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‘Oppn confused, BJP on course’
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Capt Abhimanyu
Watch Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu in conversation with The Tribune

‘Oppn confused, BJP on course’

Capt Abhimanyu: The state’s economy is in the pink of health and people don’t want a coalition government21 Jul 2018 | 3:21 AM

Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu feels that the next parliamentary and Assembly elections will mark the end of dynastic politics in Haryana. The people of Haryana do not want a coalition government. They want a decisive government committed to their welfare and not just the welfare of families which have ruled the state in the past.

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INTERVIEW

Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu feels that the next parliamentary and Assembly elections will mark the end of dynastic politics in Haryana. The people of Haryana do not want a coalition government. They want a decisive government committed to their welfare and not just the welfare of families which have ruled the state in the past. He reiterates his charge against former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda about his role in the 2016 violent Jat agitation in the state. He claims that the economy is in the pink of health and the government has been successful in controlling corruption. Excerpts from an interview with Pradeep Sharma…

The Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections are scheduled to be held next year. How do you see the political situation emerging in Haryana in 2019, especially after the INLD-BSP alliance and the Congress posing a serious challenge to the BJP?

We have been able to convince the people of Haryana that in politics we can pursue the principles of ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’. We can do away with ‘dynastic rule’ and there can be a popular government in the state. We have finished community-based and region-based politics. Opposition parties are confused as they have not been able to shed their dynastic mindset. They have no political ideology and their only motive is to benefit their families and relatives. The alliance between the INLD and the BSP is an acknowledgement of the fact that the INLD cannot form government on its own. Earlier the INLD had formed the government with the support of the BJP. On the other hand, the BJP formed the government on its own with the support of the people of Haryana. The Congress is also experimenting with new kinds of alliances at the national level. At the state level it is a house divided. The people of Haryana do not want a coalition government but a decisive and transparent government committed to their welfare. The 2019 elections will sound the death knell of dynastic politics and establish democracy.

If the BJP forms the next government in the state, is Capt Abhimanyu the chief ministerial candidate? Last time also, you seem to have missed the opportunity as the party opted for Manohar Lal Khattar as Chief Minister.

The BJP top leadership will decide my role in the party or the government. We in the BJP do not work to gain any position and I have no personal ambitions. I will be too happy to work even in the party organisation. I will humbly accept any role that the party assigns me.

How do you view Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh’s statement that a Chief Minister should be first a leader rather than first a Chief Minister and then a leader — obviously a veiled attack on Khattar?

In a democracy everyone is entitled to his or her views. It is for the party organisation to look into such matters. The diversity of views in an organisation is the beauty of democracy. The very fact that he (Rao Inderjit Singh) has committed himself to bringing the BJP to power at the Centre and in the state is more important to me than any of his statements.

During the 2016 Jat agitation, you suffered huge personal losses as your residential and other properties were destroyed and your family was targeted. Are you satisfied with the course of investigation after the filing of the chargesheet by the CBI in the Panchkula court?

After the CBI filed the chargesheet in court, there is fair amount of confidence among the people of Haryana that justice will prevail and culprits will be brought to book. By God’s grace my family survived the murderous attack. My struggle is not for my family alone but also for common people who cannot take up the fight against these mighty politicians. The victims are still awaiting justice. The present and future generations have a right to know who perpetrated the violence and conspired against the state and society. When justice is finally done and the real perpetrators are exposed, people will take a call. And I have full faith in the democratic values of our people.

Why do you time and again accuse former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of involvement in a conspiracy to destablise the state government during the 2016 Jat quota agitation?

It is now known to all that in February 2016 some political groups led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s faction of the Congress hatched a conspiracy to destablise the Haryana Government, and disturb social fabric and communal harmony. The political conspiracy led to targeted violence by Congress supporters in select areas in Hooda’s strongholds. The evidence available with the CBI so far clearly suggests that those who perpetrated violence in Rohtak and Jhajjar during the 2016 Jat quota agitation belonged to the Hooda faction of the Congress. The areas where violence took place are their strongholds while the rest of Haryana largely remained peaceful. Hooda’s former political adviser Prof Virender Singh is heard in an audiotape instigating violence. Hooda's another associate, son of a former Congress minister close to him and the personal assistant of a former Rohtak MLA are other accused who otherwise had nothing to do with the Jat quota agitation. In fact, they used the Jat agitation to camouflage the political conspiracy while they brought in violent mobs to target political opponents. 

The BJP came to power on the slogans of ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’ and ‘zero tolerance to corruption’. Do you think these two objectives have been achieved during 45 months of the BJP rule in Haryana?

During the past 45 months, our government led by Manohar Lal Khattar has been firm on the principle of ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’. Besides, we propounded the idea of ‘Haryana ek, Haryanvi ek’. Every decision of our government and disbursal of money from the state exchequer have been guided by the principle ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’, which is reflected in equal development of all Assembly constituencies. On the issue of ‘zero tolerance to corruption’, our government right from the Chief Minister downwards has tried to instill transparency and accountability in the system. We have made headway in our fight against corruption and in the due course of time we will be able to make Haryana a ‘corruption-free’ state.

But we still hear about job scams such as the one unearthed at the Haryana Staff Selection Commission in Panchkula recently which brought the claim of the government of transparency in recruitments under a cloud.

For the first time in the history of Haryana, all recruitment agencies such as the HSSC and the HPSC have made job selection procedures merit-based and transparent. We came to know that some people after the compilation of results were calling up successful candidates to extract money from them though the results were yet to be announced. We cracked down on such people and filed FIRs against them. Unlike previous governments ours is a government that does not shy away from taking action in such matters. During our rule, the Opposition has not been able to come out with any tangible evidence of irregularities in recruitments. If any irregularities have been highlighted, these have been exposed at the instance of the state government. In previous governments, action was not taken even when evidence was provided.

After taking over as Finance Minister you through a White Paper presented a very sorry state of finances of the state. Have you been able to turn around the economy of the state?

In February 2015, we came up with a White Paper; the first one in the history of Haryana. This White Paper, which is a public document, was an exercise in the diagnosis of the economic health of the state. We immediately went into course correction and set out targets to improve the fundamental parameters of the economic health of the state. After 45 months, the Budget size of Haryana has gone up from Rs 79,000 crore to Rs 1.15 lakh crore. Capital expenditure has picked up, the fiscal deficit is well under control and the revenue deficit has come down. This is despite the fact that the government had taken over Rs 25,950 crore debt of power distribution companies (discoms). For the first time, power tariffs have come down and the discoms have made profits. We have been able to write the great success story in the economic development of the state. 

Is burgeoning debt, which was pegged at Rs 1.61 lakh crore in the 2018-19 Budget, a cause for concern?

Certainly not! It is well within the parameters fixed by the Central Government. In fact, unlike the previous governments, especially the Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda, we have not allowed the debt to be misused. We have succeeded in using additional debt as capital expenditure. The additional debt is now used in the construction of new productive assets such as Metros, highways, colleges and hospitals. There is a paradigm shift in the utilisation of debt by the government for development projects.

Though the Enterprise Promotion Policy was formulated in 2015, industrial investments in the state have been to the tune of Rs 80,000 crore only with FDIs of only around Rs 4,800 crore, which is much below expectations. Your comments?

When we came to power, Haryana was ranked 14th in the ease of doing business. The violence at the Maruti plant at Manesar had created a scare among the industrialists. The industrial environment was at its lowest ebb and corruption was rampant, making it difficult to do business in Haryana. From the 14th rank we have moved to number three in less than four years of the formulation of the industrial policy. Despite the violent Jat agitation, we were able to hold the first-ever Global Investors’ Meet at Gurugram in 2016.  In fact, even in the industrial policy, we have set out targets of Rs 1 lakh crore investment and four lakh jobs and we are close to achieving these.

MoUs of over Rs 5.84 lakh crore were signed during the 2016 Global Investors' Meet at Gurugram. However, a majority of these are yet to be implemented.

The standard success rate in all investors’ meets across India in the last 20 years has never been more than 15 per cent. We have achieved much more than that and I assure you that most of the projects are being implemented. Due to various policy and economic reasons, investors, sometimes, stagger their investments but the state government is following up every prospective project.

The powerful bureaucracy in Haryana has been averse to reforms. How far have you been able to tame the bureaucracy against the backdrop of several reforms that your government has initiated?

The bureaucracy in India follows the guidelines set out by the political establishments. Whatever happened in the past, happened because political masters wanted it that way. In fact, the bureaucracy has responded well to the changes in governance that we have initiated in Haryana. Without the support of the bureaucracy, the ranking of Haryana in ease of doing business would not have improved, as 50 per cent weightage in the ranking is given to the industry’s feedback. Similarly, it has done a wonderful job in several other projects, including 100 per cent Aaadhar linkage and online registration of over 22 social security schemes. The bureaucracy is working in consonance with the vision of the government to provide better governance to the people of Haryana.

Different sections of society — employees, farmers and teachers — seem to be miffed with the government and are perpetually on agitations. This is bad news for the government in the run-up to the next year elections.

It is not right to say that different sections of society are annoyed and are always on agitations. Yes, some sections of employees and other groups have some issues and the government is addressing them. In fact, Haryana was the first state in the country to implement the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations for its employees. Besides, some additional allowances were also given to the employees and the pensioners. The neighbouring state of Punjab has not been able to pay salaries to its employees on time. All pending issues of employees will be sorted out soon.

20,000 trucks in F’bad go off road

20,000 trucks in F’bad go off road

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

FARIDABAD: More than 20,000 trucks did not ply in the district on Friday as part of the nationwide “chakka jam” (strike) announced by the All-India Motor Transport Congress.

10 ice factories, 3 water chilling plants sealed

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

YAMUNANAGAR: A team of the Health and Family Welfare Department, Yamunanagar, sealed 10 ice factories and three water chilling plants in the twin cities of Yamunanagar and Jagadhri on Friday late in the evening.

Rs 25 lakh looted from mining contractor’s office

Rs 25 lakh looted from mining contractor’s office

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KARNAL: Four miscreants allegedly looted more than Rs 25 lakh at gunpoint from the office of a mining contractor in Sector 7 here on Friday.

Pollution board notice to HSVP

Pollution board notice to HSVP

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

PANIPAT:The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has served a notice to the Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) for not maintaining and operating common effluent treatment plant (CETP) in Sector 29 (part-2).

Arhtiyas protest direct payment, e-trading

Arhtiyas protest direct payment, e-trading

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

AMBALA: Commission agents suspended work and held protests against the state government’s decision to start e-trading and direct payment to farmers at the grain market here on Friday.

20-yr-old drowns in canal

20-yr-old drowns in canal

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KARNAL: Dilbagh Singh (20) of Kurukshetra drowned in the Western Yamuna Canal on Kachwa road on Friday.

Crores spent, but clean water still a distant dream for Kaithal residents

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KAITHAL:Despite expenditure of crores to ensure supply of potable drinking water to a population of over two lakh, the Public Health Engineering Department has failed to supply quality water to residents of this town.

ASHA workers to be paid more

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

CHANDIGARH: The Haryana Government on Friday made substantial increase in the comprehensive incentive package for ASHA workers, which would result in an additional liability of Rs104 crore on the Budget.

NHAI to build Sonepat toll plaza in 6 months, HC told

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

CHANDIGARH: Less than two months after Haryana was asked to forthwith take possession of the land acquired for the construction of a toll plaza in Sonepat, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) gave an undertaking in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set it up within six months.

At PGIMS, number of drug addicts rises

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

ROHTAK: There has been a sharp increase in the number of drug addicts visiting the State Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (SDDTC) located on the premises of the PGIMS indicates that like Punjab, indicating a Punjab-like situation.

hond chillar massacre

SGPC demands action against police personnel

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

AMRITSAR: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has urged Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to take action against the police officials who were involved in themassacre at Hond Chillar village of Rewari district in November 1984.

Farmers’ nationwide march from July 26

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KURUKSHETRA: The Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, an umbrella body of 110 farmers’ organisations, on Friday announced that it would launch a nationwide march in support of farm reforms.

‘Suicide note’ of school student found

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KURUKSHETRA: The police have found a “suicide note” of Class IX student Jatin who was found hanging at the Gurukul hostel on Tuesday.

NSUI seeks investigation into UGC-NET exam irregularities

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KURUKSHETRA: The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) on Monday filed a complaint with the CBSE’s regional office in Panchkula, demanding a thorough probe into the alleged irregularities during the UGC-NET test that took place at University College here on July 8.

Congress bats for banning triple talaq

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KARNAL:Sumitra Chauhan, state president of the women’s Congress, on Thursday advocated a ban on triple talaq, claiming it to be against women.

Khattar urged to ban e-cigarettes

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

CHANDIGARH: Working on tobacco intervention in collaboration with Consumer Voice for many years, Chandigarh-based Citizens Awareness Group has written to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Health Minister Anil Vij and Health Secretary of Haryana urging them to ban e-cigarettes in the state.

Jail inmates to be trained in food technology

21 Jul 2018 | 12:44 AM

KURUKSHETRA: Inmates of the Kurukshetra district prison will soon be able to get special training in food technology and bamboo furniture making.

Don’t hold dharnas: Education Dept to extension lecturers

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

JHAJJAR:The Department of Higher Education has instructed extension (guest) lecturers in government colleges across the state not to organise protests for their demands.

Ambala’s civil hospital transformer burnt; patients have tough time

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

AMBALA:Patients had to face hardship after the transformer of the civil hospital in Ambala City got burnt on Thursday afternoon and was changed late on Friday afternoon.

Govt to instal taps in villages by Dec 31

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

REWARI:Banwari Lal, Minister of State for Public Health Engineering, on Monday said the work of installing taps in all villages across the state would be completed by December 31.

Graduation must for gram sachivs

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

CHANDIGARH:The government on Friday decided that academic qualification for future recruitment to the post of gram sachiv would be graduation instead of matriculation.

Youth killed by friends; six booked

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KAITHAL:A youth, Vijay, was killed near here on Thursday after he was allegedly hit by a liquor bottle following a scuffle with six youths while they were taking bath and having drinks on the banks of a canal.

Priest found dead in temple

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

YAMUNANAGAR:A temple priest was found dead in Nagava Jagir village of Yamunanagar district on Thursday night.

Roadways staff to go on strike on Aug 7

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Roadways workers are gearing up for another showdown with the state government, with the former announcing a “chakka jam” on August 7.

3 IAS officers transferred

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

CHANDIGARH: The government has issued transfer and posting orders of three IAS officers with immediate effect.

Pay fee via debit, credit cards at KU

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

KURUKSHETRA: Kurukshetra University on Wednesday equipped various admission windows with electronic data capture (EDC) machine to accept bank cards for fees payment.

‘Godman’ held for rape, blackmail

21 Jul 2018 | 12:33 AM

FATEHABAD: A court at Tohana on Friday sent Mahant Baba Amarpuri, alias Billu, to police remand for five days. The police arrested him on Thursday and recovered nearly 120 CDs containing videos of physical intimacy with women in the temple after one such video went viral on social media.

Gallantry award winner Army officer moves HC over denial of benefits by Haryana

Gallantry award winner Army officer moves HC over denial of benefits by Haryana

19 Jul 2018 | 10:57 AM

CHANDIGARH: An Army Major, presented gallantry award on August 15, 2009, by the President for displaying exemplary courage during the Mumbai terror attack, on Wednesday moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the denial of benefits to him by the Haryana government.

Gurugram schoolboy killing: SC rejects bail plea of juvenile accused

Gurugram schoolboy killing: SC rejects bail plea of juvenile accused

20 Jul 2018 | 9:28 PM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of a juvenile, accused of killing a seven-year-old boy in a private school in Gurugram.

3 gangsters held after shootout with police

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

SONEPAT: After a brief exchange of fire between the police and five car-borne armed gangsters on a road between Bidhlan and Sisana in the district late on Wednesday evening, the cops overpowered three of them, identified as Pawan and Rajbir of Bhainswal Kalan village and Ravinder of Gawasin in Jhajjar district.

Gym trainer fights with colleague, dies

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

GURUGRAM: A gym trainer was killed, while another was grievously injured after the duo fell into the basement of the building while fighting.

Govt transfers 3 HCS officers

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

CHANDIGARH: The state government has issued transfer and posting orders of three HCS officers with immediate effect.

Youth gets 10-yr jail in POCSO case

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

KURUKSHETRA: A youth from Ambala was sentenced to 10 years in jail under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by a local court on Thursday.

Panipat ex-Mayor booked for misappropriating grains

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

PANIPAT: The police have booked 11 members of the Sarv Samaj Kalyan Sudhar Samiti on the charge of misappropriating 468 quintals of foodgrain (375 quintals of wheat and 93 quintals of rice) meant for BPL families.

‘Cheating’ during NET: KU approaches CBSE

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

KURUKSHETRA: Kurukshetra University (KU) has asked the CBSE to investigate into allegations of irregularities in the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted here on July 8.

Girl held for extorting money

Girl held for extorting money

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

KARNAL: A 19-year-old girl from the district’s Sekhpura Sohana was arrested on Thursday on the charge of extorting money from a man on the pretext of implicating him in a rape case.

Haryana school with zero result to get motivational drills

Haryana school with zero result to get motivational drills

20 Jul 2018 | 11:39 AM

HISAR: The District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), a government teacher training institute located in the district’s Mattarsham village, has adopted Government Girls Secondary School in Kabrel village that shot to infamy due to zero result of Class X students this year.

Committee set up to resolve issues of home buyers

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

CHANDIGARH: To address problems of home buyers in Gurugram Manesar Urban Complex, the state government has constituted an empowered committee under the chairmanship of Secretary, Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, to give specific recommendations and solutions for resolving the issues related to the home buyers and affected parties.

Raped girl delivers baby, abandons her

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

ROHTAK: Days after a newborn girl was found abandoned on roadside in the town, it has been found that she was born to a 13-year-old girl, a student of Class VII, who was allegedly raped.

e-girdawari from current kharif season

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

CHANDIGARH: Taking a step further in the direction of digitisation, the Haryana government has ordered e-girdawari of crops on electronic tablets from the current kharif season.

3 booked for firing at toll plaza staff

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

ROHTAK: Three unidentified youths allegedly assaulted a security guard and fired gunshots at the Makrauli toll plaza in the wee hours on Thursday as he refused to allow them to cross the toll barrier without paying the toll charges.

3 held for extorting jewellery from minor

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

KAITHAL: The police have arrested three persons, including a juvenile, and recovered from them gold jewellery, silver coins and other articles worth Rs 4 lakh that they had extorted from a local boy.

Tanwar’s cycle yatra on Hooda’s home turf

Tanwar’s cycle yatra on Hooda’s home turf

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar on Thursday kicked off the third phase of his ‘cycle yatra’ from Garhi Sampla village in Rohtak district, the home turf of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Panchkula violence

Court drops sedition charges against 19 dera followers

20 Jul 2018 | 12:04 AM

PANCHKULA: In yet another blow to the Haryana Police, the Panchkula court dropped sedition charges against 19 followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in connection with 2017 violence that killed 36 people and left more than 200 people wounded.

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