Amitsar, which has been a major hub of Panthak politics since the past six decades has, however, witnessed several changes in due course of time. In this changed air, Jaitley is going head-on against former Punjab chief minister and Congress heavyweight Amarinder Singh. Jaitley has spoken to Dainik Jagran’s Punjab and Haryana Resident Editor Meenakshi Sharma on a host of poll-related issues. Excerpts…

Meenakshi Sharma: You have seen lots of elections in your long political career. What difference do you witness in this year’s elections?

Arun Jaitley: In this election, the results are pre-decided. This has happened for the first time since 1984. The people are quite angry. The fate of Congress would be decided by the anti-incumbency wave.   

Meenakshi Sharma: Is this Modi wave or BJP’s?

Arun Jaitley: This is a BJP wave of Modi’s acceptance.

Meenakshi Sharma: The election is in mid-way, where do the NDA and the BJP see themselves and how many seats they are going to win?

Arun Jaitley: The BJP and their allies will reach close to majority and going by the air of nation, the NDA will cross the target of 272 seats with ease. The Congress would be confined to below 100 seats.

Meenakshi Sharma: Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in their speeches are accusing Modi of giving land at throwaway prices to Modi.

Arun Jaitley: The BJP is a pro-industrialization party. The party frames policies of industrialization and based on that, they allot lands to industrialists. Those who are leveling accusations have already lost their cases in High Court and Supreme Court. There is no relevance in such unsubstantial talks.

Meenakshi Sharma: What would be NDA’s top three priorities after coming to power?

Arun Jaitley: 1. To free the nation from corruption and inflation
2.  To bring development in the nation’s materials and contents
3. To safeguard nation’s dignity and self respect

Meenakshi Sharma: There is a debate in social media wherein Digvijay Singh stated that why Jaitley does not file FIR against Robert Vadra.

Arun Jaitley: This will also happen. Wait for May 16. As of now, the Congress has put a restriction on investigating agencies on these issues. The law will take its own course.

Meenakshi Sharma: You have been pitted against former chief minister Amarinder Singh. Does this make the contest tight?

Arun Jaitley: Elections are always challenging. The opponents don’t pose challenge but it lies in the expectations of the people and I am quite confident that I would stand tall on their expectations.

Meenakshi Sharma: Captain Amarinder has given clean chit to Jagdish Tytler. What’s your take on this?

Arun Jaitley: The Captain’s real face has come to the fore. By saying this, he has not only sprinkled salt on the wounds of 1984 riot victims but also weakened Tytler’s case.

Meenakshi Sharma: BJP-ally Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal are saying in their rallies that if Jaitley wins from Punjab, it would open up avenues for development in the state.

Arun Jaitley: There is no doubt in this that if Punjab sends a heavyweight leader to Delhi, the people of the state would definitely benefit from it as he would be in a better position to represent Punjab.

Meenakshi Sharma: Punjab has been seeking Centre’s attention on agricultural packages. How much importance NDA government would give to this issue?

Arun Jaitley: The NDA government would co-operate with state government in a full-fledged manner. The Rural Development Ministry would ensure overall development of the villages in Punjab.

Meenakshi Sharma: You are a national leader but why are you contesting elections from Amritsar?

Arun Jaitley: Since I speak Punjabi, the party has decided to field me from this constituency. I have my roots here and I have always been associated with my roots.

Meenakshi Sharma: In this area, you have regional and state-centric issues and challenges.

Arun Jaitley: The BJP and Akali Dal’s election campaign is moving ahead quite rapidly. People like me. There are some issues in urban areas and as a candidate, I do have those in my mind and would address those as well.

Meenakshi Sharma: The elections are just a week away and where do you judge yourself?

Arun Jaitley: The BJP-Akali workers are quite excited and are working very hard. We do have the love and affection of the people as well and I see a positive environment all around. I am fully confident that this change will be good for the NDA.


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