With the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one of the oldest allies of the BJP and a founding member of the NDA, having exited the ruling coalition at the Centre in protest against the farm legislations pushed through Parliament by the Modi government, the politics in Punjab has heated up in Punjab leading to war of words between leaders of different political parties.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the BJP leadership wasn’t ready to heed their repeated pleas against the farm bills, so they came out of NDA. On this, the Punjab BJP president Ashwani Kumar termed the SAD’s decision as unfortunate. Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday said, “SAD is essentially a farmer’s party. The BJP leadership wasn’t ready to heed our repeated pleas against the farm bills. Nor were they listening to our objections to the exclusion of Punjabi as an official language in Jammu and Kashmir. After that, it was meaningless to stay on.”
“Therefore, first, the party’s representative in the Union Cabinet Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the cabinet and then after consulting with the people including party workers and leaders, we decided to pull out of the alliance,” Badal added.
Punjab BJP president Ashwani Sharma after the state unit’s core committee meeting on Sunday said that SAD’s decision to break ties with NDA is unfortunate. He said that reasons given by SAD for breakup had no truth, as BJP continuously consulted the farm laws issue with the former. BJP always respected its allies, Sharma added saying that Farm Bills are in favour of farmers.
Reacting over the issue, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar said that Akalis didn’t want to break their ties with BJP and were keen to keep the alliance.
He said that Akalis were desperately waiting for some sign of rapprochement from the BJP. But no senior leader in the saffron party was willing to even meet them let alone the PM, he added saying that they wanted to get rid of the Akalis, but didn’t want to be seen as initiators of this break-up. BJP’s behaviour did all the talking on their behalf and left Akalis with no choice but to walk off the coalition, Jakhar added.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa demanded the resignation of Sukhbir Singh Badal as SAD president as his party despite being a long-time ally in the Modi government failed miserably to protect the interests of Punjabis.
The Minister said that SAD had not severed ties with the BJP out of any principles or morality, but due to political compulsion. He said that the anger and agitation by the Punjabi have grounded the Akalis and forced them to quit the Modi government and break ties with BJP, who were supporting farm bills for the last four months.