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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

‘Solution to Punjab’s problems only if aam aadmi elects a common man’: Patiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi

Blaming Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress for most problems of Punjab, Patiala MP Dr Dharmavira Gandhi, said that solution is possible if the common man elects a common man.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Feb 26, 2019 12:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi (in centre) with MLA Simranjit Singh Bains,  and Sukhpal Khera at a rally in Patiala on Sunday, December 16, 2018.
Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi (in centre) with MLA Simranjit Singh Bains, and Sukhpal Khera at a rally in Patiala on Sunday, December 16, 2018.(Bharat Bhushan / HT File )
         

In 2014, Dr Dharamvira Gandhi shocked the Congress and its supporters when he defeated three-time MP and Union minister Preneet Kaur, the wife of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, from the royal citadel, Patiala. He won on a AAP ticket but was later suspended from the primary membership for anti-party activities. Blaming Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress for most problems of Punjab, Dr Gandhi, in an interview to HT, said that solution is possible if the common man elects a common man.

What were the high points of your five-year term?

I have a lot to list. Setting up the passport collection centre, double-laning and electrification of the Rajpura-Bathinda rail line costing Rs 1,280 crore are my achievements. I raised issues concerning Punjab that the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress did not take up whether it was royalty of water flowing to other states, the Pearl Group irregularities, amendment in NDPS Act, separate Sikh Marriage Act. I raised concerns of the aam aadmi (common man).

One thing you wished to do as an MP, but couldn’t? Why?

I wanted to establish the Mohali-Rajpura rail connectivity. No MP from Patiala took up this issue in 70 years but I managed to get the railway board to set aside a budget of Rs 250 crore for this link. Neither former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal nor his successor, Captain Amarinder Singh, released the state’s share of Rs 78 crore to complete this. I don’t know why they don’t want to connect Malwa with Chandigarh through the rail route. May be the transport mafia is not allowing them. I will make it an election issue.

Read | Patiala MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi: Rebel ‘aam aadmi’ and ‘people’s doctor’

Would you like to contest again? Why should people re-elect you?

Yes, I have worked hard and people have faith in me. I hope they will heed to their conscience and vote for me.

Why should people vote for you?

You can’t seek solutions for your problems from those who created them. The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress created most problems of Punjab. The solution is possible if the common man elects a common man. Only then can politics be cleaned up.

But now you have been suspended from the AAP, which means no support from volunteers?

Many volunteers are in touch with me. They remained associated with me even during my suspension. I hope AAP president Arvind Kerjiwal won’t field a candidate against me.

What are your challenges?

Preneet Kaur and other opponents can’t beat me if it’s a level-playing field. I only fear Preneet will use official machinery to build her campaign and woo voters.

First Published: Feb 26, 2019 12:06 IST