After rounds of backchannel talks with leaders of regional parties and its senior leader Prem Singh Chandumajra holding meetings with leaders of other states, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is hopeful of a formidable joint front, minus Congress and AAP, in the coming days.
While former Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has been in touch with several leaders like DMK MP Kanimozhi, TMC Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien, NCP MP Supriya Sule, who is daughter of Sharad Pawar, the party had also formed a committee comprising Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Sikandar Singh Maluka and Prem Singh Chandumajra for holding meetings with the regional party leaders.
Since Maluka has been busy with farmers protest and Bhunder was indisposed, Chandumajra went around holding several meeting with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thakrey, and leaders of Biju Janata Dal.
Party leaders said that the talks by Harsimrat Badal and meetings by Chandumajra have yielded “results” and a joint meeting is likely in Delhi in this month.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the meetings. They have been fruitful. The regional parties are looking for a platform together to have a united voice against the Centre. That platform is being created. Otherwise, the federalism has been under attack by Centre. All this started after implementation of GST. The states have no money ever since. Now, there are these farm laws which are a further attack on the states as they cannot charge the market fee and RDF. We are hoping that a joint front is going to be born soon,” said Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, spokesperson of SAD.
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is the brain behind the initiative.
“Badal sahib and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal have been closely monitoring the talks with other regional parties. The outcome would be for everybody to see,” said Parambans Singh Romana, national spokesperson of SAD.
Sources in the party said that Maluka and Bhunder will also start visiting the leaders in other states soon.
“Earlier, Congress was considered a fulcrum of opposition of BJP. But now there is a feeling that Congress is disintegrating and at the same time everybody is looking at a strong joint forum,” said Romana.
Sources said that the party had suggested to Sukhbir to put Harsimrat Badal at the forefront of talks. “But Sukhbir ji wanted a non-Badal. Thereafter, a three-member committee was formed.”
Besides, SAD leader Naresh Gujral has been in touch with several other leaders.
The SAD will not hold any meetings with Congress and AAP. Both the political outfits are active in Punjab and also the SAD and Congress have ideological differences. SAD has always been hitting out at Congress for the Blue Star operation to flush out militants from Golden Temple and also for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Both these parties have been sworn political rivals in the state.
AAP is the main opposition party in Punjab and any truck with Arvind Kejriwal will not go down well for the SAD.
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