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Posted at: May 25, 2019, 8:09 AM; last updated: May 27, 2019, 10:46 PM (IST)

Tapping youth energy my priority: MP Chaudhary

Plans to bring industry to generate jobs, push development

Aakanksha N Bhardwaj
Tribune News service
Jalandhar, May 24

Chaudhary Santokh Singh has been re-elected as Jalandhar MP. Amid meetings with people, receiving bouquets and getting congratulatory calls, Chaudhary talked to The Tribune. He talks about his priorities in his new tenure as MP. Chaudhary said he was being made a villain on the Ganna village issue.

Your priority in new tenure?

My first priority is to make sure that the energy of the youths is tapped here. It is a common phenomenon in Doaba that youngsters are moving abroad. I want to stop this. So, my idea is to bring heavy industry here, which will help in the economic growth of Jalandhar and generate employment. I also want the youths of the region to become entrepreneurs. Whenever I meet anyone, be it a trader or an industrialist, they tell me that their wards do not want to stay here. I want to create an environment so that the talent of my constituency remains here. For this, I will hold meetings with people in which industrialists and MLAs will be involved and new ideas invited. An AIMS-like hospital will be opened here. Completion of the smart city project, tackling pollution and traffic problems will be other priorities.

What about Ganna village that you had adopted?

That is a gone case. The Government of India did not provide me with any help. I had adopted the village, not for infrastructural development. There was crime and problem of drugs in the village. I wanted to bring reform there. I had written many times to the Centre to sanction de-addiction and skill development centres. I requested the Social Justice Ministry to provide me grant for the sewerage system, but they refused. But still, I am being portrayed as a villain in this regard. I have got a playground and community hall constructed there. Now, if there is any discussion regarding the adoption of the village, I will refuse. We had also opposed the adoption of second village.

You had won with a margin of 70,000 votes last time but this time it dipped to 20,000. What do you think played negative for you?

We are trying to ascertain the factors, which might have resulted in the dip. I think by playing the religious card in the last days led to polarisation. The BJP touched religious sentiments. Even the BSP played a religious card and they misled Dalit voters. Also, we could not provide proper civic amenities to Jalandhar residents. But this time, we will take care of this issue. I will aggressively raise issues for Jalandhar residents this time.

Dalits largely voted for the BSP. How will you bring them back?

Yes, the Dalits voted for the BSP this time. But we will reach out to them. They have always been with us because my family has done a lot of work for them. We are the ones who have rolled out various schemes for them. I can challenge that no one else has worked for Dalits the way our family did. I want to ask what the BSP did for them?

Did SAD fund BSP?

Yes, they wanted to damage the Congress’ share of votes. It is Sukhbir Badal who selects the candidate from the BSP and then that candidate is fielded against me. Later, they fund the candidate. It happens every time.

Jalandhar North and Jalandhar Central came as a big disappointment. What went wrong?

These two constituencies have urban voters. In my opinion, I have not been able to provide proper civic facilities in these constituencies. No matter who is associated with this, I will take the responsibility. Now, I have made up my mind. I would take steps to provide every facility in these areas.

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