With the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) compelled to ally with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) for the Haryana assembly elections due in October, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has claimed that its coalition with the Akalis in Punjab is also "state specific".
Ruling Punjab together for the past many years, the Akalis and the BJP will contest against each other in neighbouring Haryana. Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma, who was here on Tuesday to meet party workers for the Patiala byelections, said they were not concerned with the SAD-INLD relationship in Haryana.
"It is not for the first time that the SAD has allied with the INLD to fight the BJP in Haryana. We hold no grudge, as even our alliances across the country are state specific," he said. The SAD alliance with the INLD is older than its relationship with the BJP.
Even during the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Akalis campaigned in favour of the INLD contestants. Chief minister Prakash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal exhorted even the Haryana BJP units to side with the INLD but the saffron party turned down the suggestion, citing alleged corrupt practices of the INLD, including the conviction of its senior most leader, Om Prakash Chautala, in the JBT (junior basic teacher) recruitment scam.
Asked how it would influence the political scenario in Punjab, Sharma said the two things were different, and the SAD-BJP relations in Punjab would be unaffected. "We have done well over the years and will continue to support each other even in the coming years," said Sharma.
Reacting to the blatant statements of state cabinet minister Anil Joshi against state government, Sharma said: "It's difficult to have consensus every time. Issues keep coming to the fore but are resolved in time."