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Posted at: Oct 6, 2018, 12:03 AM; last updated: Oct 6, 2018, 12:03 AM (IST)INTERVIEW

‘Will waive farm loans, if voted to power’

Naveen Jaihind: AAP will consider pension for farmers after they attain the age of 60 years and remove toll plazas from highways
‘Will waive farm loans, if voted to power’
Naveen Jaihind

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Haryana unit president Naveen Jaihind claims that people of Haryana have seen blatant ‘goondaism’ during the INLD rule, rampant corruption during the Congress regime and divisive policies of the BJP government. He says that AAP seeks a chance from the voters of Haryana to address their basic concerns such as a provision of affordable electricity and water supply, quality education and health care at nominal or no charges on the Delhi pattern. Excerpts from an interview with Sunit Dhawan…  

How do you rate the performance of the BJP government in Haryana?

It is the weakest and the most inefficient government the state has ever had. It has damaged social fabric and brotherhood in the state. The law and order situation is deplorable. As per the NCRB data, around 40,000 cases of crime against women have been registered during the past four years. The BJP had promised to provide one lakh jobs every year, but it has not been able to give even 20,000 jobs in four years. Rather, the government has collected Rs 200 crore as fees from 20 lakh unemployed youths who had applied for jobs. Then, they claim to have attracted massive foreign investment, but there is no evidence of it on the ground.

What is your opinion about the political atmosphere in the state at present?

People are fed up with the functioning of the BJP government and are desperately looking forward to change it. Even BJP workers are disillusioned with their party leadership. On the other hand, Opposition parties are also in a state of disarray. The Congress is riddled with factionalism and there is infighting over supremacy in the INLD as well.

Still, why will people vote for AAP when they can choose established parties such as the Congress, BJP or the INLD?

The feedback from people at the grass-roots level tells us that they are feeling cheated and dejected and are not going to vote for the BJP again. People had faced blatant 'goondaism' during the INLD rule and rampant corruption during the Congress regime in the name of special economic zones (SEZs) and change of land use (CLU). Hence, we are seeking a chance from the people of the state to replicate the Delhi model of governance in Haryana.

What about the differences in the AAP organisation, especially in its Punjab unit?

The party leadership is trying to sort out the issues pertaining to the Punjab unit, and an amicable solution will be found soon. Our Haryana unit has become stronger after the last general elections and we are building our cadre base at the booth level.

Several Punjab leaders of AAP have alleged excessive interference by the central leadership of the party in the affairs of the state unit. Did the central leadership impose its candidates on the Punjab unit for the elections?

The central leadership of any party does issue guidelines and directions and they have to be followed. But no party can do without a network of local workers and leaders.

Talking of Haryana, AAP has no visible face except for Naveen Jaihind; your comments?

We have a full network of district and constituency-level teams across the state. However, our local leaders do not have enough funds and resources to promote themselves.

But what stops them from raising issues of public interest and holding dharnas and protests for some public cause?

Our party has been staging demonstrations on public issues.

The candidates fielded by your party in the last general elections proved to be weak. What criteria will be followed to select candidates this time?

We will select candidates who have a clean image, have a passion to serve people and can go from door to door for canvassing. We will not select candidates on the basis of their ‘jaati’ (caste), but on the basis of their ‘junoon’ (passion).

Have you been able to convince people that AAP is a viable political alternative in Haryana?

Other political parties and even many people in Haryana feel that our candidates will only get a chunk of votes. However, gradually, they will realise that AAP is a political force to reckon with. 

What are the salient features of the ‘Delhi model’ you want to implement in Haryana?

The AAP government in Delhi led by Arvind Kejriwal is providing electricity at the cheapest rates in the country. Up to 20,000 litres of water per family every month is being supplied free of cost. Quality education and health care facilities are being provided at nominal or no charges. The Delhi Government gives Rs 1 crore as compensation to the families of martyrs and Rs 20,000 as relief to farmers who have lost their crops.

What is your vision and blueprint for Haryana?

We want to provide a government that solicits the opinions of all stakeholders to formulate any policy. Like, if we want to chalk out an agriculture policy, we will talk to the representatives of farmers, farm scientists, economists, officials of the Agriculture Department and other related agencies, organisations and individuals and include their worthy inputs in the policy. We also want to strengthen and empower panchayati raj institutions and other local government bodies.

What will you do to improve the lot of farmers and help them overcome the farm crisis?

We will implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan commission. We will waive loans of farmers wherever possible and reduce the rates of interest on agricultural loans. We will also consider the proposal to give pension to farmers after they attain the age of 60 years. In short, we will put an end to the system in which a farmer goes to jail for non-payment of loan, while a big industrialist defaulting on loan payment is allowed to flee to a foreign country.

How do you plan to tackle the issue of unemployment?

A strong political willpower is required to address the problem of unemployment, and it is not rocket science. According to my information, at least 1.5 lakh posts in various government departments are lying vacant at present. Besides filling these posts, 80 per cent jobs in private companies or industrial units located in Haryana should be reserved for the state youth.

What is your take on reservation?

Reservation should be provided to those who are socially as well as economically backward.     

Should reservation be provided to Jats?

The matter of Jat reservation is sub-judice and everyone should accept the court verdict.

What other things do you promise to voters in case your party is voted to power in the state?

We will strive to provide an atmosphere in which common people, including girls and women, can roam about freely at any time and criminals fear the law, whereas the situation at present is the opposite. We will take necessary measures to remove toll plazas on highways; rather abolish the system of collecting toll tax, which is akin to ‘hafta-vasooli’.

What shortcomings do you see in the political set-up in the state?

A handful of political families have been ruling the state by turns. They indulged in dynasty politics, nepotism and favouritism. Such politicians do not allow budding leaders from ordinary families to grow. Then there is a spoils system wherein supporters of politicians expect government contracts or jobs for themselves or their family members as quid pro quo for their support.

When and how do you plan to start canvassing for the next Lok Sabha and Assembly elections?

We have already started a door-to-door campaign as part of our ‘Parivar Jodo Abhiyan’. We visit residents on their doorsteps, tell them about the policies, programmes and welfare initiatives of the AAP government in Delhi and request them to put up a board at their homes pledging their support to AAP. We had planned two lakh boards, but going by the overwhelming response of people, we may have to increase the target to five lakh.    

Who will be the chief ministerial candidate of AAP in Haryana?

We will go to people with issues and not with any face. If they think the issues are worthwhile, they will vote us to power. 

Are you a candidate for the Chief Minister’s post?

I will fulfil any responsibility that the party assigns me.


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