The Tribune Interview: Will bring big-ticket projects to Gurdaspur, says Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa : The Tribune India

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The Tribune Interview: Will bring big-ticket projects to Gurdaspur, says Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa

The Tribune Interview: Will bring big-ticket projects to Gurdaspur, says Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa


The Tribune Interview: Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Congress candidate

Temperamental Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has transformed himself into a calm and composed man. He enjoys a good reputation in the Congress. A four-time MLA, Sukhjinder spoke to Ravi Dhaliwal about the challenges that lay ahead and how he intends to make the parliamentary constituency a better place to live in. The excerpts:

The candidates of the main parties have started their campaigns. Don’t you think you are lagging behind?

Limping horses never win races. Only thoroughbreds do. My opponents are putting up half-hearted shows. On my part, I have constituted a team which will guide me on where, when and how to campaign. My campaign will have a touch of professionalism to it unlike the amateurish shows being put up by my rivals. Give me some time and then see how the best horse emerges victorious in the Derby.

How do you reckon your chances of wresting the seat from the BJP?

Let us dissect them one by one. Batala MLA Sherry Kalsi is the AAP candidate but nobody knows him beyond the limits of his Assembly seat. He is immature and knows little about how politics is played out. Nobody takes him seriously. Even I don’t. BJP candidate Dinesh Singh Babbu is not being allowed to enter rural areas by the irate farmers. He is an extremely poor speaker and has no connection whatsoever with the masses. SAD candidate Dr Daljit Singh Cheema is a good man with good intentions but has miles to go as a politician. I would like to have a live TV debate with rivals on the problems plaguing this seat. That way people can judge for themselves who is better placed to become an MP.

How will you garner votes in the Hindu areas of Pathankot, Bhoa and Sujanpur?

Just imagine the damage BJP MP Sunny Deol has done to his party. No BJP leader is willing to mix with the masses fearing repercussions from the voters. I will take advantage of this situation. I remained the president of the Gurdaspur Congress Committee for more than a decade when three Hindu seats were part of the district. This means I have a lot of contacts there. My people have planned gatherings and rallies which I will address in a few weeks.

What are the main problems of the Gurdaspur constituency?

The biggest problem pertains to drones being sent in by Pakistan. These machines are dangerous because they carry with them huge payloads of high-grade heroin. A large part of this heroin is consumed in the border district itself. If nothing is done, this scourge will devour our future generations. It is a curse on the people of Gurdaspur. More drug rehabilitation centres need to be opened, particularly near the IB. Our children can be weaned off heroin only if we give them jobs. I will bring in some big ticket private ventures which can generate employment.

Nearly 1,500 acres of panchayat land in Kalanaur is lying vacant. How do you intend to use it?

When I was Co-operatives Minister, I established the state-of-the-art Sugarcane Research Institute on the panchayat land. We should think big. I will ask the Railway Ministry to send a survey team to Kalanaur to study the feasibility of establishing a Railway Coach Factory. This could turn out to be a game changer. Hundreds of jobs can be generated. I will also talk to vehicle units so that they can open their factories here. If you have the will, you can move mountains.

The 25-km stretch of the Gurdaspur-Mukerian road is in bad shape. Can something be done about it?

The key is held by the NHAI. I will ask their officers to conduct a survey to see whether it can be upgraded into a four-lane highway. That is the only solution we have right now.

How will you bring back Batala’s industrial units, which have shifted to J&K and HP?

This is indeed a serious issue. Ours is a border area and hence the government should give incentives like it gives in J&K and HP. Just look at the way the government is giving massive tax concessions to businessmen in these states. Why cannot the Union government give similar concessions to industrialists in Batala?

#Congress #Gurdaspur #Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa


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