Tension between BJP and the SAD refuses to die down despite the “all is well” claims by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. BJP’s Anil Joshi, the local bodies minister, who had earlier threatened an agitation over the change in rules for input tax credit, has now vowed to take up the non-issuance of noobjection certificates (NOCs) by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for registration of properties in the erstwhile illegal colonies.
Joshi, against whom the SAD on Wednesday complained to state BJP chief Kamal Sharma, said on Thursday: “A large number of registries of such properties are held up because PUDA is not issuing NOCs; even when applicants have submitted the heavy fee for regularisation as per norms.” Joshi was talking to HT in Jalandhar during his brief stay to participate in a private function. Observers have said that heavy fee levied for regularisation of illegal colonies was one issue that went against the SAD-BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, in which the alliance failed to raise its tally despite a nationwide BJP surge.
In a statement on Joshi’s earlier threat of agitation, SAD general secretary Maheshinder Grewal had said on Wednesday that Joshi must respect coalition dharma and should have discussed the tax credit-related amendment in the Punjab VAT Act at the CM or deputy CM’s level before issuing a statement. To this, Joshi reacted, “I don’t want to come into the blame game. Yet, let me tell you, I had discussed the VAT issue with the deputy CM in the presence of chief parliamentary secretary and Jalandhar North MLA KD Bhandari and state trader board association chief Narottam Ratti; but to no avail.”