Q. What do you see as the high points of your five-year term?
It is an industrial city but did not have a functional airport. The airport has been upgraded and an Air India flight has been started from Ludhiana to New Delhi. The district now boasts of its own passport office and is connected to the national capital with a new Shatabadi Express. The city bus service has been upgraded with JNNURM funds. A first of its kind bio-remedial project was started to clean the polluted Buddah nullah and one-third strech has been completed. Nearly Rs 100 crore have been spent on rural roads of the district under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana. The textile park in neighbouring Fatehgarh Sahib district has materialised due to my efforts so has the Rs 100 crore grant for the Punjab Agricultural University in the union budget. As Information and broadcasting minister, I have started FM Gold radio service in the district and all panchayats of rural Ludhiana will soon have wi-fi connectivity.
Q. What's that you wished to do as MP but couldn't? And Why?
Tewari: The city's roads, traffic, sewage, water supply etc. needed to be improved. But the municipal corporation is bankrupt and the funds for even an important project such as cleaning Buddah Nullah were diverted by the state government. It is these micro-issues which will dominate voting preferences and the Akalis will have to bear the brunt for not addressing civic issues.
Q: Would you like to contest from Ludhiana again and why should the people re-elect you?
Tewari: It is for the party to decide on candidates and I will abide by what my party decides. But as a parliamentarian, my performance has been best in the state in terms of starting projects, implementing central schemes, raising issues in the Parliament and taking delegations to the concerned union ministries, for instance we got excise duty on hosiery industry rolled back.
Q: You are more visible in power circles of Delhi than your constituency. Local leaders and workers accuse of not being accessible and many factions are opposed to you.
Tewari: I may be a defaulter as far as MBA in Punjab politics is concerned -- I do not attend every marriage, bhog and Akhand Path ceremony. But I was chosen for representing Ludhiana in New Delhi and I have performed well. In Congress, there is room for difference of opinion but I don't think it ever impacts party's poll prospects. Ludhiana is an urban seat and there are strong anti-incumbency sentiments in the business community and other voters against the ruling regime for imposition of property tax, lack of development etc. It is their everyday problems that Ludhiana is going to vote for or against.