Discontent has been brewing in the SAD-BJP camp in Punjab over various issues, including the switching of sides by senior leader P S Gill and imposition of property and advance taxes in the state.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had termed the induction of SAD MLA Gill in BJP as “unfortunate”, and said “both SAD and BJP should refrain from poaching leaders of each other’s party, as it was violation of the coalition dharma”.
Senior BJP leader and party in-charge of Punjab Shanta Kumar, however, refused to comment on the objection raised by Badal.
“I don’t know anything about it.I am not going to comment on this issue. I have no information about which SAD leader has joined the party and what the CM has to say on it,” Kumar said on the sidelines of a programme in Jalandhar.
Kumar, however, ruled out that cracks had started appearing between the alliance partners in Punjab.
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Punjab BJP Chief Kamal Sharma, meanwhile, said that Gill had served as police officer most of his time in Jammu and Kashmir. “Gill is more aware of the people of Jammu and Kashmir… So he joined BJP there,” Sharma said.
Gill, an 1974-batch IPS officer of Jammu & Kashmir cadre and former police chief Punjab, had joined BJP deserting SAD at a recent rally of BJP chief Amit Shah in Kathua.
Earlier too there had been a few incidents that had reportedly led to friction between the two allies. In June, senior BJP leader Balramji Dass Tandon had questioned Badal’s meeting with the Prime Minister in Delhi over bringing back Punjabis stuck in Iraq, without any state BJP leader.
Badal, however, had said that as the head of a state every Chief Minister can meet the PM and union ministers anytime as the sole motive of such meetings is to ensure welfare and development of the state.
In another incident, SAD had in June asked BJP MLA and cabinet-rank minister Anil Joshi not to politicise the matter of Punjab government deciding on rollback of “advance tax and property tax”. Joshi had gone out of the way criticising his own government in the past over the advance tax.
Later to iron out the simmering differences between the two allies, a coordination committee was set up comprising leaders from SAD and BJP.