Amid reports of strained relation with SAD, BJP on Wednesday made it clear that there was no rift with Akali Dal and the alliance very much exists.
Putting to rest the speculations that BJP will break alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) after its performance in Haryana where it formed the government of its own for the first time, Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma said, "There is no rift between BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)... the alliance is very much there. The alliance exists."
His comment assumes significance in the back drop of BJP MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu creating a controversy by asserting that a section of party workers were unhappy with the alliance, and wanted to go alone in the next assmebly polls.
Kaur, who had been vocal against functioning of Parkash Singh Badal government, had said "BJP workers were not being given due importance by the Akali government."
She asserted that the voice of workers on ground was that the alliance should break. "In my opinion, the party should strengthen its base and contest elections (Assembly polls 2017) on its own," said Kaur, who holds the rank of chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) in Badal government and is wife of three-time former BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Sidhu too, during canvassing for party candidates in Haryana assembly polls, sharpened his attack against Badals.
Sharma, however, termed Kaur's comment as her personal opinion.
"So far, we are not getting any feedback from party workers that the alliance should not continue," he stressed.
On being asked whether BJP will contest the 2017 Assembly polls in alliance with SAD, Sharma remained non committal over the issue.
"Let's see," he said when asked about continuance of poll pact for 2017 Assembly elections in the state.
When asked the BJP ministers in Badal cabinet at times had complained that they were allegedly not given due weightage, Sharma said "problems exists in alliance, but these are sorted out."
The SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab was passing through turbulent time as few incidents reportedly led to friction between the two allies.
In June, a senior BJP leader, had questioned Badal's meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on the issue of Punjabis being stuck in Iraq without any state BJP leaders.
Badal, however, at that time had said as the head of the state every CM can meet PM and Union minister anytime as the sole motive of their meetings is to ensure welfare and development of the state.
In another incident, SAD had asked BJP Minister Anil Joshi not to politicise the matter of Punjab government deciding on rollback advance tax on stock.
Earlier, Akalis attacked Kaur for demanding SAD minister Bikram Singh Majithia's resignation over senior BJP leader and now Union Minister Arun Jaitley's defeat in the Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar. Jaitley was BJP's choice after Badal assured the party of his victory on the seat held thrice by Sidhu.
However, despite rumblings within the alliance Badals have maintained that the alliance with the BJP was "rock solid and age old."
Both Badal and his son Sukhbir had been refuting any differences between the two alliance partners.
In the 117-member Punjab Assembly, the strength of SAD is 57, its ally BJP 12, Congress 45 and three independents. For simple majority in the house, the SAD's strength should be 58.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Jalalabad today, Sukhbir said "People's confidence in development oriented SAD-BJP government would keep the alliance in power for next 25 years."
About the BJP-SAD alliance he said, "it is in two cultures and philosophies, SAD-BJP alliance is most natural alliance".
He said alliance between the two parties has strengthened communal harmony in the state, and after losing its political ground now Congress was trying to create an image that alliance was going through tough times.
Sukhbir said Delhi assembly polls would soon clear these clouds as alliance was all set to register record victory.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress President Partap Singh Bajwa today called upon the Parkash Singh Badal government to focus on governance which had become a casualty in the competitive politics between the alliance partners, SAD and BJP which were trying to appropriate each other's support base.
In a statement, Bajwa referred to the reports appearing in a section of media about the alleged quarrels between the activists and the MLAs from the two parties in which the issues of governance and development were getting affected.
This was happening all over the state ever since Akali Dal opted for support to Om Parkash Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal in the Haryana Assembly polls in which BJP emerged as an unexpected jackpot, much to the discomfiture of the Akali Dal, he said.
Bajwa said it was ironic that Akali Dal was now trying to project itself as the custodian of the interests of the Dalits as the Narendra Modi government inducted BJP?s dalit MP from Hoshiarpur Vijay Sampla in his cabinet with an eye on the Dalit vote bank in Punjab in an effort to test the Punjab electoral waters at its own.
Bajwa said all these years, it had been Congress which had been taking special care for the uplift of these sections and came up with schemes targeted at their welfare.