THE SAD-BJP alliance was seen as an inorganic composition from very first day by many in political circles, and former SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra was the first to object this alleged political arrangement between rural and urban Punjab.
Former minister in SAD-BJP government Seva Singh Sekhwan, who left SAD in 2018 and now is with the Shiromani Akali Dal formed by Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, said, “The long alliance with BJP and RSS has already defeated the core agenda of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal). What Akali Dal stood for was federal structure of the country and decentralisation of powers. But Badal family compromised this agenda, which was essence of the Anandpur Sahib resolution, to remain with BJP. One after another, Modi government made decisions which were against the federal structure of the country and at the same time these decisions were making the Centre more and more powerful.
Badal family saw all these anti-SAD decisions being taken silently. They even participated in such decisions. Badals were so comfortable with BJP that they even defended farm Bills from their heart. They wake up from deep slumber only when people pushed them to a corner. They have come out of alliance to save face. Akali Dal was forced to come out of alliance by people only but it was too late for the the core agenda of Akali Dal.”
Sekhwan also clarified, “Do not believe the rumours that we would replace Badals for alliance with BJP. We will never go with BJP.”
Another former minister in SAD-BJP government, Anil Joshi, was among a few of the state BJP leaders who would openly speak against SAD. “Akali Dal has taken this decision in a hurry and it would not affect BJP in Punjab. In fact, it would be beneficial for us. Earlier our cadre would not do much work in the rural areas because they knew that ultimately SAD would contest from any rural constituency. But now our worker is excited and they would work in rural areas too,” he said.
“We had huge pressure to quit the alliance in 2016 when there were many issues against the SAD. There was anti-incumbency and we also had to bear it. But we stood by alliance in those difficult times. So blame of breaking the the alliance is not on us,” he added.
Some Akali leaders claimed that the breaking of the alliance could create a division of votes between Congress and BJP.
“It is a false allegation that RSS had any say in any Panthic decision taken when we were in alliance with BJP. No Sikh should take any notice of RSS. No Sikh should fear RSS. We have snapped ties with BJP due to ideological differences over farm Bills. It is true that BJP never made serious attempt to enter our rural constituencies and we never made any attempt to enter their urban constituencies. But now SAD will benefit from the division of votes between Congress and BJP,” said SAD spokesman Virsa Singh Valtoha.
BJP contested two parliament seats in Majha and on both seats, Amritsar and Gurdaspur, the SAD vote bank is crucial. It would be a challenge for BJP to fight back on urban Assembly constituencies in Majha without SAD.
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