Gurgaon to Chandigarh via Delhi

  • Abhishek Behl / FG
  • India
  • May 30, 2014



After fighting a grim battle for his political survival in the State of Haryana for the past few years, Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh has come out with flying colours over the last few months. First, was the masterstroke of his well-timed decision to move from the Congress (where he had been for decades) to the BJP (despite being also courted by AAP). His meeting with Modi then helped him decide, and also kept him in the PM’s eyes for a Ministerial berth. It was no easy task to win the confidence of the local units as well as the top brass of BJP. Finally, the people of Gurgaon reposed faith in him once more (for the Lok Sabha seat). Rao has therefore been deservedly given an elevated status in the Union Cabinet, with the PM appointing him as Minister of Planning (with Independent charge). This means that all important decisions related to fund allocations and answers to Parliamentary questions would be undertaken by Rao Inderjit and his team. In addition, the Gurgaon MP has also been given an additional charge as Minister of State for Defence, a coveted top Ministry posting. Political analysts suggest that this promotion given to the Gurgaon MP can also be seen as a decision by the BJP to cultivate a strong leader of Haryana who also has a clean image. He could then later be projected as their Chief Ministerial candidate for the State. There is also a thinking that this time the BJP, which has always fought elections in alliance with other regional parties in the State, would want to fight the polls alone - or at least as the dominant partner. 


Union Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh is very clear that only half the battle has been won, and the war for Chandigarh will be fought in the coming 4 months. "The bigger challenge and fight is at the State level; we have to ensure that the scam-ridden Congress government is removed from power. We have to bring development, growth, infrastructure and jobs to the entire State,” says Singh, in an exclusive interview to Friday Gurgaon. The implications from this Lok Sabha election are far reaching. After many decades an election has not been fought and won primarily along traditional caste and community lines. An exception was Mewat; however, Rao wants to reassure the people of Mewat that, despite a majority of the Muslims not voting for him, he holds no grudge and will ensure that development and growth reaches this backward area also. "Going forward we would hope that people stop getting polarised on the basis of religion, just as they have been able to move forward from caste," asserts the Gurgaon MP. His elevation also means that he and his supporters have been well accepted into the BJP fold, and has also sent a message to the rank and file that Prime Minister Modi has faith in Rao Inderjit. 

"Regarding my specific Ministerial responsibility, the Party has given me an important responsibility by making me the Planning Minister and I will ensure that all efforts are made to ensure that our country has better plans, improved fund allocation and more accountability in expenditure," asserts Singh. With Haryana being home to a large number of ex-servicemen, Rao Inderjit, in his capacity as the Union Minister of State for Defence, says that the promise of One Rank One Pension would soon be delivered by the BJP government. "We will also try and ensure that a member from the Defence forces is included in the Pay Commission, so that the interests of the Defence personnel of the country are better taken care of,” he adds. The Defence University, which is being set up in Gurgaon, would be given concrete shape in the next two years, and it would be developed as a strategic think-tank, comparable to the best in the world. He adds  that the resolution of the status of lakhs of residents living in the 900 meters restricted area around the Air Force Ammunition Depot would be a top priority. To ensure that the Party comes out a winner in the ensuing State polls, the Union Minister indicates the Party will have to project a mass-based leader who has strong local roots. “If you look at the election results in different States, the BJP has performed very well where the Party had strong local leaders; they added significantly to the Modi wave and ensured the Party’s majority in Parliament. If we are able to put forward a face early, and work unitedly, the Party can make history in Haryana," he asserts. Simultaneously, he says that those few leaders and workers who worked against the interests of the Party in these crucial elections should be weeded out - as they are likely to cause trouble in the State elections as well. "We need dedicated cadre who are willing to work above personal and self-interest; there are many such in the BJP and we need to empower them," he asserts.  As a CM, he would wish to see is a more transparent government, which is honest and delivers the goods. He would want the recruitment process for State jobs to be freed of political influence, so that jobs go to people on merit. “Haryana also needs a massive boost in agriculture, and we would need to safeguard the farmers from the Real Estate agents, who in connivance with politicians have perpetrated massive land scams across Haryana," he asserts. It would delight the Gurgaon residents, particularly those who are living in private colonies, to know that the Gurgaon MP has not forgotten their endless woes, and promises that the licences of builders who have not delivered on their promises as per the agreements would be reviewed. "We have zero tolerance for corruption and under the leadership of Modiji we are going to transform the polity, including the governance of Haryana. The BJP in the State has performed well in this election, but we can clearly improve on this if we fight as a united force, and with a strong leader," he concludes.υ

Rao Inderjit Singh's priorities for Gurgaon

Gurgaon Development Authority: GDA is an idea that I have been pushing for long, but it has not matured because of the intransigence of the Congress government in the State. They only see Real Estate and how to milk it. GDA as the apex agency will oversee the planning, execution and review of development and maintenance works, for all civic and social facilities and services. The City would have a holistic plan, which would be consistently executed in all the current disparate areas – of HUDA, MCG and private builders. We will ensure that this Agency is empowered and has the resources to rebuild Gurgaon into a world-class city.

Water: This is another top priority for me. I have been pleading with the Haryana government to forcefully pursue the implementation of the Sutlej Yamuna Water sharing pact in the Supreme Court. This matter will be taken up and resolved at the earliest. Also, the old water channels in this region, which had been serving us for centuries, would be revived. Water bodies in Sultanpur, Damdama and Badkhal will be revived, along with village ponds and pokhars. We will lay strictly monitor the implementation of rainwater harvesting; water recycling in condominiums would be a must. As far as the misuse of ground water for construction purposes is concerned, it will be ensured that the orders of the High Court are implemented in letter and spirit.

Education: We plan to set up medical and education universities in Gurgaon. It was with great difficulty that I was able to bring the Defence University to this region, and the Sainik School in Rewari became a reality after a number of decades. These projects would be given practical shape now. We will also push for the setting up of vocational institutes where the children of farmers would be trained, so that they could be absorbed in local industry.


Crime: To check crime, we plan to empower the Gurgaon Police Commissioner based on the Delhi model. The Police needs to be more empowered and less politicised, and given adequate resources - which are sorely needed in a city like Gurgaon that has expanded very fast. 

Land acquisition: We are certainly going to scrutinise the land deals that have taken place in the last decade. We will ensure that forceful acquisition does not happen in the State, and interests of farmers are safeguarded as per the new Land Acquisition Act.

Jobs: We would ask the private sector in Gurgaon to give preferential treatment to local
boys and girls.


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