The war of words between the coalition partners in the Punjab government – the SAD and the BJP — that began after the poor showing at the Lok Sabha polls shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
The party reacted sharply to Sunday’s statement by senior BJP leader Balramji Dass Tandon in which he had criticised Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal for meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, without taking any state BJP leader along.
It added that it did not behove a senior leader like Tandon to say such things and that he would do well to introspect.
“The party high command did not like Tandon’s outburst,” said a senior SAD leader.
SAD general secretary Maheshinder Singh Grewal added that no one could dictate to the CM or the deputy CM on when they should or could meet the Prime Minister.
“Meeting the PM on issues of state interest is the sole prerogative of the CM and he does not require permission from anyone,” he said.
Tandon is the chairman of the state BJP committee that will analyse why the alliance under-performed in Punjab in the Lok Sabha polls.
THE BACKGROUND TO THE ROW
On Friday, Badal had met union home minister Rajnath Singh and environment and forests minister Prakash Javadekar; and then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and he had given a charter of demands to the PM.
They sought transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and the following of the riparian principle for the use of Punjab’s river waters.
“Since the BJP is a partner in the ruling alliance in Punjab, it’s surprising that neither Badal nor Sukhbir deemed it fit to take the state BJP ministers along to meet the central ministers last week,” Tandon had said on Sunday, suggesting Badal should have first convened a meeting of both parties and thrashed out the issue with the coalition partner.
Tandon had also said that BJP is in favour of inter-linking of rivers while SAD is opposed to it, as the party wants the riparian principle to be followed.
“The SAD is an independent party and has established itself after an era of sacrifices. It own views on certain issues are based on a commitment given to the people of Punjab, which form the core of party’s our philosophy. These will not be compromised at any cost whatsoever,” Grewal said on Monday. Grewal, however, reiterated that the SAD and the BJP were inseparable.
“SAD is the only party which has always of fered unconditional support to the BJP and had stood by it, when it was treated as untouchable by all other mainstream parties,” he added.
Reacting to Grewal’s remarks, Tandon said he had never objected to Badals’ meeting Modi, but had wanted to convey that if BJP leaders had accompanied the Badals, the state’s residents would have carried a good impression.