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Ravneet Bittu: Will act as bridge between Centre, Punjab

Says resolving farmers’ issues his top priority

Ravneet Bittu: Will act as bridge between Centre, Punjab

Ravneet Singh Bittu. File photo



Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, June 9

In a surprise and what he himself calls a “totally unexpected” move, three-time Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Ludhiana on the BJP ticket, was on Sunday inducted into the Council of Ministers.

The grandson of slain Punjab CM Beant Singh will be the saffron party’s Sikh face in the NDA government. The BJP lost all 13 parliamentary seats in Punjab, which it contested alone for the first time since 1996 after parting ways with its long-time ally SAD. From being Rahul Gandhi’s “soldier” to “Modi’s man” in his two-decade political career, the 48-year-old firebrand politician vows to act as a bridge between Punjab and Delhi. “I will take up all issues concerning Punjab, mainly those related to farmers, directly with the PM to get these addressed once for all,” the Congress-turned-BJP leader told The Tribune over the phone from Delhi. “It was an unexpected call that I received this morning following which I rushed to the PM’s residence where I was told that I would be part of the Modi 3.0 Cabinet,” Bittu said.

He said his induction into the Cabinet had proved that Punjab figured on the top among Modi’s priority states. “The BJP lost all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab and still gave a Cabinet berth to the state. It is nothing less than Modi’s gift to Punjab,” Bittu said. Maintaining that the farmers’ protest was among the major issues, Bittu said he would talk to farm union leaders and take them to PM Modi to get all their genuine demands met and bring a permanent solution to the issue that had been simmering since the introduction of the three controversial farm laws in September 2020. Though the legislations were later withdrawn, the farmers continued to hold a grudge against the saffron party. The SAD had to walk out of the alliance with the BJP over this issue.

He said Punjab would be among the major beneficiary states under the new Modi government. He said bringing major infrastructure development projects and giving thrust to agriculture, health, education, industry and the “deteriorating” law and order situation would be his top agenda. Bittu, a Class XII pass-out and a licensed commercial pilot, had successfully contested his maiden election from the Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency in 2009. Then 33, Bittu was the youngest MP from Punjab.

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