Chandigarh, May 29: With his political career spanning almost four decades and rooted in aam aadmi culture, Aam Aadmi Party convener in Punjab Sucha Singh Chhotepur is unambiguous and unequivocal in his articulations about the situation in the state and role of his party. He is conscious of the fact that with his parry being perceived as the clear winner in February 2017, every type of elements might try to sneak in and some might have succeeded. He is one leader who understands the strategic functioning of both Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and state Congress Chief Capt Amarinder Singh. He was candid while expressing his views in an interview on Sunday morning. Excerpts:
Q: How do you view the rising socio-political tension in Punjab including the design, if any.
A: The deepening crisis is not in the interest of the state and the people. It is the people who are the ultimate losers as happened earlier. The Parkash Singh Badal government is trying to divert attention of the people in view of tsunami of anti-incumbency it is confronted with. The Bargari sacrilege came up at the time when farmers had blocked the state for about a week to press their demands. As the people came on the roads to protest against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, the police fired at them killing two persons. Water cannons and rubber bullets could have been used to disperse the people. The culprits responsible for sacrilege are yet to be traced. No action has been taken against guilty police officials. The nefarious design was to push in Panthic agenda but it backfired. Everey body in Punjab knows as to who was behind Bargari conspiracy. These people don’t have any issue and want to revert to Panthic issues.
- The Badal government then raked up SYL Canal issue by enacting legislation to return land to the original owners. What is your party’s stand on this sensitive issue?
A : SYL Link Canal is no issue at all as it is never going to be constructed. All along, it is Parkash Singh Badal and the Congress who have been responsible for this mess and the related issues. The apportionment of Ravi-Beas waters was done by the ruling Congress in 1976 while it was Badal who started construction of this canal by issuing notice for the acquisition of land in 1978 during his second term as the chief minister. The statement of then Haryana chief minister Chaudhary Devi Lal in the Assembly in 1978 is testimony to the fact that Badal was in league with him on this issue. The Badal family was rewarded with land worth crores at Gurgaon to build a hotel. SYL Canal, in fact, is no issue as this channel just can’t be completed. Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal also mislead the people when they assert that not a drop of water would be allowed to flow out of Punjab. They should have the courage to admit that 70 per cent of the water from Punjab rivers is already flowing to Rajasthan and Haryana. Even Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi has not cleared stand on this sensitive issue. Riparian law should apply to Punjab.
Q: Your party has been under attack on the demolition of Piau outside historic Sis Ganj gurdwara in Delhi.
A: The Arvind Kejriwal government has nothing to do with it and we have made it abundantly clear. This “Chhotu” Sukhbir Singh is equating this demolition with Operation Bluestar repeatedly on his TV channel. These are just incomparable. Badals and DSGMC are responsible for the situation in Delhi. The case was with the court and it should have been pursued seriously by DSGMC. Moreover, Gurdwara Sis Ganj area should be declared national heritage but the Akali Dal or DSGMC never moved such case.
Q: Your party is being perceived as the likely winner in February 2017 and every type of element is trying to sneak in.
A: We are very clear. Ours is Aam Aadmi Party. Everybody is welcome. However, we would try to ensure that no responsibility is given to unscrupulous elements, corrupt, criminals, opportunists, land grabbers and the like. We would never digress from our basic principles that constitute our core values. We would do appraisal of everybody before giving tickets. Ours is a party with a difference. Jo Saade Leader Ne Kihaa Hai, Uste Te Asin Thok Ke Pehra Diange.
Q: How do you perceive your party position vis-à-vis the Congress and the Akali Dal-BJP combine.
A: It is only after the announcement of elections that it would be clear as to with whom is going to be our main fight.
My apprehension is that the February 2017 elections in Punjab might be postponed by imposing President’s rule for which the reasons exist even now although I am firmly of the view that Article 356 should not be misused. This could be conspiratorial postponement under some pretext with understanding between Modi and Badal. My feeling is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might like Punjab polls to be held after the Uttar Pradesh elections as the Akali Dal-BJP combine is sure loser at present. Punjab result is going to impact other state elections. Amit Shah has already stated that Akali Dal is our elder brother in Punjab. However, these people should not stoop so low for vested political interests. Punab has given so much to Badals. Punjab is a sensitive border state and they should not play with it. This is my warning as the state has already suffered too much. They should not push Punjab towards another disaster. Rather they should pray for state’s well-being.
So far as the Congress is concerned, it has been reduced to a regional party. It can be termed as Ghapla Ghotala Party. Its time is over. Once election announcement is made, Punjab would definitely repeat Delhi. Congress is withering away at the national level.
People in the country and Punjab needed an alternative and we are there now.
Q: What are the main issues according to your party and these are to be tackled when You come to power.
A : The basic issue is that of intention to tackle the deepening crisis. The basic issues include drug menace, unemployment and un-employability, deepening agrarian and industrial crisis and corruption. One has to make a beginning with total commitment and determination. You will see the situation changing for the better once we are there to serve the people. Our party believes in serving the people unlike others who rule over them. Our political culture is different as we are not VIPs. It is the social sectors that must get priority and we have done that in Delhi. Government schools in Delhi are now better than private sector education. The problem is that Badals and Capt Amarinder Singh are in league with each other.
Q: There is allegation that your party is being run by people from outside Punjab.
A: Every party has its observers from outside. They are here to supplement us.
Q: How about your two rebel MPs.
A: It is the party that is above individual. Party has given them so much and it is their duty to return it in case they are not playing into the hands of somebody else.