Updated: July 25, 2021 10:33:44 pm
Calling for a united alliance comprising all major regional players, Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday said opposition parties should come together to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.
“There is a need for regional forces to get together. Regional forces are more connected to the ground and have better understanding of the people. We have been talking to various parties. Regional parties should come together and form a front before the 2024 general elections. And I am sure before 2024, this front will emerge as a very strong force,” Badal told PTI.
He further said this alliance will not be called the third front but the second front, as Congress is no longer a pan-India party.
Badal’s statement comes days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s outreach to opposition parties. Banerjee, while addressing party workers and leaders during the Trinamool Congress’s annual Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata on Wednesday, said, “The BJP took India to darkness. ‘Khela’ will happen in all states until BJP is removed from the country. “Khela aabaar hobe (the game will take place again), aar jeta hobe (and we will win).”
Banerjee’s message to Opposition parties, especially the regional forces, was to sort out their differences and to start preparing for 2024. Her Martyrs’ Day speech was made available in various states, including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Tripura, and Delhi, and senior Opposition politicians were present at the Constitution Club in Delhi where her speech was broadcast live.
Meanwhile, Badal, while underlining the fact that SAD had severed its decades-old alliance with the BJP and moved out of the government at the Centre over the three contentious farm laws, said the issue will be the main concern of the Akali Dal going into the Punjab Assembly polls next year.
“SAD is a farmers’ party and their issues are core of our ideology. Whatever may happen and whatever cost we may have to pay, we wouldn’t let these laws be implemented in Punjab…If the party is voted to power, it will provide government job to a family member of all those farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing protest against the laws,” he said.
He added that the government will provide free education to the children of the deceased farmers and pension to the parents of those who died young, Badal said. The SAD will bet big on new and young faces and will try to field as many women as possible in the assembly elections slated for early next year, he added.
Badal’s statements come on a day when a potential tie-up between SAD (Samyukt) and AAP for the Punjab Assembly polls has once again run into rough weather, with the state co in-charge of the AAP, Raghav Chadha, on Sunday denying any alliance between the two parties.
The SAD (Samyukt) was quick to react and call Chadha’s statement “politically immature”.
(With PTI inputs)