“ A mid term poll is necessary, everybody in the country wants it today,” said Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in an exclusive interview for Teekhi Baat on IBN7.
Badal made explosive revelations that he will take up the issue of the mid term poll with the BJP, as it will benefit the country.
Our guest for today on Teekhi Baat is new Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal. Welcome to our studio.
SB: Thank You, Prabhuji! PC: I said new, because you have taken oath again.
SB: Licence has been renewed.
PC: Licence has been renewed. For how many years, Five
SB: No, now there are more twenty years to go.
PC: 20 years are remaining, what does it mean?
SB: We had a target of 25 years.
PC: You will rule for 25 years.
SB: Yes, five years have passed, more twenty years.
PC: 25 years means, you don’t have any ambitions to go to the centre.
SB: No, no, I have love for Punjab, and will work here.
PC: Tell me one thing, this has been the win of Badal brand, not of Akali Dal. In the brand, there is a combination of a senior brand and junior brand, you have impressed the masses.
SB: The win is of the ‘work’ that has been done. If you would have seen our campaign, we have given one slogan, ‘vote for development’. Earlier, what used to happen, when politicians or political parties used to campaign, they never used to mention the five years that they ruled, they only talk of future, if you give us votes, we will do this and that. There was never a mention of the work that has been done. But in our campaign, we kept the ‘will do’ factor in less number, and kept in front of the people of Punjab ‘what we have done’. We told them you have simultaneously seen two governments, Congress parties and ours. Compare between the two, the one who have worked more, ‘vote for performance’.
PC: What do you think about a 42 year record being broken, here no government repeated, whether Congress or Akali Dal. From inside, you might have felt that ‘we might lose this one’ This record will not be broken, and we will lose. Did this thought ever came to your heart.
SB: This time, from the start, I had confidence because, when I used to go to villages and cities, the response I was getting, our colleagues and team members, they used feel that there is a general impression, media is saying, surveys are saying, that what happens all the time will be repeated. But in my mind, there was a sense of surety,
PC: What was the reason for that?
PC: Response means
SB: Like media, catches the news, that this news will run. As a politician, from the nerve, the pulse of the people tells us whether the government is happy with us or not.
PC: But people said that if Congress rebels would not have contested, the Congress became the reason for your victory, you did not win on your own. So many rebels stood for elections, they ate into votes, and you won. This is the impression the opposition people are giving that this is not a victory of the Badal’s, it is the victory of the rebels of Congress.
SB: This is a wrong impression, even our rebels have stood for elections. I will give you an example, Manpreet is our rebel, and we won in his constituency. In Amritsar, Tikka was our rebel, and our candidate has won. Even then, Congress lost. This is not a question of rebel. This time the people of Punjab have given a clear message, that if you work, you will come again, if you don’t work, then we will make you come again.
PC: But a lot of corruption charges were levelled against you. Amrinder Singh levelled those,
SB: That was the last time, the politics of Capt. Amrinder Singh, that is based on lies. Tell such a big lie, that the common people will think that there would be some reality in this. Last time they levelled a fabricated allegation, that we have done a corruption of Rs. 35,000 crore. Somebody will think, it will not be 35, but 30, or 3, if not 3, then 1. When he presented the challan, that also fabricated Rs. 79 crore, and we were set free in the case. This time, you would have seen in the past five years, not even scam, scandal happened in Punjab, not even one. Last time, during Amrinder Singh’s tenure, we did not dig our scams, national media did it.
PC: They had negative voting, hence you got positive benefit as you had positive agenda. Now Sukhbir Badal was projected like a young face, and there is a lot of respect for senior Badal, hence there was a good combination. But people had an expectation that you will become chief minister.
SB: I had a clear commitment as a president of the party, before election we held a Moga rally, which was the main rally, in which we had announced, that Sahab Prakash Singh Badal is our chief ministerial candidate. People had doubted, even media had doubted, that after elections he will go back and will say
PC: But young people should come ahead, what is the issue. Badal sahab has done a lot of work, is a very senior politician, there is a lot of respect for him in the country,
SB: We have a habit in the party, we do what we say. There is a faith on Sahab Prakash Singh Badal, and there is faith of the people on us, the manifesto that I had given the last time, we have fully did what we said.
PC: You have done but people expected that a young face will come ahead, even Badal sahab would have wanted , I have done enough work, now my son will go ahead,. In Badal family, fight between the Badals.
SB: This is actually the best combination, this is a lethal combination between Sahab Prakash Singh Badal and me, his experience and my management. The combination of both has become a lethal combination.
PC: He can guide from outside too, in the family is there any fight between Badal’s that no, Sukhbir has to be given more training.
SB: There is no fight among us. Our family is united. You know that Sahab Manpreet Singh Badal is no more in our party. There is unanimity in our party and family. And I wanted from my heart, that Sahab Prakash Singh Badal, who spent his whole life in the service of the people of Punjab, and his experience, Sahab Prakash Singh Badal, I want to say, is like a university, you go to college and school, you learn something everyday, we learn daily from his experience. Hence we want for as long as we can gain from his experience,
PC: Sukhbir, don’t you feel that your shortcomings, till he is there you shortcomings will remain unexposed. Otherwise, when Akhilesh can being chief minister, then why not Sukhbir Singh Badal.
SB: This is not an issue.
PC: This is not for hiding shortcomings and fights.
SB: There are not shortcomings. If there would have been any shortcoming you would have brought it to notice.
PC: When he wants to retire, would you make him last the full term.
SB: Till he wants, till he is fit, till it is there in his mind that he can do it,
PC: That decision has been left upon him when he wants to.
SB: Because we want to gain benefit from his experience.
PC: Experience you will get, if he sits and home and give you experience, he can also scold you, can make you work too, do you think this decision is on him, when he wants to do.
SB: It is on him.
PC: You will wait for his order till then.
SB: It makes no difference, it makes no difference.
PC: But there is one thing, when deputy chief minister is young, then why the average age of the cabinet is more than him. You gave meagre representation with two three young people among fifteen. BJP leaders had a problem in taking oath too, many of your ministers had problem in even climbing stairs, don’t you think young blood should come which should get trained within five years.
SB: If you see our cabinet,
PC: You have eleven ministers.
SB: We have fourteen, among fourteen, seven of them are young, who have come from our youth wing, and those who have come from various organisations. And it is a combination of experience and youth.
PC: This time your seats have increased, many young people have been elected. These four are old, two are new,
SB: Two new have been taken.
PC: Then new people could have come
SB: People who are coming for the first time, we will take them in parliamentary secretariat, so that they get used to the experience of administration.
PC: And secondly its seems that Akali Dal does not have love towards women.
SB: We have one, but will make parliamentary secretary,
PC: But not minister, thus it means that at your place, women are not yet ready to take responsibility of being minister in Akali Dal or you don’t let them go ahead.
SB: No, it is not so,
PC: How many women have won
SB: For our party, four five women have won.
PC: You have given less representation.
SB: No, we had a representation of 11-12, from whom four won.
PC: It was not thirty per cent,
SB: No party has 30 per cent.
PC: Do you believe in 30 per cent quota or no.
SB: No I believe in it.
PC: But don’t give
SB: Like an atmosphere forms, we have cut a senior party leaders name and given ticket to his wife or some other woman candidate.
PC: Neither you have given adequate representation to women, nor young people.
SB: We have given more than last time.
PC: There is only one cabinet minister.
SB: Even last time, we had only one woman cabinet minister.
PC: That means you are not encouraging women more.
SB: The women who have got elected, we want to give them experience. Because running an administration is not an easy job,
PC: One teekhi baat is that you men who got elected, but did not have experience, you have included them, you could have taken women.
SB: The young people whom we have taken, they had experience, they have become MLA’s for the second time, somebody has become for the third time, and that too in young. Many of our MLA’s who were elected last time are of 25,26,27 and 28 years.
PC: That means women in Akali Dal are not so experienced so as to come in government.
SB: We are giving more experience to women in Akali Dal. Experienced women have been given cabinet berth. And we will make chief parliamentary secretary, and give them more representation.
PC: It is fine that you are saying that you gave young people representation. What if I say that it is an old cabinet of a young Deputy chief minister.
SB: No that is not true, if you don’t add up the ages of Sahab Prakash Singh Badal and Chunni Lal then the average age will come down drastically. Because of their experience, our other ministers are in late 60 and late 50s
PC: You say the government will run well, but people say that the government is bankrupt.
SB: This is a wrong impression that has been given.
PC: You have also said about the need for money, you demand a special package from the government.
SB: We are asking for special package because, injustice has been done to us.
PC: You are running a lot of populist schemes.
SB: Populist scheme, because this government is not for the rich and famous. The government is for everybody. What we have to give the people, we have to give. For the middle class, we have planning we have to give them.
PC: How much revenue has increased in the past five years.
SB: Let me give you example of five years. We have three source of revenue
PC: How much has increased.
SB: I am giving that example, one source is VAT, when we came to power in 2007, total VAT of Punjab was Rs. 5000 crore.
PC: Correct, it was Rs. 5000 crore
SB: Today, I have spoken to finance secretary, we are ending the year with Rs. 12500 crores. During the Congress tenure if you see
PC: You are saying it grew from Rs. 5000 crore to Rs. 12,500 crore in five years
PC: Inflation is linked to VAT, as prices increase, the VAT also increases, then if prices are neutralized, then how your collection has increased.
SB: No, no,no,no,no, it took 60 years to go from 0 to Rs. 5000 crore. Hence, from 0 to Rs. 5000 crore took 60 years and Rs. 5000 crore to Rs. 12,500 crore in five years. Please see the difference.
PC: If you remove inflation.
SB: Even after you remove inflation, hence considering 60 years inflation, it will come negative under the rule of the Congress.
PC: Then there was no VAT, some other system was there.
SB: Secondly, excise, when Capt. Amrinder Singh was chief minister, in five years the total increase was Rs. 70 crore, we have given an increase of Rs. 1600-1700 crore in five years.
PC: Now, from where will the money come.
SB: This all is management, technology, compliance
PC: What will you do, put tax, recovery
SB: It is compliance. The systems which we have introduced,
PC: What is your target recovery for outstanding revenues?
SB: Out target, I spoke to our finance secretary yesterday, from 15000, by end of five years, we should cross 30,000, may be more than 30,000 crore.
PC: There recovery arrears of taxes
SB: Because I didn’t have finance department with me, hence I cannot give you the exact figures. But overall, we don’t have any problem of finances. See, I want to tell one thing, you need ideas, if you have ideas, money comes automatically.
PC: Last time in Teekhi Baat you said last that that the state will become power surplus, because power plants are in pipeline and will start functioning, are they ready now.
SB: They are in final stages, it will take one year, because the cost of one power plant is Rs. 15,000 crore to Rs. 20,000 crore. In the past four years, work is going on as fast speed, within one and a half years, Punjab will be first state in the country, to be power surplus state. Like we have exported wheat and rice, we will be exporting power to other states.
PC: Raw material, gas and
SB: All linkages are ready
PC: Because in twelfth there is not enough gas, coal, mines are closed.
SB: We have got special mines allocated, and we have all tie up.
PC: What is the problem in Punjab, do you think there is any problem, which you have not been able to solve, you will solve it now.
SB: The problem, according to priority of the government,
PC: No law and order
SB: One minute, the biggest priority is administrative reforms. The work that the common man has with the government, my target is within six to eight months, the common man shouldn’t feel the need to go to the government. The systems should be made in such a manner which eliminates bottlenecks completely. Many things have to be outsourced.
PC: You will reduce the role of the government in private lives
SB: Yes, automatic clearances, automatic outsourcing in ways where your work is done within minutes. So, you will see, like the last time when we implemented many things,
PC: Your MLA’s and ministers will not be happy, how will the business run
SB: No, we have a clear thinking, and that is the reason, this Lokpal bill will not eliminate corruption, administrative reforms will eliminate corruption. If the common man has no concern with the government, there will be no corruption. Like the last time, all the tender system all over Punjab, earlier what used to happen, you had to take tender from the department, there used to be lot of corruption. What we did, we did all e tenders, now our plan is for e payments. If there is e tender, e payment, then there is no need to go the government. There is no need for going to any senior officer.
PC: You government is dependent for many things on the central government. Hostile government, because you are saying that you are not getting the money, package you need, because Punjab is a border state hence it should get a lot of things. Don’t you think that till the Akali Dal plays some important role at the centre, till
SB: It is true that our projects, they take so much time in clearance. For example, the international airport at Mohali, its construction and all plans are ready, but they did not let it start because they felt that the Congress government will come and take the credit. You have wasted one year.
PC: You are saying that the centre has stopped your development.
SB: There are many such projects, like the Bhatinda airport, till now it had to start, but they did not let us start, because they were waiting that the government will change and they will do it. Our road projects are lying in the ministry for the past one and a half years even though all clearances are in place, but they felt that if our government starts work, then they will not get credit. Punjab Congress’s all politics is on credit. Our politics is not on credit, we will whatever work is there pertaining to Punjab, as fast as it can happen, then Punjab will benefit.
PC: Tell me one thing, Badal Sahab is the most senior chief minister of the country at this point and time. if all chief minister stood together and take up with the centre that federalism is being attacked, many other things are done, don’t you feel that Badal sahab, using his clout has a senior leader should play a role in taking up the issue at the central level. Getting along with all other chief ministers, should start a campaign against the centre.
SB: No, this campaign is not against centre, this is against policy. We have to do it against policy, what is the reason, the central policy that is being made, that is not state specific. They make a general policy, which benefits many states, but also affects many states badly. But they don’t see who benefits and who loses. They make a policy, it may benefit in Bihar, may be not in Punjab. This policy system has to change.
PC: What I am asking is that like all chief ministers are getting together, four, five six, will Badal sahab get together with those chief ministers and exert pressure or not.
SB: I think it is a good idea, that all must get together and unanimously, we should put forward our problems to the government. Because, chief ministers have a more important role than the central government, chief minister is more nearer to the people, they know more about the problems.
PC: Then Nitish Kumar, Mamta, Jailalitha, getting together with all of them, with Mualayam are you an favour of forming an alliance of chief ministers.
SB: We want all those chief ministers
PC: Anti Congress?
SB: Anti Congress chief ministers, because the policies of the Congress, these policies have failed. From the policies, It seems as the Govt. of India is not working.
PC: I am asking the question in one line, Badal Sahab or you , the group of chief minister that is going to be formed, will you be active in that or not.
SB: No, we want across party lines, all chief ministers should get together, with one mission, that change the policies that are going on for last forty years, which are a deterrent to the development of the states and the country.
PC: Also now chief ministers want a mid term poll, because the government is not listening to you at all and working. It is a lame duck government is what many are saying.
SB: A mid-term poll is necessary. Really the people of the country today want it today, the kind of environment you have seen, Congress, it is a geninue feeling among each and everybody in the country, that this government should be removed immediately. The longer it stays, the more the it will affect the country in a bad manner.
PC: You are in favour of a mid term poll.
SB: Certainly, Certainly.
PC: But BJP is not ready to listen to this as yet. Their stand is not clear whether mid term poll should happen or not.
SB: That we will talk to them,
PC: You will talk, you are partner of NDA
SB: We are partner of NDA, we will all get together, talk and find out,
PC: You will want to do an expansion of NDA also.
SB: Many parties should come, because NDA is a best alternative against Congress. You would have noticed one thing, the chief ministers of NDA, who are repeating their governments, see the chief ministers, who are repeating, are from NDA.
PC: But there is no leader of NDA.
SB: That NDA will sit and decide, that is not an issue.
PC: Don’t you think that till you announce a prime ministerial candidate things will not go forward.
SB: NDA is capable to sit together and decide,
PC: It will be of BJP, the prime minister will be from the BJP all the time.
SB: At the moment, they are the main force in it, the NDA.
PC: But in future too, the main force, whenever the NDA will be there, the main force will be them. If BJP is single largest party, then you will be in favour of BJP Prime Minister.
SB: Why not?
PC: You would like Modiji too, there are no issues, you have no issues with Modi
SB: I have no issues with anybody. We are Indians, our policy is that in this country, people from all religion should get together, in national spirit,
PC: The debate is on that Modi, is capable, although many people are capable to be Prime Minister, you consider Modi also capable to be Prime Minister.
SB: I think lot of people are capable, he is also capable, whatever it is, that NDA will sit together,
PC: He is qualified to become Prime Minister?
SB: At this moment, I cannot say, who is capable and who is not capable, I don’t want you to put words into my mouth.
PC: He is not disqualified?
SB: Nobody is disqualified, even you are not disqualified.
PC: No, I am not going to fight elections.
SB: You can, now days the most political is media. Rajya Sabha, Rajya Sabha
PC: Leave Rajya Sabha, am talking about Lok Sabha candidate. You think that there should be a Prime Ministerial candidate for the NDA
SB: I think this will be decided soon
PC: One question, it is hypothetical, if you would have lost elections, what would you have done
SB: We would do more hard work, analyze, where did we fall short,
PC: You would be ready for a fight
SB: Ready, I am a fighter.
PC: Like Rahul, you also agree that it is your fault
SB: See, when I am leading a party, if there is any problem, then as a leader of the party, it is my responsibility.