BJP president JP Nadda Thursday reached out to former ally and Shiromani Akali Dal president, Sukhbir Badal and sought support for NDA’s presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu. The call from Nadda came around 21 months after Akali Dal walked out of the NDA protesting against the now repealed three central agri laws.
Confirming the development, Harcharan Bains, the principal advisor to Sukhbir, in a tweet said, “Yes, we did receive a call from BJP national president JP Nadda in this connection. It is confirmed that Sukhbir Badal responded by saying that the matter will be discussed in the party at the highest level before taking a decision”.
Bains said during the call, Nadda said that Murmu symbolised and represented the downtrodden minority segments in the country, a cause SAD has always championed. “However, only senior leaders of the SAD are authorised to take a final call on the matter,” he said.
Bains said that the party will hold a meeting on Friday afternoon during which it will decide who it supports during the Presidential elections.
While Sukhbir Badal is an MP from Ferozepur, his wife, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, represents Bathinda. The Akali Dal and the BJP had been in an alliance in Punjab for 27 years, the combine being elected to run three governments in the state during the time period. However, on September 27, 2020 , this alliance was called off by the SAD, over the issue of three contentious farm laws passed by the Parliament.
Though initially in favour of the laws, the SAD took a U-Turn later with Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigning from the post of Union food processing minister. The party later proceeded to kill its alliance with the BJP, with Akali patron, Parkash Singh Badal, even returning his Padma Shri in December 2020, as farmers started protests at Delhi borders.
“After the alliance fell through, we have no communication whatsoever with them. This is the first time that the BJP has reached out to us. Both the parties were mature enough, they just didn’t see eye-to-eye on the issue of the farm laws,” a SAD leader said. Both parties, however, have time and again stated that there was no chance of them getting together to form an alliance again.
Sources in SAD said that the party will not vote for the Opposition candidate, Yashwant Sinha, as he had spoken in support of Sikh genocide. They said that there was a definite soft corner in the party for the NDA candidate for the Presidential poll, but a decision regarding the same would be taken by the party leadership.