As the political scene in poll-bound Punjab hots up with AAP keen to “poach” disgruntled leaders of other parties, the Shiromani Akali Dal is planning to counter it with a campaign that will stress on the continuance of the SAD-BJP government’s coalition to be in Punjab’s “best interests” given that BJP is at power in the Centre.
The party, it is learnt, is planning to highlight the row between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and the “detrimental effect” that the same could have on Punjab if AAP is voted to power in the state.
In Patiala on Wednesday for a sangat darshan, Deputy Chief Minister and SAD president Sukhbir Badal stressed that Punjab was an “absolute gainer in receiving adequate central grants for development” with BJP-led government at Centre.
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He also said that earlier “Punjab was getting very less share from central funds” but after the BJP-led NDA came to power at Centre, the states started getting their due share.
A senior SAD leader said the party cadre have been tasked to spread the word that since AAP has been at continuous war with BJP and Kejriwal highly critical of PM Narendra Modi, the AAP government if voted to power would not get much cooperation from the Centre.
An official of Punjab government in the power corridors said the SAD argument was “not without basis” given the fact that despite being alliance partner, the ruling combine in state had to struggle hard to get the cash credit limit released from BJP-led central government.
“The foodgrains’ procurement in Punjab is one of the largest such exercises in the world. One can well imagine what would happen in grain markets if the Centre is indifferent to the state on such an issue. And for farmers, it is the state government that should ensure the procurement of grains and payments. A delay by few days in payments and there is chaos,” said the official.