Face to face | ‘There’s time gap between delivery of results by Punjab govt, expectations’punjab Updated: May 11, 2017 09:21 IST
Newly-elected Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar(Keshav Singh/HT Photo)
He took on the SAD-BJP government as the leader of Opposition in Punjab assembly. Now as state Congress chief, Sunil Jakhar has a more daunting job at hand. He has to meet the expectations of the party that has remained 10 years out of power while ensuring it does not breach the ‘no political interference’ approach of the new Congress government. In an interview, Jakhar tells HT that he would act as the ‘safety valve’ to ensure the situation does not boil over.
Q: Congress leaders and workers are keen to follow the Akali way of governance. How will you meet their expectations?
Congress workers and MLAs do not want to interfere in functioning of police or the bureaucracy. They are anguished that the attitude of the officers remains the same as during the earlier government in public dealings. They have the same prejudices and style of functioning. They have to fall in line and become people-friendly. Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh wants the rule of law to prevail without any political interference. It will be a big injustice towards Punjab if we too start behaving like the Akalis did.
Q: But there have been clashes over control of truck unions and other businesses?
I do know of some clashes. But some of them are family feuds which the Akalis are giving the colour of party clashes. The one at Ferozepur was a family dispute. The party cannot be held responsible for such incidents.
Q: What is going to be your biggest challenge as new Punjab Congress chief?
For a new government, ensuring smooth procurement of wheat at mandis was no mean feat. But no one reported it. So what the government is doing is not reaching the people. Likewise, the aspirations of people and party need to reach the government and the officers. There has to be a two-way interaction. It will ensure the situation does not boil over.
Q: But the Congress MLAs and workers have been complaining of a disconnect between the party and government. How will you address it?
There is a time gap between delivery and expectations. That needs to be streamlined. Whatever irritants remain at the ground level will be addressed. The earlier government was for the Akalis. This one will be for the people, not the party.