‘My vision is to ensure creation of jobs, especially for rural India’: Harsimrat Kaur Badal
In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that the last five years of the Narendra Modi-led was about building a system to bring down wastage and double farmers’ income. Her new vision is to ensure that these changes lead to job creation, especially for rural India.Updated: Jun 01, 2019 09:20 IST
Harsimrat Kaur Badal took charge for the second time on Friday as Union minister for food processing industries in the Narendra Modi government. In an interview, with Amrita Madhukalya, she talks about what’s top of her agenda this time and what lies ahead for her and her party, Shiromani Akali Dal. Edited excerpts:
We have never been in the Vidhan Sabha together or in Parliament. This is going to be a new experience and we will see on the 17th of this month how it works out.
Well, I was the one who motivated him to stand for Lok Sabha elections, as I was keen that he becomes a minister at the Centre. I felt he would be able to do a lot of good work for Punjab, which the state government does not seem to be interested in doing. But he was clear from the first day that he should concentrate on being party president and focus on building the party in Punjab. Till the last minute I kept trying to convince him, but ultimately the party took a decision, I respect that.
I think the Congress has failed badly on all fronts. The only way they have won elections is by using force, by using the police and by filing cases against Opposition leaders. They have scared people, beaten them and resorted to all sorts of undemocratic means possible. Which is why, you will see that despite us winning two seats and them eight, our vote share has gone up by 7% while the Congress’s has gone up by 1.5%.
If you look at the number of votes polled, we have gone up by 4 lakh while they have come down by the same number of votes. If you look at the number of seats which get converted for Vidhan Sabha elections, we were at 17% and now have gone up to 35%. Their numbers have gone down drastically. In all parameters, the Congress is on its way down... they failed in their goal of Mission 13. The party has an immense amount of infighting, which has come to the fore between Navjot Sidhu, Captain Amarinder or Manpreet. There’s a whole lot of churn going on, which will lead to their fall soon.
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I am happy I have the chance to continue the vision I took up five years ago. That from a nondescript ministry, (I could) turn it around to a ministry which is a focus sector for Make in India or working towards doubling farmers’ income. I’m happy that I worked at creating infrastructure — it is the next year or two when the benefits will be reaped. The difference will be felt on the ground, and I will be part of that. The last five years was about building a system to bring down wastage and double farmers’ income. My new vision is to ensure that these changes lead to job creation, especially for rural India. A farmer’s son should not want to get out of farming because it is not viable any more... (we have) to ensure we equip him with the knowhow, technology and handholding to grow a better crop. So that he can supplement the income as well as become a job-creator with what is being grown in his father’s field.
Most allies were given the same portfolios as last time. This is a decision the prime minister and the BJP president have taken, and I am not involved in that.
Yes, the Palace has been vandalised. The site is of great significance to the Sikh community. Vandals have demolished it and taken away some items. This is condemnable and the Pakistan premier should take to task those involved.