Rifts in the ruling alliance partners in Punjab once again became apparent when the Tarn Taran unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday announced to oppose Shiromani Akali Dal candidate Ravinder Singh Brahmpura in the high stake Khadoor Sahib bypoll, slated for February 13.
Furious over the ‘ unjust behaviour’ of SAD in the Raja Joshi assault case, the BJP leaders have given indications to oppose the SAD candidate in the bypoll, which is considered to be an acid test for the Akalis.
In a press release issued here, Navreet Singh Shafipur, district president of the BJP, said all the leaders and workers of the district would openly oppose the SAD candidate in the by-elections, as justice has not been delivered to the BJP workers, including Raja Joshi, district vice-president and younger brother of Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi, who were allegedly attacked by the SAD workers ‘backed’ by Tarn Taran MLA Harmeet Sandhu during the local municipal council elections on February 11, 2015.
He said, “We will not only oppose the SAD candidate, but also approach every voter of the Khadoor Sahib constituency to make him aware of the atrocities being committed by the SAD leaders. We will tell the voters how miscreants of the SAD party opened fire at BJP workers and thrashed them.”
Lashing out at chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, he said he gave shelter to the criminals and appointed them on key posts in the party.
Terming Sandhu as ‘head of these criminal elements’, he said they would also expose the truth of Khemkaran MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha who called himself as ‘terrorist’ with pride, before the people. “We will reveal the character of both the leaders, as both will approach the people to garner their votes,” he added.
He said, “We will create awareness among masses about the wrongdoings and the unjust activities of the SAD leadership under which the ordinary people are not safe. We will remind the CM that the BJP workers worked very hard to ensure his victory in the 2012 assembly elections, as a result of which he and his son is enjoying the posts of CM and deputy-CM, respectively.”
He said the BJP has proper village-wise organisational structure and base in the Khadoor Sahib segment and they could leave a deep impact on the electoral scene here. “In coming days, I will call meeting of BJP rank and file belonging to the segment to chalk out our future strategy,” he added.
It must be mentioned here that the BJP leadership of Tarn Taran have been alleging that no adequate action has been taken against those behind the attack on Joshi. They say special investigation team (SIT), which was formed by the CM to sort out the matter, had too not delivered the justice to them.
Since the clash, the Tarn Taran BJP leaders have been keeping distance from the SAD leaders and staying away from their activities. They also stayed away the state-level meeting called by Sukhbir Singh Badal on January 20 to assign duties to the SAD leaders for election campaign.
Prior to this, they boycotted the “sangat darshan” programme addressed by the chief minister in Khadoor Sahib segment and “Sadbhawna” rally held at Goindwal Sahib on December 14 last year.