Will ensure farmers get red-carpet welcome by PM: Ravneet Bittu : The Tribune India

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THE TRIBUNE INTERVIEW

Will ensure farmers get red-carpet welcome by PM: Ravneet Bittu

Will ensure farmers get red-carpet welcome by PM: Ravneet Bittu

Ravneet Singh Bittu, Union Minister



The Tribune Interview: Ravneet Singh Bittu, Union Minister

Ravneet Singh Bittu, now Union Minister, says he is humbled by the opportunity given to him by the BJP despite his losing the election from Ludhiana. He will act as a bridge between Punjab and New Delhi. Three-time turncoat MP Bittu, who was pipped by his rival Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Punjab Congress president and once his friend, said the farmers would get a red-carpet welcome at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence. “I was not expecting the Cabinet call but it came as a big surprise to me,” the grandson of slain Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh said on being inducted into the Modi 3.0 team. Talking to Nitin Jain, the 48-year-old third generation Congressman, who joined the BJP ahead of this election, said his induction into the Union Cabinet was Modi’s benevolence and gift to Punjab. Excerpts:

Were you expecting the Cabinet berth after losing this election?

I never expected the call and it came as a big surprise to me and my family as well. On getting the call, I immediately rushed to the Prime Minister’s residence where I was told that I would be a part of the Modi 3.0 Cabinet. I am humbled by the opportunity given to me by the party despite my losing this election.

I am confident that voters of Punjab will consider giving the BJP a chance to form the government in 2027. The Akali Dal misled the BJP on the farm laws. While initially providing a positive feedback, its leaders later backtracked when faced pressure from the ground. I pledge to hold constructive discussions with the farmers.

What message your elevation as Union Minister will give?

It has again proved beyond doubt that Punjab figures on top of Prime Minister’s priority states.

How do you look at the BJP having lost all 13 seats and you are still getting a Cabinet berth?

It is Modi’s gift to Punjab. It’s because he has been attached to the state since he was the party in-charge.

What role you will play as the lone Union Minister from Punjab?

I will act as a bridge between Punjab and New Delhi and will get all issues, especially that of farmers, addressed once and for all by the Centre.

How do you plan to resolve the farmers’ issue?

I will take farm leaders to PM Modi and arrange their one-on-one meeting.

What Punjab can expect from you as Union Minister?

Punjab will be among the major beneficiary states under the Modi government. I will raise all demands and issues of Punjab with the PM and will get these resolved at the earliest.

What will be your priorities as minister?

Bringing major infrastructure development projects and giving thrust to the upliftment of agriculture, health, education, industry and improving the deteriorating law and order situation in the border state will be top on my agenda.

Why did you leave the Congress and join the BJP?

The refusal of the Congress to accept the invitation to the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony was the tipping point for me. While there were underlying tensions before also, this incident struck a chord deeply. Lord Rama must be revered beyond political affiliations and when the invitation came from the Mandir Trust, it should have been embraced by all. Instead, the Congress’ decision to abstain from the participation was disheartening.

Who were the persons behind influencing you to join the BJP?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

What were the main attractions to switch over to the BJP?

The BJP’s nationalist ethos, shaped by the vision of leaders like Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, was the driving force behind my decision to join the party. Their initiatives, such as the construction of the Ram Mandir, opening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, implementation of the CAA, abrogation of Article 370 and introduction of GST, resonated deeply with me. Additionally, measures like the empowerment of women with 33 per cent reservation in Parliament, Ayushman Bharat, Swachh Bharat schemes, and India’s rise in global ranking further strengthened my conviction.

Did farmers’ protest cost dear to the BJP in Punjab?

The BJP represents the future of Punjab, offering the best chance to uplift the state from its financial struggles. I have witnessed first-hand the genuine concern that Modi and Shah have for Punjab and their sincere desire to enact a positive change. I am confident that the voters of Punjab will consider giving the BJP a chance to form the government in 2027. SAD misled the BJP on the farm laws. While initially providing a positive feedback, they later backtracked when faced pressure from the ground. I pledge to hold constructive discussions with the farmers.

#BJP #Ravneet Bittu


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