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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Victory would’ve been sweeter had Congress’ Selja been the opponent: Rattan Lal Kataria

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Panchkula, May 17, 2014
First Published: 13:13 IST(17/5/2014) | Last Updated: 13:16 IST(17/5/2014)

BJP candidate Rattan Lal Kataria won the Ambala parliamentary seat by a huge margin of over 3.40 lakh votes.

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However, he said the victory would have been sweeter had his opponent been the Congress party’s Kumari Selja, a former central minister who decided not to contest in the constituency for the third time.

Q: You have won by such wide margin , breaking all previous records. To whom do you give the credit for such a resounding success?

A: Narendra Modi swept the elections like a tsunami and the country has now got its leader. During the past five years, we’ve seen a lot of scams and inflation running out of control. People have rejected dual leadership at the Centre and dynasty politics. Sonia Gandhi looted the country with Manmohan Singh being her proxy. The rupee has kept on depreciating against the dollar. To mask its own failures, the Congress party leadership made Manmohan Singh the scapegoat for all the woes that have befallen our country.

How did Selja’s decision not to contest from Ambala help you?

Selja, who represented the Ambala constituency in the Parliament for a decade, was a symbol of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Though she defeated me in 2004 by a huge margin (2.34 lakh votes), I knew she wouldn’t be able to perform this time. I was expecting victory in 2009 but lost by a margin of 14,564 votes due to the use of ‘black money’ in the polls.

Then I decided to make a fresh start. Continuous squabbling between Selja and (Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh) Hooda stalled development in Ambala. I told my party’s leaders if I was given the ticket for Ambala I was confident to win by a margin of 3 lakh votes. Then Selja opted out of the contest, but had she been my adversary I would have been much happier.

What will be your priorities for Ambala?

On top of my list is creating more jobs. Hooda has exploited Ambala a lot. There has been very little industrial development in the area, which needs to be addressed. Factories in Ambala making scientific instruments and garments need to be provided more financial and tax incentives.  The district doesn’t have a top ranking engineering, management or medical institute. I will work for development of skills and agricultural growth in the region.

What is your equation with Narendra Modi?

He’s s my friend. He’s only 11 days older than me and has lived here in Panchkula for about six years when he was a BJP functionary. I’ve risen in the party hierarchy just because of him.

Do you expect to be offered a berth in Modi’s cabinet after your resounding victory in Ambala?

I’ll accept whatever responsibility is offered to me.

The Haryana assembly elections are coming up soon. Your alliance has won seven seats in the Lok Sabha elections. Do you prefer to go it alone or is there any possibility of a tieup with the Indian National Lok Dal?

Don’t you like seeing us winning when we contest alone?

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