Upbeat since the statement from union finance minister Arun Jaitely on Saturday that the Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab was “unbreakable”, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday termed reports of differences between the two parties “a media creation”.
“The Sun may change its direction but the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is never going to leave the SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal). Our relations are intact and it’s the media that is drawing negative conclusions. Please be positive, constructive,” Badal said in reply to the HT question over the frosting ties between the alliance partners. He had landed at the PAP (Punjab Armed Police) helipad here to attend a Christian community function at Jalandhar diocese.
Asked about the “cold shoulder” given to him at the swearing-in of the new Haryana government last week, the CM downplayed the issue said the newspaper reports were baseless. “When you attend a big function, you have to follow the protocol. Everything was fine,” said the CM. He said the SAD might have campaigned for the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana but it had not uttered a word against the BJP. “Our collective aim was to defeat the Congress, and we did that,” he said.
Asked if his party was ready to meet the demand from the ally for more seats in the coming local bodies’ elections in Punjab, Badal said the BJP had made no such demand as of now. Asked if he felt that the BJP deserved to be given more seats in view of the surge in its popularity in the last few months, the CM said: “For news sake, you are putting words into the mouth of general public. Lokan de man which eho jeha kuj ni hai (There is nothing like that in the people’s heart).”
Looking likely to taking a tough stand against the ally’s wishing to contest more seats, Badal also supported the demand to compensate the terror victims of Punjab on the lines of the enhanced relief given to the families affected in the 1984 riots.