Jarnail Singh is a key bridge between the leadership of the Aam Aadmi Party and its Punjab campaign. The Delhi MLA, who is the Punjab affairs co-incharge of the AAP, was in Mansa district for two campaign meetings, in Matti and Burj Dhilwan village, to seek votes for candidate Nazar Singh Manshahia on Tuesday. HT caught up with him on a range of issues. Excepts:
What is your response to allegations of sale of poll ticket by AAP?
I can only laugh at this. Those who are levelling these allegations are facing exodus of MLAs from their own party. Had our tickets been sold, it would have been very easy for (CM Parkash Singh) Badal and (Punjab Congress chief) Captain Amarinder Singh to purchase these for Rs 2 crore each and form the government.
Will change of candidates on certain seats affect your poll prospects?
Our party has a criteria, that if a candidate fails to hold door-to-door meetings and has a weak campaign, then he might be changed. Every day, our leader Arvind Kejriwal monitors the performance of candidates in managing door-to-door meetings, projector shows and wall paintings in each constituency. The candidates are issued a warning; and changed if we feel that either our candidate is incapable or is deliberately going slow. We did this in the Delhi elections also.
There are many disgruntled party leaders who have decided to fight the election after being denied the ticket.
Ours is a new party and everyone aspires to fight elections; which is not wrong. However, we cannot afford to field everyone, nor am I suggesting that every disgruntled leader is incompetent. But I want to assure them that when AAP will come to power in the state, all the dissidents will be considered by the party.
Amarinder Singh has said that AAP workers from Delhi are raping women in Punjab. How do you react to that?
I think Captain Amarinder has just lost it! He is an ex-CM and, if he feels that we are doing that, he should get a case registered. Is he incapable of getting a case registered? We recently ousted an MLA from the party who was merely facing such allegations. Amarinder Singh should tell people what he did in his tenure when his ministers faced criminal charges.
Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal says that your Delhi government is always in conflict with the central government; hence you will not be able to govern Punjab.
Despite being in conflict with the central government, we have managed to run Delhi in the most efficient manner. Moreover, here in Punjab we will have police, land and services under our direct control, unlike Delhi.
Would you be able to run the show without assistance of the central government?
What will the central government do? Ours is a federal system. There are two types of taxes — one levied by the state and the other by the Cntre. In central taxes too, the state has 32% share. Moreover, we know how to get resources and finance from the central government! CM Parkash Singh Badal has not been able to extract a single special package from the central government in the last two and a half years. IIMs and AIIMS do not come under special package as many other states have these institutes too. These projects were approved 20 years ago, and have not come from the PM’s pocket.