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Posted at: Aug 11, 2016, 12:50 AM; last updated: Aug 11, 2016, 12:50 AM (IST)HARD TALK:BIBI JAGIR KAUR, PRESIDENT, ISTRI AKALI DAL, PUNJAB

SGPC doesn’t play into hands of Badals: Jagir Kaur

An active member of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the first woman to be thrice elected as the president of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Bibi Jagir Kaur is now heading the Istri Akali Dal, Punjab. In Hard Talk this week, Bibi Jagir Kaur discusses issues like development, drugs and the present political situation in Punjab with Gurdeep Singh Mann
SGPC doesn’t play into hands of Badals: Jagir Kaur
Bibi Jagir Kaur

Tell us your purpose of visiting Bathinda

I am here to throw light on development works undertaken by the Punjab Government, make the women party workers gear up for the coming elections and listen to their grievances.

Can you name some of the works?

You must be already aware of all these works.

Even then, please throw some light on one or two major works

Our government has built and widened roads, provided round-the-clock power supply and built infrastructure, besides undertaking other works. 

But this is the duty of the government. Roads, power or infrastructure for daily needs is the basic necessity of the people and it is their right

Our government has also helped the poor get food under the Atta-Dal Scheme.

How do you make the women party workers gear up?

I am holding meetings across the state, addressing the women, listening to their problems and helping in resolve them on the spot.

What kind of problems are women coming up with?

All kinds of problems, including long-pending files in government departments, issues related to power, police and complaints related to roads, streets and other sundry issues.

Does this mean that without your ‘sifarish’ or intervention, people remain bereft of basic necessities or facilities?

No, it is actually not a ‘sifarish’ but a kind of intervention in the form of a request to the department concerned in larger public interest. People also highlight problems related to a large section of society which needs to be brought to the notice of the party pradhan (SAD president). 

Was a similar ‘sifarish’ entertained during your tenure as the SGPC president?

Every work in the SGPC is done only on merit without any ‘sifarish’. We do not even entertain intervention by the Chief Minister in any of the works, including the appointment of officials. During my tenure, the CM himself had told me not to listen to him but carry on with the work without any partiality, pressure or ‘sifarish’.

Despite the claims of development, the acute problem of drugs, rising crime, road rage and accidents becomes a major cause of worry. What is your view on this?

Drugs is a worldwide phenomena and accidents, road rage incidents take place everywhere. But the image of Punjab is tarnished by blowing such issues out of proportion. Consuming drugs is not the Punjabi’s cup of tea. They have laid down their lives for the nation, fought against injustice and are called a martial kaum. Moreover, in our area (Doaba), people sometimes consume or serve liquor—that too of a high quality only on marriages.

What is your view on being in the eye of a storm, mired as you have been in controversies of late, including shearing hair from the face?

Don’t trust everything you see as even salt looks like sugar. I am what I was earlier and will remain like that forever. Moreover, levelling accusations is easy but proving an allegation is tough. Also, one should refrain from asking personal questions.

How many elections have you fought so far and what role money and muscle power plays in it?

I fought seven elections including four assembly and three of the SGPC and lost only one assembly election in 2007. I have no idea what role money plays as I never distributed money or took help from the goons. It would be a surprise for many that I am under debt having taken loan to contest the last elections which I am still repaying.

What role do you think the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) can play in the coming elections?

This in an outside party which is not yet born, but is trying to break up our Punjab. For instance, if an outside force tries to break an egg, life ends. But if it is broken by an inside force, then life begins. People think Punjab is splitting apart and we are breaking it. But in reality, the state is trying to attain a new life. 

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