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Posted at: May 15, 2019, 8:08 AM; last updated: May 15, 2019, 8:08 AM (IST)

It’s time for a third alternative, says Sukhpal Khaira

It’s time for a third alternative, says Sukhpal Khaira
PDA candidate Sukhpal Singh Khaira in Bathinda. Tribune Photo

Sukhmeet Bhasin
Tribune News Service
Bathinda, May 14

Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA) candidate for the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat Sukhpal Singh Khaira has said widespread corruption and drugs need to be tackled on a priority basis. Khaira claims that it's time for a third alternative as people have given enough chances to both traditional parties — Congress and SAD.

Bathinda Tribune speaks to Sukhpal Khaira to know about his plans for the residents of Bathinda.

Sukhpal Khaira said, “Before coming to the city, I had heard a lot about Bathinda's development. Soon after landing here, I came to know that development was media's creation by the Badals. Water for public is highly contaminated and it has affected people and even led to various diseases.”

Khaira said the standard of education in government schools had fallen drastically. He added that only poor children are enrolled in government schools whereas the families who have money send their wards to private schools.

“The state of health affairs in rural areas is in the worst condition as there are no doctors in dispensaries and hospitals and even medicines are not available in them. Owing to these reasons, private hospitals are flourishing and looting patients. Even unemployment is also a major issue here,” said the PDA candidate.

He feels these basic amenities should be provided to the residents on priority and if given a chance to represent the constituency, he will surely try his best to change this for the better, he added.

Khaira said he decided to contest from Bathinda despite the fact that he hails from the Doaba region. He held two families responsible for the present state of affairs of the state. "In 1985, when I passed out of the college, Punjab was a revenue-surplus state. But two feudal families — Badals and Capt — looted the state as they ruled it, so they are responsible for the mess," Khaira said.

He added that under the alliance, Dharamvir Gandhi opted for Patiala so he was left to contest from Bathinda.

Khaira also cleared the air on allegations leveled by Bikram Majithia that Khaira was brought by the Congress and the party said that he was here to help the Badals. Khaira said, “I am nobody's agent and I am the agent of people.”

As for the sacrilege issue, Khaira said he toured around 400 villages in the constituency and sacrilege was definitely an issue in the elections as the Badals during their regime did nothing to bring culprits to book. Khaira said even Capt Amarinder Singh was not doing anything except for forming an SIT in this regard.

About a third alternative in the state, Khaira said 25 per cent people in Punjab were always rebels who were neither with the SAD nor the Congress. But those who supported the third alternative were feeling betrayed because earlier Manpreet Badal formed the PPP, later joined the Congress. He said AAP stood divided and remained directionless.

Khaira said, “Before the elections, Rahul Gandhi through a senior Congress leader had offered me to contest from the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat for the party like Manpreet Badal did in 2014. But, I refused because I am the architect of Punjab Democratic Alliance, so I assure the people that Khaira would prefer sitting at home instead of joining hands with the Congress or the SAD.”

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