Differences between the Shiromani Akali Dal and its alliance partner BJP in Punjab over increase in power tariff refused to die down on Tuesday despite serious attempts by senior leaders from both parties to reach a solution.
Parkash Singh Badal government had increased power tariff in Punjab in September which was opposed by its alliance partner BJP. The latter has argued that since its votebank was mainly in urban areas, an increase in electricity prices would adversely affect its votebase and should be converted into a subsidy.
SAD is said to have refused, saying subsidising the hike in power tariff would put a burden of Rs 800 crore on the exchequer, thus defeating the whole purpose behind the hike.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Badal held a meeting today to sort out the issue. Other senior leaders from both camps were also in touch on the issue and expressed confidence of reaching a consensus soon. Sources said efforts were being made to find a middle path to diffuse the crisis.
BJP leaders maintain that SAD's votebank is mainly rural for which several schemes and subsidies, including power subsidy, are already in place.