With just three weeks left in Punjab assembly polls, all is not well in the ties between the ruling allies — Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — in the Malwa region.
The troubled relations came to the fore in Malout and Abohar on Friday. While murder accused and SAD ex-halqa in-charge Shiv Lal Doda filed his nomination from Abohar against BJP’s official candidate Arun Narang, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal returned from outside the venue of a meeting that was held to defuse tension between BJP and SAD cadres at Malout in Muktsar district, without addressing it.
In Badal’s absence, former Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma “pleaded” with the 150 odd party delegates from its nine ‘mandals’ (division) in Muktsar to ensure the victory of SAD candidates in the district.
“The (SAD-BJP) alliance continues on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah. I plead with you to maintain its sanctity and assure the victory of SAD candidates in your areas,” Sharma told the gathering in the presence of Badal’s close confidant and SGPC member Dyal Singh Kolianwali.
The latter promised “all help” to BJP cadres “once the Akali-BJP combine forms the government again”.
Without mentioning the local BJP leader’s grudges against SAD, including the latter’s “political interference” during the municipal polls in Malout and Mutsar, Kolianwali said whatever had irked the BJP in the past would be corrected.
SHIV LAL DODA’S MOVE IRKS BJP
Meanwhile, Fazilka district BJP president Vishnu Bhagwan said Doda’s nomination from Abohar against the BJP’s official candidate, Arun Narang, has irked the party leadership of the entire district.
“I have taken up the matter with state BJP chief Vijay Sampla who will talkk to senior SAD leaders in a day or two,” he told Hindustan Times.
BATHINDA, MANSA MUDDLE
The Friday’s ripples came close on the heels of Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s futile attempts to win back the trust of the BJP’s Bathinda district leadership that seems annoyed over SAD’s refusal to allot to the saffron party at least two of the three seats of Bathinda, Mansa and Malout.