A meeting between food and civil supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon and local bodies minister Anil Joshi on Tuesday evening assumes significance in view of the municipal council (MC) polls and the decision of the BJP not to join hands with the Akalis in Tarn Taran.
The closed-door meeting between the two was held at Kairon, the ancestral village of the son-in-law of the chief minister.
A senior local BJP leader described it as a courtesy call by Joshi. The leader said since Joshi was in Tarn Taran for the MC polls, he went over to Kairon village, near Patti.
However, considering the political developments in Tarn Taran ahead of the MC polls, the meeting assumes significance. It is being viewed seriously by the SAD leaders of Tarn Taran as the handshake between the two ministers could impact the outcome of the results in the 23-member Tarn Taran MC.
Joshi told HT, “I met him and discussed the elections to the Patti MC, where the BJP and SAD are contesting jointly. We both are satisfied with the way things are turning out at Patti.” He denied having discussed the political scenario of Tarn Taran.
However, indications are that the two could not have avoided Tarn Taran. It is common knowledge that Kairon does not get along with his party’s Tarn Taran MLA and chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Harmeet Singh Sandhu, who is in the Majithia camp.
In Sandhu, both Kairon and Joshi have a common rival. The CPS has been at loggerheads with Joshi since the last MC polls. The February 10 clash in which Joshi’s younger brother Raja was the target has widened the gap between the minister and the Akali MLA.
BJP candidates are pitted against the Akali candidates in 19 of the 23 wards. In the remaining four wards, the BJP is supporting independents.
The meeting is significant as Kairon has a good support base in Tarn Taran town. Indications are that word has been sent down by Kairon to his supporters to back the BJP candidates.
Among the notable supporters of Kairon is Jatinder Sood, a former president of the MC. He is a popular leader and his support could damage the prospects of some of the Akali candidates.
However, Akali leaders of Tarn Taran are not attaching much importance to the meeting, claiming that over the years, Kairon’s support base in the town has eroded and a majority of his loyalists are now in the Sandhu camp.