BJP uncertain of SAD support in Chandigarh

Published on Apr 21, 2004 08:06 PM IST

With SAD's Haryana ally INLD also in fray, BJP is keeping its fingers crossed on whether Badal would support it in Chandigarh.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Chandigarh

With the Indian National Lok Dal deciding to field a candidate from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP is keeping its fingers crossed on the issue of support to its nominee from NDA partner Shiromani Akali Dal, which is an ally of the INLD in Haryana.

SAD chief Prakash Singh Badal is facing a catch-22 situation, caught between friendship with INLD chief O P Chautala and "coalition dharma."

Former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan is contesting on INLD ticket while two-time MP from Chandigarh Satya Pal Jain has been fielded by the BJP.

The saffron party however feels SAD will take a decision in its favour "keeping the interests" of alliance between the two in Punjab and at the centre.

"SAD is our ally and we are confident that Badal will announce his party's support for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. The Akalis know it well that it is for the interests of both the partners to work together," senior Punjab BJP leader and former minister Balramji Dass Tandon said.

He said that the common goal of the allies was to keep Congress from coming to power.

"We hope SAD will not take any such step that strengthens or gives a boost to the Congress. In the past, the Akali governments in Punjab were never able to complete their full tenure when Congress was in power at the Centre. For the first time, SAD-BJP government headed by Badal completed its full term (97-2002) because BJP led coalition was in power at the Centre," he said.

Jain has accused Chautala of putting "undue pressure" on Badal in the "garb of friendship."

Another senior Punjab BJP leader and former minister Madan Mohan Mittal also believes that it may be a matter of few days before Badal formally makes announcement on the support issue.

"As far as I know his nature, he will go with us," he said.

BJP sources in Chandigarh said that even Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani had talked to Badal and another senior SAD leader and Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa in this regard.

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