The blame game has begun within the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine after the Punjab poll debacle, with Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal firing the first salvo on Tuesday.
Talking to party workers in Mansa, the Akali leader listed the BJP’s poor performance in urban areas as a reason for the defeat of the alliance, which had been in power in the state for the past 10 years.
“Anti-incumbency leads to resentment among people... The decline in the urban vote share is due to the poor performance of our alliance partner (BJP), which they could have improved,” said Harsimrat, who was attending a mourning ceremony of a party worker’s kin here.
The Bathinda MP said despite an intensive negative campaign carried out by the two rival parties (Congress and Aam Aadmi Party) on social media, the SAD-BJP’s vote share of about 31% was still better than that of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (24%), and both her husband Sukhbir Singh Badal and brother Bikram Singh Majithia were able to record comfortable wins.
Reacting to Harsimrat’s comments, former Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma said the major alliance partner (SAD) cannot escape the blame for anti-incumbency.
Calling her comments “undesirable”, Sharma advised the Union minister not to indulge in blame game and accept the people’s verdict with humility. “We (BJP) accept our responsibility for the defeat, and so should they (SAD),” he said.