The Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) leadership on Monday held a meeting at the residence of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi and decided to form a joint state-level coordination committee to resolve all issues concerning the alliance.
“‘It was decided by senior leaders of both parties to have a committee to deliberate upon some contentious issues between the alliance partners. The committee members will be announced soon after a meeting in Chandigarh in a week,” state BJP chief Kamal Sharma told HT.
The meeting that lasted for one and half hours was attended by Jaitley, SAD president Sukhbir Badal, SAD’s Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral, BJP national organisational secretary Ram Lal, BJP Punjab affairs in-charge Parbhat Jha, Kamal Sharma, BJP Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna and Punjab cabinet ministers Madan Mohan Mittal, Surjit Jyani, Anil Joshi among others. Sources in the BJP said various issues concerning the alliance were discussed in the meeting.
Sources said Sukhbir promised to address the concerns raised by the state BJP leadership, but he strongly raised the issue of few Punjab leaders criticising the SAD in the media, especially by chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and BJP MLA Navjot Kaur Sidhu.
“CPS Sidhu’s frequent barbs against the SAD-BJP leadership are causing a huge embarrassment to the alliance in Punjab. No action has been initiated against her and no efforts have been made by the BJP to ask her to restrain. She is fully enjoying the government facilities as a CPS and is openly asking the people to vote for the
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP),” Sukhbir reportedly told the BJP leadership.
To this, the BJP leaders said they were seized of the matter and assured to “act tough”.
SAD Rajya Sabha member Naresh Gujral said the alliance partners decided to bury the “past conflicts” to work in a united manner.
“Since the SAD-BJP will contest the assembly polls together, the leaders discussed the future course of action. It was also decided that before going to with the media on issues concerning the alliance, both the parties will discuss it on the joint forum at the state level,” said Gujral.
The state BJP leaders raised the issue of interference by Akalis in the departments held by their ministers.