The Shiromani Akali Dal’s decision to break the alliance will hurt the Akalis more than it will hurt the BJP, the saffromn party on Satuyrday said.
Speaking to The Indian Express in the immediate aftermath of the SAD announcing its decision to quit the NDA, former state president of BJP and a minister in the previous SAD-BJP government, Madan Mohan Mittal, said that had former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal been at the helm of affairs in SAD, he would have shown more “doordarshita (foresight)”.
“Our party has called a meeting of the core committee of the state unit tomorrow in Chandigarh. We will discuss and deliberate on this development. This decision will harm the Akalis more than us. We have several people in touch with us from SAD, Congress and AAP,” said Mittal.
He added: “They took the decision to resign from the Cabinet under pressure and they have taken the decision to quit the alliance under pressure of farmers’ agitation too.”
Another former state BJP president, Vijay Sampla, said that it was too early to comment on the Akali decision.
“We should wait until the morning and take a collective decision on the implications,” he said late at night.
The break-up of SAD with NDA comes 23 years after they entered into alliance in 1997 with was a result of efforts of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal, who was then SAD president.
Even before entering into the alliance, Akalis had been partners with the erstwhile Jan Sangh in forming government in Punjab in 1967.
The five-time Chief Minister of the state, Parkash Singh Badal, has always described the SAD ties with BJP as ‘nau-maas da rishta’ or ties like nail and flesh. He had, in fact, been defending the agriculture ordinances till just a few days back just as SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal were doing.
Parkash Singh Badal had not only kept the alliance together, but had also asserted time and again that the Akali-BJP ties were a guarantee of Sikh-Hindu amity in the state and that being a border state which suffered due to terrorism for more than a decade, such sensitivities were important for Punjab.
Both the parties managed to cobble their alliance together and keep it intact despite disparity of political alignments in neighbouring Haryana and in national capital New Delhi. However, despite difference on issues like Citizenship Amendment Act, SYL canal, seat sharing bickering etc the two parties never faced as severe a challenge as the present one.
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