I don’t suppose anyone can declare that we’re going to win 117 seats… Neither can you rely on a nationwide social gathering to say we’re going to battle one thing decrease than 117 seats. They’re saying that, nonetheless moreover they know that if now we now have alliances — they’re doing it with Dhindsa too — then give-and-take on a regular basis takes place. I moreover acknowledged we’re going to aim 117 seats… What I meant was that we’ll battle with whoever is our electoral affiliate.

MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: As a navy historian, you should have a deep sense of legacy. How will your alliance with the BJP be seen, given its right-wing ideology that you simply’ve on a regular basis opposed?
I can’t focus on ideology at a nationwide stage, nonetheless in Punjab, we don’t have this type of enterprise. Punjab believes in Punjabiyat. We’re a very liberal society. All of us are collectively — the Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains… We’re a regional social gathering and I’m not attempting previous that. I’m looking at what we’re in a position to get hold of for Punjab. Don’t neglect, now we now have a 600-km border with a hostile nation, and it’s relatively important that we hold good, nice relations with all communities.

… I’m proper right here to be remembered as any one that has achieved a terrific deal. I had two phrases throughout the authorities: 2002-07 and now. What now we now have achieved, I don’t suppose any authorities has. We achieved 92% of our manifesto ensures till I was chief minister, and I really feel the Congress authorities is carrying on with it. The ultimate time this was completed was by (then Andhra CM) Chandrababu Naidu in 1983, when he achieved 83% of his manifesto ensures… As an illustration, all folks in Punjab is roofed by Rs 5 lakh insurance coverage protection; anybody all through the Lal Dora land has possession of their house; we run the Basera scheme in metropolis areas… I cleared an entire lot of duties, conceived at least three to 4 months prior to now. I hope the federal authorities implements them sooner than the elections.

MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: The Congress now accuses you of not doing what was wished, equal to on the flexibility purchase agreements (PPAs), which have been reworked. CM Charanjit Singh Channi has acknowledged on file that you simply simply have been in cahoots with the Badals.
He can say what he likes… Each time it’s good to dispose of any individual or one factor, you uncover an excuse. All the alternatives which I took are literally being utilized. In regards to the PPAs… first, let’s understand what Punjab requires. This July, the rains have been a lot much less, the dams weren’t full and the flexibility requirement went as a lot as one factor like 50,000 megawatts… We’ve bought merely two vitality fashions… So, then you have to buy from the nationwide grid. Punjab can solely transmit 7,000 megawatts… We have now been, in the mean time, searching for vitality at a very heavy cost, but it surely certainly fluctuates… You can be searching for it at Rs 1 or at Rs 15… counting on the supply and demand. We rejected Damodar Valley and Bokaro offers of Rs 21 and Rs 19… Last week, the place I’m sitting, now we now have had 4 hours of vitality cuts already. Enterprise and farmers need vitality… All these things you have to think about, you could’t merely take alternatives emotionally. Certain, all of us decided that the affiliation must be renegotiated. Why? On account of what the Akali authorities did was fully fallacious… that even after we don’t ask to buy your vitality, we are able to pay you for it.

MANOJ C G: You may need been in politics for practically 5 a few years, CM for two phrases. Why has no vital Congress chief or MLA or district president joined you? Why are you so isolated?
I’m not isolated, I’ve obtained set-ups now in the entire districts. We’re starting a membership trial. Why is no one from the Congress changing into a member of me? It’s fairly easy — if any individual joins me, they sack them… The second any MLA steps out of line, they scale back his funds. As a result of this reality, I knowledgeable all of them, ‘Maintain sitting, let the Code of Conduct be enforced, then you definately definately be part of (as quickly because it’s in place, utilizing funds is restricted)’. So we’re prepared for the Code of Conduct.

MANOJ C G: After you resigned as CM and signalled that you simply’ll float a model new social gathering, did Sonia Gandhi talk to you, or Rahul or Priyanka? Did they attain out to you?
Mrs Gandhi spoke to me about three or 4 weeks sooner than I supplied to resign. I knowledgeable her I can’t keep it up. She requested me why. I acknowledged because of Navjot Singh Sidhu is pulling correct, I’m pulling left… She knowledgeable me to stay. Then, one morning, she often known as me and knowledgeable me I must resign. I acknowledged I had supplied you my resignation… She merely acknowledged I’m very sorry. I acknowledged that’s efficient, you don’t should be sorry… They suppose I’m in a position to retire, I don’t suppose I’m… I’ve nonetheless obtained a couple of years of productive life left in me. I’ll battle nonetheless I’ll battle for my state. I can also battle the anti-national elements… Take a look on the weapons that are coming in, the drones, the bombs… What’s the aim? What’s Pakistan’s intent?… I’ve been by means of the time after Operation Blue Star and terrorist actions, 35,000 Punjabis died. I don’t want one different Punjabi to die. These are the type of points that are going to happen, and these fellows don’t know… Submachine weapons have can be found in. These incidents have been solely documented all through June, July and August this ultimate quarter. Drones started coming ultimate yr, by June. Earlier, they’d burrow the drones beneath the (border) wires or ship them by means of rivers, nonetheless ultimate June they started air dropping them… As a person who has devoted my life to the state and to the nation — 10 years in uniform after which as CM — I owe it to them to do what I can for them.

Are you conscious what the debt of Punjab is, how so much these guys are spending? Our GSDP (Gross State House Product) on the time of ultimate analysis was about Rs 5,35,000 crore. We’ve bought already borrowed Rs 4,00,000 crore… Seventy-five per cent of Punjab is in debt… Two months since I left, they’ve spent one different Rs 20,000 crore… As a result of this reality, I must hold and do what I can.

MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: You as quickly as acknowledged that if Punjab continues to develop paddy, it may face desertification in 25 years, and that we’ll develop kinnow in its place. Nevertheless it seems the world beneath paddy has solely elevated even beneath your watch.
We started a field-to-fork programme and a few pilot duties in Ropar district with Reliance. It might have prepare 100,000 retailers and we would have grown greens and fruits for them. Reliance would give seeds to the farmer, practice them the strategies, and straight elevate the produce… Nevertheless the Akalis cancelled it… I’ve been talking to specialists… steered that if we’re in a position to get a grant from the Authorities of India… for probably Rs 20,000-30,000 crore, create a type of MSP for pulses. We stop rising paddy and start rising pulses… Pulses need no water, they will develop merely with rainfall… I hope this pursuits the Authorities, now we now have despatched a proposal.

HARIKISHAN SHARMA: All through your tenure as CM, did the Centre, considerably the Minister of Agriculture or anyone from the Prime Minister’s Office, ever ask you to mediate with the farmers?
Initially, the Authorities of India thought I was the one behind this movement… If anyone needs to protest throughout the nationwide capital, it’s inside their vitality to take motion. I’m not going to stop them… Nevertheless positive, people have been meeting these farmers on the Singhu border to find a reply — not politicians, nonetheless intelligence officers, firms… I do know the farmers are sturdy nonetheless I (was) nervous of the impression on the laws and order in Punjab. The farmers have been very peaceful, cooperative.

… For me, it (the precedence) goes previous that… Within the current day, there’s a China and Pakistan collusion, now you must have a Taliban collusion… The Taliban, Chinese language language and Pakistani forces collectively… I would really like Punjab to be secure and safe.

In case you occur to don’t have a solution (sooner than the elections), none of us may have the flexibility to go to villages, they received’t want you. How do you battle an election? How do you enter the agricultural belt? They throw stones and break automobiles.

MANOJ C G: Now that you simply’re out of the Congress, what’s your frank opinion about Rahul Gandhi? Do you suppose the Congress can bounce once more beneath his administration?
ANANT GOENKA: I would like so as to add to the question. 4 or 5 months prior to now, you’ve been very supportive of the next period of the Gandhi family (in a dialog with The Indian Particular).
I’ve seen the Congress develop. I was a youthful MP with Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1980, she had a superb set of advisors. When Rahul bought right here into the picture, I acknowledged he was not ready for it. Subsequently, he and Priyanka started travelling, and they also have improved since then. So let’s see, solely time will inform in the event that they’re ready for it.

MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: Many actually really feel that if the Congress is to succeed, the Opposition is to succeed, the Gandhis must get out of one of the best ways.
I’m not throughout the Congress, why are you asking me? Nonetheless, you (the social gathering) put aside 23 eminent people, equal to Ghulam Nabi Azad, Shashi Tharoor, Kapil Sibal (part of the Group of 23 that’s demanding sweeping modifications throughout the Congress). They’re property of the social gathering. What are you attaining by that? In case you want to strengthen a celebration, you make it a cohesive drive, make people be part of it, you don’t push them out. And within the occasion you suppose you’ll be able to dispose of the older period and easily start one factor correct from the start, it’s not going to work.

NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN: You gained with an unlimited majority in 2017, launched some inconceivable duties. Can you mirror on the place points went fallacious? Could you should have completed one factor in any other case?
There are ambitions of your private people; every minister has a lot of portfolios. I’m not saying Charanjit Singh Channi shouldn’t be minister. Nevertheless then ambition comes… People have been cooking up opinions… I’m going to proceed doing job whether or not or not I’m all through the Congress or with out it.

I hope we are able to have a seat adjustment with the BJP and with the Dhindsa faction.

VANDITA MISHRA: One can’t steer clear of the sense of catastrophe in Punjab. The enterprise has stalled, agriculture has plateaued, mom and father must ship their kids abroad. You say Punjab should be protected and secured. Nevertheless do you suppose you’re not safe, you’re not secure? Would you like a authorities or police or navy to secure Punjab and Punjabiyat?
Punjabiyat means people of Punjab have on a regular basis thought-about themselves Punjabi, whether or not or not from an larger caste or each different caste. Everyone works collectively because of it’s our heritage, it comes by means of our religion. You’re correct, people are asking their mom and father to advertise their land to help them go to totally different worldwide places. Youthful people have ambition, that doesn’t indicate we abandon Punjab. Subsequently, my aim was that ` 1 lakh crore industrial funding needs to come back again into the state… They (the vested pursuits) don’t have any recruits proper this second and Punjab is peaceful. Nevertheless they will recruit (if there’s no reply to the farmer agitation).

Kamaldeep Singh Brar: Can you share names of among the many enormous smugglers arrested all through your tenure as part of the crackdown on medication?
As soon as I took over, 65,000 people caught in drug situations have been in jail. As soon as I left, there have been 45,000. There have been six enormous fish, nonetheless I’m sorry, I don’t have the names with me. For certainly one of many accused we had reached out to the Interpol and have been attempting to get him extradited. We extradited one specific individual from Armenia, one from Spain, one specific individual is already in a lockup in Rome, one different goes by means of extradition proceedings, and one specific individual is from Georgia… I broke the once more of the drug cartels, nonetheless that doesn’t indicate the racket has ended. It hasn’t resulted in America and Folks have been working as a result of the Thirties to finish the drug cartels.

Kamaldeep Singh Brar: Your authorities didn’t act on the STF report that alleged a nexus between police personnel, politicians and an alleged smuggler, Gurdeep Singh, who was arrested ultimate yr.

It’s the STF’s job proper this second to see to it that movement is taken.

Navjeevan Gopal: In your resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, you acknowledged quite a few Congress leaders have been involved in illegal sand mining, nonetheless you didn’t title them as a result of it’d embarrass the social gathering. Do you intend to reveal these names now?
I’m knowledgeable that there are 4 or 5 large contractors throughout the mining enterprise and little fellows who get entangled… The Congress president knowledgeable me illegal mining is happening throughout the state and we talked about among the many names. I educated the minister concerned to look into this topic. We knew who these people have been, nonetheless they weren’t caught. It couldn’t be correct of me to take names until these people are caught.

Anju Agnihotri Chaba: Every successive authorities in Punjab so far few a few years has been talking about diversification of crops, nonetheless nothing has occurred. Why is there no concrete or long-term plan on this topic?
No, there isn’t simply communicate… We made a proposal that pulses be grown. Sadly, these are points you have to elevate with the Authorities of India, because of meals security is a matter. And it takes a really very long time for the Authorities of India to find out. And by the purpose one factor happens, governments change. On factors equal to diversification and the best way ahead for Punjab, every authorities ought to observe what the earlier authorities has completed… So I agree that this enterprise of diversification has been all communicate and nothing is on the underside… In my time, it’s not that the world (beneath paddy) has gone up, the manufacturing has. Cotton house has gone up, nonetheless that’s part of the diversification programme. We’ve bought scale back down fertilisers for instance, to get this bumper crop. Nevertheless positive, it’s a nasty sign that we proceed to have paddy.

(This session was held sooner than the PM’s announcement on Nov 19 that the three farm authorized pointers might be repealed)

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