BJP disassociates self from Sidhu’s Akali-bashing during Haryana polls

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 22, 2014 12:59 IST

The BJP on Tuesday disassociated itself from the remarks made by former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its leaders while campaigning in the recent Haryana assembly polls.

With this, once again the differences between Sidhu and the local unit of the BJP have come to the fore, especially when it is being discussed that in future the BJP may appoint Sidhu as the Punjab unit president.
Sidhu, in his aggressive campaigning in Punjabi and Sikh-dominated constituencies in Haryana, was vocal against the style of functioning of the SAD, which has a coalition government in Punjab with the BJP, and had called its top leaders “backstabbers”.

According to state party president Kamal Sharma, Sidhu’s remarks, especially against the SAD leaders, were “personal” and “the BJP has nothing to do with it”. Sharma clarified that the party high command had told Sidhu to campaign in Haryana but not to bash SAD leaders.

The cricketer-turned politician, who is currently co-hosting a TV comedy show, held around 10 rallies in Haryana and was given a helicopter to fly from Delhi to various constituencies there.

During the campaigning, Sidhu ridiculed Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for supporting the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana and running the government with the BJP in Punjab. Sidhu had said that the Badals had formed government in Punjab with the help of the BJP and had also blamed the Akalis for his ouster from Amritsar.

“We can’t say that the campaigning by him (Sidhu) made all the difference, leading to a thumping victory for our party,” said Sharma. “The success in the Haryana polls can’t be attributed to Sidhu. He was a small part of the campaigning process,” Sharma said.

Speaking on continuing the alliance with the SAD in the 2017 assembly polls, Sharma said the party would cross the bridge when it came to it. “But as of now, the SAD-BJP government is running well,” he said.

Workers want more representation

Speaking about the upcoming civic body polls in Punjab, Sharma said the delimitation of wards was underway and party workers who were upbeat after the Haryana poll results wanted a better representation.

“The number of wards will increase in the delimitation and our workers want a bigger share from the coalition partner,” he said, adding that the BJP was strong in the civic bodies of urban belts whereas Akalis were strong in rural belts.

There are 168 civic bodies in the state which will go to polls in November. A joint meeting of the SAD and BJP for sharing of wards would take place after Diwali, said a BJP source.

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