<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Congress stomping to victory in the Punjab Assembly elections, hope for the party’s revival on the national front was rekindled. Then the recent victory in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha also provided the much-needed boost to bolster the Congress campaign. With eight months into formation of the Congress-led government in the state, Punjab Urban Local Bodies and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu talks to DNA on why he believes Congress is writing its resurrection story in Punjab. Edited excerpts:Eight months into the formation of the government, has Congress been able to fulfill its promises made to people?It is a damage control exercise. Captain Amarinder Singh inherited a government with a loan of Rs 3 lakh crore. It was a crisis situation. The Akali government had taken a soft loan of Rs 32,000 crore from the Centre. On its last day of the term, it left us with Rs 5,000 crore annual installments. But, we envisaged a policy that can resurrect Punjab. It is just a trailer. Don’t say the film is bad just by looking at the trailer. Watch the film. You have given them 10 years of loot and plunder. Give us 10 months at least.Congress had vehemently vowed to launch a crackdown against Akalis, allegedly involved in drug trade. Eight months on, has the party gone lenient?The law will take its own course. Captain saab is very serious about it and within a year, you will see action. He has already formed a Special Task Force against drugs. It’s not that he is not making efforts. He himself has gone on record to say that he believes Majithia (former Akali Minister Bikram Singh Majithia) is involved and he is looking for proofs.The Opposition has, time and again, pitched you against chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh. How do you react to this?It is a load of nonsense. Why did I call Majithia Daboo? Because, there is an old phrase in Punjabi” ‘Agg layi daboo kann te’. When they have nothing to say, they try to create a rift between the CM and Navjot Singh Siddhu. The CM laughs it off. I laugh it off. Never believe a tale from the enemies’ tongue. I’m absolutely crystal clear and the CM knows about it. He is a fatherly figure. He is my leader and role model, and I follow him.Despite the announcement of a loan waiver, farmer suicides continue in the state…It is not happening in Punjab only. It’s a nationwide problem. Few burdens are heavy when everyone lifts. The Central government needs to collaborate with the state government and make action plans, which can eradicate this and make the agrarian economy self-reliant. It is not just about waiving loans, but making sure that we can prevent and prepare, rather than repent and repair.What role will Punjab play in Congress’s fight for revival on the national front?The Captain Amarinder Singh government created history by winning 77 seats, which has never happened before. And the 1.9 lakh victory margin in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha elections has set the tone. Gurdaspur was a BJP bastion, which late Vinod Khanna won three out of four times. But to wrest the seat after the 77-seat victory in Assembly elections sends signals across the country that Congress stands tall in Punjab. This is where the resurrection and redemption song of Congress has begun.How do you think Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress chief will shape the party’s campaign, ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls?Anybody can be a captain when the sea is calm, but if you take charge when the sea is in turmoil, that shows your character. Rahul bhai is a man of character. I follow him and I will be with him for a lifetime. Rahul bhai and Priyanka ji are my leaders for a lifetime.When in power, Madam Sonia Gandhi pushed Manmohan Singh to be the Prime Minister and took a backseat. She pushed Chidambaram saab, Mukherjee saab at the helm of affairs. Now when everybody is firing at them and troubled times have arrived, she has pushed her son to the front to bear the brunt of all attacks.What is the government doing to strengthen the state economy?The jija-saala duo (former Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal and his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia) have fleeced Punjab. The state exchequer has gone into individual pockets, whether it was transport, mining, liquor, or excise department. But work is on to draft a policy where the state’s income goes up and the expenditure is less. It is an arduous task, but progress has been made, and over 100 notifications have been issued already.How do you plan to develop Punjab as a medical tourism destination?If medical tourism comes, the state’s economy will get a lift and the common people will get extra facilities. Those who get open heart surgery done in the US for $1.44 lakh can now get it in India for $5,000. Amritsar gets one lakh tourists every day. Yet those people do not say overnight, they just come and go. If we can make them stay for 2-3 days, the economy will be bolstered.What is in store for Punjab in the next four years of term, considering its crippled finances?Resurrection and redemption. Adversity does not come with instructions in hand and when you rise from adversity, people start respecting you. Surkh ruh hota hai insaan fateh aane ke baad, aur rang laati hai hina patharon mein ghis jaane ke baad.

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We have envisaged a policy to resurrect Punjab in four years: Navjot Singh Sidhu