Newly district BJP president Ashok Vaid has said his party would not support sitting Akali legislator Gurbachan Singh Babbehali for this seat in the 2017 state elections and even work to ensure his defeat.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are ruling coalition partners in Punjab but if the Akalis field Babbehali again from Gurdaspur, Vaid said the BJP would back any strong opposing candidate. The two leaders are enemies since the legislator is alleged to have disrespected Vaid in a joint meeting of their parties here in the last municipal elections over seatsharing.
Babbehali had then opposed the official BJP candidates and got many defeated. Vaid told HT on Wednesday here that Babbehali had then torn the party whip letter supporting Santosh Kaur Riar for municipal council president. The MLA, however, helped Manoj Kumar ‘Shampy’ win, even though the BJP had expelled the latter for six years. Shampy continues to have the post and the legislator’s support. ”The MLA was behind the tax raids on my business premises,” said the district BJP president.
Babbehali denied having a hand in the raids and claimed that the Akali-BJP alliance was intact in Gurdaspur, “regardless of the personal opinion of Vaid”.