November 25, 2021 7:54:02 am
Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) — the political party led by Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, which was formed by the merger of Akali Dal breakaway factions of Dhindsa’s SAD (Democratic) and Ranjit Singh Brahampura’s SAD (Taksali) — is torn on whether to ally with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab.
SAD (Sanyukt) held two meetings, on Tuesday and Wednesday, with party leaders, and office bearers at senior positions, airing divergent views. Many leaders batted for an alliance with the AAP, while several others said that the breakaway faction of Akali Dal should stitch an alliance with the BJP following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to repeal the three controversial farm laws. A third section was of the view that the party should contest on its own without any alliance.
SAD (Sanyukta) president, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who had questioned the functioning of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal after the Akalis were routed in the 2017 assembly polls and subsequently went on to lead the breakaway faction SAD (Democratic), told The Indian Express on Wednesday that office bearers of his party put forward various views in the two meetings.
Dhindsa was awarded Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in the country, in March 2019. He returned the award in December 2020 to express solidarity with farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws.
Dhindsa said that those opposing the idea of an alliance with the BJP were apprehensive of former Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, likely allying with the saffron party. Dhindsa said, “Many office bearers have expressed their views that if the party considers an alliance with BJP, Captain Amarinder Singh should not be there in that alliance as they accused Captain of being in collusion with the SAD.”
“Our doors are open for an alliance. We will hold more meetings and depending upon feedback from the party cadre, we will take a call,” said Dhindsa.
A senior party leader, who was part of the two meetings, said that “at least 25 per cent” of those who attended the meetings were of the view that party should ally with the BJP. “After discussions, it was decided that party could consider allying with the BJP, if all farmer demands were met, including making MSP legal and after farmers announce that they are satisfied that their demands have been met,” said the SAD (Sanyukt) leader.
Another senior party leader said, “Though many advocated that the party should ally with the BJP, majority of the leaders who attended the meetings were in favour of having an alliance with the AAP.”
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