Won’t forge alliance with SAD at any cost: BJP Punjab chief
The BJP has no plans to enter into an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal again and it will contest all elections in Punjab on its own, the party’s state unit chief Ashwani Sharma on Saturday said. He added that the tributes paid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership to former chief minister and veteran Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal, who died on Tuesday, should not be linked to politics.
“We had an alliance with the SAD in the past. It was for the peace and prosperity of Punjab. In 2020, however, the Akali Dal unilaterally walked out of that alliance. Now, BJP will will not forge an alliance with the SAD at any cost,” said Sharma.
The presence of a large number of BJP leaders at Badal’s cremation has fuelled rumours that the saffron party may try to revive the alliance it had with Akali Dal in Punjab ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
While Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had reached Mohali’s Fortis Hospital within minutes of Badal’s demise, Modi had visited the Akali Dal’s office in Chandigarh on Wednesday to express grief with the Badal family following the death of the five-time former Punjab CM. On Thursday, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Somprakash, senior leader Tarun Chugh and other party functionaries had visited the Badal village in Muktsar to pay homage to the late Akaili patron.
On Friday, Modi, in a blog, paid glowing tribute to Badal. He said that he lost a father figure, someone who guided him for decades, with Badal’s demise.
“It was nothing but a tribute to Badal saab, who was a tall leader. It shouldn’t be linked with politics,” said Sharma.
Talking about the May 10 bypoll to Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, Sharma said the BJP is getting huge response in both the rural and the urban areas of the constituency. “Not only this, we are getting public response from across the state. In 2024, we will be fighting Lok Sabha elections on our own and win with a thumping majority. It will not forge an alliance with the SAD at any cost. People of Punjab have tried everyone. BJP is the only party which can save them and maintain peace and prosperity,” Sharma added.
The SAD broke off ties with the BJP over the now-repealed farm laws in 2020. It had been part of the National Democratic Alliance since 1997, having stitched up a pre-poll alliance with the BJP ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab that year.
On Friday, Union minister Hardeep Puri too had asserted that he does not see any possibility of BJP allying with the Akali Dal in Punjab. He said that as SAD’s ally in the past, BJP was relegated to the backseat and that proved counterproductive for the party. “The alliance was not good for the BJP as we were contesting only on 23 seats of the total 117. Our party is growing and the alliance does not suit us,” he said in jalandhar, adding that BJP has been trying to create a base on all seats in the state and working at the ground level.
Asked what if Akali Dal approaches the BJP with an offer, he said, “they are all welcome to talk to us”.
Meanwhile, slamming the AAP government in Punjab, Sharma said every section of society is fed up with the Bhagwant Mann-led dispensation and will vote for the BJP to teach it a lesson.