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Being a farmer, Gurmeet Singh Khuddian would bring up their concerns in Parliament

The AAP has put forward Gurmeet Singh Khuddian, the Agriculture Minister from the Lambi Assembly seat, as its candidate from the Badal family’s bastion of Bathinda constituency. Khuddian beat Lambi’s five-time chief minister, Parkash Singh Badal, in the 2022 Assembly election. 1989 saw Khuddian’s father, Jagdev Singh Khuddian, win the Faridkot parliamentary seat. Gurmeet switched to the AAP in 2021 after joining the Congress in 2004. Confident that he would win, Khuddian declares in an interview with Sukhmeet Bhasin, “I will take along all 13 MPs to Parliament and raise issues pertaining to the state strongly.”

Once again, you are competing from Bathinda, Badals’ native land. What size of difficulty do you face?

Every election is difficult, but I’ve risen to the occasion and I have faith that the Bathinda people will choose me to represent them in parliament. I will simply bring up the Punjab problem, not construct any hotels, get bus licenses, or operate any kind of company.

Which topics do you think are most important in this Lok Sabha election?

Centre regimes have always treated Punjab like a stepmother, even though Punjabis have always stood up for the nation by joining the armed services, donating to the food bank, or striving for independence. Despite this, Punjab has always been betrayed. Therefore, it is imperative that all 13 MPs bring up Punjab-related matters in the Lok Sabha.

In some regions, farmers have begun demonstrating against you. What are your thoughts on this?

Former governments failed to pay farmers what were owed. Regretfully, our farmers must organize demonstrations in order to get what they want. I spoke with and heard the complaints of farmers in the hamlet of Behman Jassa Singh. Since I am a farmer as well, I am aware of their problems.

As the state’s minister of agriculture, how would you rate the job you’ve done so far for farmers in the state?

The cotton crop in the area was invaded by pink bollworm the minute I became a minister. I gave the PAU Director and teams instructions to visit communities and advise farmers on how to prevent the onslaught. The farmers had managed to contain the onslaught to some degree by heeding the teams’ advice.

The opposition claims that farmers get inadequate compensation for crop loss. How would you respond?

It is the responsibility of the Revenue Department to provide compensation. The Agriculture Department provides damage reports only. But when they were in power, the opposition parties gave the farmers nothing, whereas we deposited Rs 129 crore into their accounts. Individuals without comprehensive documentation are left without recourse.

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