Upset allies Akali Dal and Shiv Sena let BJP know: Keep us in loop

Minority insecurity, Dalit issues flagged at NDA meeting, allies complain of not being consulted on important matters.

Written by Maneesh Chhibber , Pradeep Kaushal | New Delhi | Updated: February 10, 2016 5:52 am
BJP, dalit, NDA, akali dal, shiv sena, TDP, N chandrababu naidu, M venkaiah naidu, amit shah, rohith vemula Punjab Dy chief Minister Sukhbir singh Badal talking to media after meeting with BJP president Amit Shah and Arun Jetliey at Shah residence in new Delhi on Tuesday. (Express Photo by Prem nath Pandey)

Twenty months after they were voted to power, NDA allies, particularly the Akali Dal and Shiv Sena, confronted big brother BJP over a host of issues at a meeting of the alliance Monday night. Even TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, who was not so blunt as the rest, asked the BJP to be more supportive of the allies in states where they are in power.

The meeting at the residence of Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, chaired by BJP president Amit Shah, had been called to ensure better coordination among NDA allies, inside and outside Parliament.

Shah wrapped up the somewhat stormy proceedings by declaring that they would all contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as allies. He assured the allies that individual concerns would be addressed in separate meetings with the constituents.

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At the meeting, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut was quoted as having said: “Sometimes, we have difficulty understanding whether or not this is our government.”

RPI’s Ramdas Athawale raised the issue of the suicide of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student of Hyderabad University. This was one issue which had damaged the image of the NDA, Athawale was quoted as telling the meeting. The central government stand on the minority status of Jamia Millia Islamia too figured in the discussions, sources said.

On Tuesday, Shah met Chandrababu Naidu during the day and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal at night.

Sources said Shah assured Badal that their alliance in Punjab would remain intact and a meeting would soon be called to chalk out a joint strategy for the assembly elections in the state next year.

Badal, sources said, was very vocal at the Monday meeting of the alliance partners where he said there was a growing feeling among minorities that the NDA government was anti-minority. He is learnt to have said there was a “huge difference” between the earlier NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the current one. He also underlined that there was “no coordination” between the BJP and its allies on major issues.

He said top Akali leaders used to get an appointment from Vajpayee “at five-minute notice” but now one could be “made to wait for months”. He said even the UPA government would listen to an Opposition government and try to accommodate their just demands, sources said.

Badal cited reports which quoted BJP leaders as saying that the party was still to decide whether to continue the alliance in Punjab. He told Shah that such statements did the combine no good, though the BJP, the smaller partner in the state government, was free to chart its own course. Sources said he made a pointed reference to the statements of former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu. He also complained that Akali leaders were not informed about programmes of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the region.

Shah, sources said, assured Badal that the alliance was strong as ever and there was no truth in reports that the BJP planned to fight the next assembly elections on its own.

Badal was quoted as having said: “Give me one instance where any leader of the Akali Dal has made any statement about any BJP leader. On the other hand, I can cite numerous instances where BJP leaders have spoken about Akali Dal leaders.”

When Raut endorsed the points made by Badal, Venkaiah Naidu, sources said, pointed out that Sena mouthpiece Saamna had criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Raut said this was not correct since the Sena had always been clear about its stand on the issue of Pakistan.

He said the Sena was opposed to peace talks with Pakistan as long as that country backed terrorism in India. “This is the Shiv Sena line and there is nothing against the Prime Minister in it,” Raut was quoted as having said, adding “Pakistan and the Prime Minister are not the same”.

Sources said Raut complained that unlike Vajpayee and Advani, the BJP no longer consulted its allies on important issues. He was particularly critical of the partners being kept out of the consultation process on matters as important as the attack on the Pathankot airbase.

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First Published on: February 10, 2016 3:56 am
  1. A
    Feb 10, 2016 at 5:33 am
    BJP is always in election mode, lead by Modi and Amit Shah. If they concentrate on governance then they will think about allies. When BJP is in election mode they wish to take over the allies as well.
    1. अशोक.गोविंद.शहा
      Feb 10, 2016 at 2:07 am
      vande mataram- BJP allies wants pond of flesh without shareing or contributing any hard work it has been found that supiriority complex have engulf allies and that is why the hue and cry has been alarmed on every eve of the election sena have taught the lesson and now the Akalis turn. to learn ja g te r ho
      1. B
        Bijan Mohanty
        Feb 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm
        BJP is not in the habit of listening to its allies especially with Narendra Modi as its leader. One can gauge the mood in Maharashtra and J and K.
        1. d
          Feb 10, 2016 at 1:10 am
          A funny marriage of convenience of opportunists. It is time to declare acceptable national policies by all consuents. Piece meal or local policies will erode the confidence of electorate
          1. S
            Feb 10, 2016 at 7:17 am
            Reports also mention that 'donations' received by BJP has seen a huge increase in last 2 years. The allies also wanted to have similar increase in their party funds. Without the proper sharing why there should be an alliance ?
            1. H
              Harshal Zalke
              Feb 10, 2016 at 4:10 am
              Such disputes always arise in a coalition in which each party is respected and there is an internal democracy in the coalition. It is no surprise that naysayers (both in the journalists and in the comment section here) see this as an opportunity. We;;, let them enjoy in their parallel universe, for in the real world, Modi is here to stay.
              1. B
                Feb 10, 2016 at 1:12 am
                People will correct theirs mistake in 2019
                1. I
                  Feb 10, 2016 at 11:26 am
                  DELHI….BIHAR….PINJAB…2019 INDIA….ALL GOING THE SAME WAY…wake up
                  1. P
                    PARAG KENKARE
                    Feb 10, 2016 at 4:37 am
                    2019 is a long journey yet......think of present. People have regretted mistake of 60 years which they corrected in May 2014.
                    1. P
                      Pro Indian
                      Feb 10, 2016 at 5:34 am
                      Modi and Shah must carry along allies (minus their undue demands and blackmails) and also try to bring in BJD,AIDMK etc in NDA,if they want to win next general election.BJP can win max 6-7 states on their own,hence in other states,they have to join coalition.
                      1. P
                        Pappalil Prabhakaran
                        Feb 10, 2016 at 4:56 am
                        More than the allies, it is the Press that would like to damage the govt.
                        1. X
                          Feb 10, 2016 at 1:52 am
                          Remember how BJP short changed LJP, HAM, etc in Bihar elections by unilaterally declaring the seats it will contest. The allies had to contest seats which they would have never won.
                          1. R
                            Feb 10, 2016 at 3:41 am
                            RSS has 31% votes and majority in LS. The RS is the only reason for having d allies, otherwise Indian Hitler wud throw them off.
                            1. R
                              Feb 10, 2016 at 3:38 am
                              hardwork?? burning dalit? demolishing mosque? sending all and sundry to Pak?
                              1. S
                                s s nair
                                Feb 10, 2016 at 3:25 am
                                If allies want to save themselves get out now. The BJP is on its downward journey under Modi.
                                1. T
                                  Thomas George
                                  Feb 10, 2016 at 5:34 am
                                  The Press likes to damage everyone. Is that news?
                                  1. H
                                    Feb 10, 2016 at 8:13 am
                                    While BJP is in serious need for allies for support, it needs to listen carefully from its Punjab group as to how they have been treated even while in governance, not more than a chaprasi or shoe shiners, their views overlooked and marginalized.
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