BJP banks on Modi as it contests on its own in Punjab | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP banks on Modi as it contests on its own in Punjab

May 24, 2024 08:55 AM IST

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the now-scrapped farm laws

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Punjab without the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the now-scrapped farm laws. It is pinning its hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guarantees to bag a few of the 13 seats in Punjab.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab. (PTI)

On Thursday, Modi campaigned in the state and said Punjab and the Sikh community have always been at the forefront of nation building. Modi said he would have taken Kartapur Sahib from Pakistan in exchange for prisoners of war had he been in power in 1971. He blamed the Congress for letting the territory remain in Pakistan. “For 70 years, we could have a darshan of the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara only with binoculars,” Modi said.

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The Modi government counts the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor for visa-free access to the last resting place of Guru Nanak among its key achievements.

BJP questions AAP over Maliwal

The now-scrapped Delhi excise policy and the arrest of top Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders gave the BJP a chance to attack chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s anti-corruption stance.

Kejriwal, who led the India Against Corruption movement before joining politics, was arrested in March in connection with the alleged irregularities in the policy. Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh is out on bail in the case. Former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia continues to be incarcerated.

The BJP, which is confident of winning all seven Lok Sabha seats in the capital, is hoping that the allegations against the AAP leaders will help it dislodge the party from Delhi.

The allegations against Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar that he allegedly assaulted Rajya Sabha member Swati Maliwal at the chief minister’s residence has given BJP another chance to attack the AAP. They have cast a shadow on the AAP’s election campaign.

On Thursday Union minister Smriti Irani accused Kejriwal of betraying Maliwal. BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi questioned Kumar’s presence at Kejriwal’s residence, pointing out that he had no role in the party or the government.

A BJP leader said Maliwal’s allegations will be harder to explain. “If there was the slightest chance that the party would gain sympathy for Kejriwal going to jail, the Maliwal’s accusations will ensure there is no public support,” said the leader requesting anonymity.

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