Even as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is apparently being cold-shouldered by the BJP-led government at the Centre over a special financial package for Punjab, Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues respected chief minister Parkash Singh Badal more than anybody else.
Dismissing reports that the Centre was not sharing healthy relations with the SAD-led government, the Union minister said these ‘baseless’ stories were being cooked up by the media.
Harsimrat was here for the state-level function to launch the pension scheme of the provident fund department, wherein the minimum pension has been increased to Rs 1,000 for every eligible person.
“Sometimes the media says SAD leaders are not enjoying good rapport with the BJP government, citing a letter by the finance ministry, or by reporting that the Badal bahu was snubbed by Modi during a cabinet meeting. The fact is that Badal saab has very high regard for every Union minister. Whenever the CM approaches a Union minister, the latter listens very patiently and pays heed,” the Bathinda MP said.
She added that being Badal’s daughter-in-law, she was regarded highly by the entire Union cabinet and the PM. “This is why Modiji has said: don’t talk to the media. Our work should speak for itself,” said Harsimrat.
Later, before the start of a press conference, she asked reporters to confine their queries to her department and not pose any ‘political’ question.
When asked by HT what was the biggest gift Punjab had received in the first 100 days of the Modi government, the Bathinda MP replied that even other states had not got any special financial assistance.
“The NDA government has completed only 100 days in office, and that too when the coffers were in bad shape due to mismanagement by the previous UPA government. Our first priority is to put our financial position on the right track,” she said.
On the chances of her campaigning for the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the Haryana assembly polls, the Akali MP said if her party asked her to canvass for the INLD-SAD coalition, she would definitely do so.