‘Sukhbir had offered me the party ticket, but I turned it down’
Independent MLA Simarjit Singh Bains, who had quit the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) just before the 2012 assembly elections, has again queered the pitch for the ruling party by declaring that he would contest as an Independent from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat.
Simarjit and his elder brother Balwinder Bains had contested the assembly elections as Independents from Atam Nagar and Ludhiana South assembly seats, respectively, after they were denied ticket by the SAD. Both emerged victorious by defeating Akali heavyweights.
After the elections, the SAD leadership went for a patch-up with the Bains brothers and they became associate members of SAD in the assembly. However, the brothers felt sidelined as they failed to have a clout in administrative circles in the state. To top it all, the SAD’s decision to allot the Lok Sabha ticket to MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali, a political rival of the brothers, finally ended their ties with the ruling party.
Excerpts from the interview with Simarjit Bains:
Why did you fall out with the Shiromani Akali Dal? What went wrong between you and SAD president Sukhbir Badal?
Shiromani Akali Dal, like every other party, is cheating the people and exploiting their weaknesses. Having quit the SAD ahead of the assembly elections, I had contested as an independent candidate and won due to the unequivocal support of the people. When Sukhbir Badal approached us after the elections, I and my brother extended support to the government, not to the party.
While trying to woo us back, Sukhbir had his own agenda. We made our biggest mistake by extending support to the SADBJP government as it is not working in the public interest and every minister or MLA is guided by his own vested interests. They have fixed their commissions in trading of sand, liquor and drugs, which is not my cup of tea.
Did you ask for the Lok Sabha ticket from SAD? Did you decide to contest as an independent candidate after being denied the party ticket?
No. I did not ask for the Lok Sabha ticket. On the contrary, Sukhbir had offered me the ticket three months ago, but I refused to accept it as I was not happy with the party’s way of functioning. I and Balwinder Bains were also offered the position of chief parliamentary secretaries (CPS) which we both turned down as we are not ‘businessman politicians’ like a majority of the SAD-BJP members.
You are seen as a ruffian, especially after the incident you had beaten up a tehsildar in Ludhiana. Do you think you will get support of the educated class or urban voters?
Unlike the SAD candidate contesting the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, I am neither a land grabber, nor have I distributed drugs but there is a case against me under section 353 of IPC for beating up the tehsildar. In fact, I was trapped through a conspiracy hatched against me by the Akali leaders. But I have faith in the judiciary and the media. I already have the support of the literate class which was proven in the 2012 assembly elections.
What is your action plan to contest the Lok Sabha polls? Do you plan to form a separate political party?
Politics is a passion for me and I have practiced it with honesty and an aim to serve the people. I will approach the voters with a promise to fight for their rights. This is a war against corruption and a struggle for a drug-free Punjab. Soon after the Lok Sabha elections, we will work towards forming a jatha, a political group to counter the anti-public policies of various political parties. The jatha will field candidates in next assembly polls to form a group of MLAs who would act as a watchdog against corrupt practices of different parties and leaders.