Continuing to maintain a stranglehold on its traditional bastion, the Congress won the Jalandhar (reserve) Lok Sabha seat with Chaudhary Santokh Singh defeating SAD candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu by 70,989 votes. HT talked to Chaudhary.
How you view your success?
The difference in votes was a clear indication that people were fed up with the SAD-BJP government. The anti-incumbency factor with the issues of drugs mafia, liquor mafia and sand mafia directly affected every voter not only in the rural but the urban areas too. People are fed up with drug mafia. The state government failed to deliver. Another reason was that people were fed up with the heavy taxes levied against them.
What new projects will you bring in Jalandhar?
The very first thing we will do is to start drive against drug menace. We will bring awareness among the public through camps and seminars. Infrastructure in Jalandhar has collapsed. The second thing we will work on is the infrastructure. I will also pursue the Congress councillors in MC House to get better infrastructure for the city.
People talk against your predecessor Kaypee. What lessons have you learnt?
Everyone has his own style of working. The lesson which I have learnt is that I fully understand my duties in Parliament. I will try to do my level best for the betterment of my city and constituency.
Do you think it would be difficult to carry forward the development projects in Jalandhar with Modi as PM?
It will be more of a challenge for me. But I will fight and work hard to get the benefits.
You are projected as a Dalit leader in Doaba. What special projects will you bring for the welfare of Dalits?
The community has always been on our family’s agenda. Dalits have always supported the Congress. I will work to implement welfare schemes, reservation, pension and other schemes.
What was your USP that people voted for you?
People compared us with the Akalis. The people of Jalandhar were confident that we will deliver for them. They are aware of my image and capability to deliver as they have seen my performance as an MLA and a minister.