Though the two are often seen targeting each other, the Congress on Tuesday handily helped one of the groups of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in getting one of its councilors elected president of the Nabha municipal committee.
The bizarre move of the Congress to help its archrivals came at the point when SAD was nowhere in the picture to in getting its candidate elected president due to rift within SAD's local unit.
Bartering with the SAD, the Congress managed to get the post of vice-president. Earlier, the post was with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
With the help of Congress, SAD's Gursewak Singh Golu, a protégé of constituency in-charge Makhan Singh Lalka, has been elected president, while BJP's Parmod Jindal was appointed as senior vice-president.
Congress' Yashpreet Singh Bhandohal was elected vice-president.
The newly elected president, Golu, got 18 votes including seven from Congress councilors, while five SAD councilors voted for Harpreet Singh, a youth Akali Dal leader. Golu, a student leader in his earlier days, has been closely associated with SAD leader Gurpreet Singh Raju Khanna.
It should be mentioned that the earlier the Congress had an edge after independent candidates offered to extend their support to it taking the tally of votes in its support to 10 including those of constituency MLAs.
But after former MC president Gurbakshish Singh Bhatti, who contested independently, joined the Akali Dal on Monday, the Congress voted in the favour of the SAD group led by Lalka.
Cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, who was present on the occasion, failed to build consensus between SAD councilors with councillors exchanging heated agreement over top post.
"The decision on the name of president post was taken by the party high command and it is the duty of every councillor to accept it," Rakhra said.
Indeed, Congress MLA from Nabha Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, who was against extending support to SAD, was absent from the meeting and could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Media locked in EO's room
Reluctant to come on record over its pact with Congress, the SAD with assistance of the police managed to keep mediapersons away from the meeting. The police officials present on the occasion asked mediapersons to wait inside executive officers room, but later on locked the room from outside.
The police opened the door after Akali Dal announced its president. The agitated scribes boycotted the elections process.