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SAD-BJP combine facing trouble in Chandigarh

SAD unit blames BJP for taking their support for granted and misleading voters, but the saffron party feels it has done nothing to put the alliance in jeopardy.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON APR 12, 2004 01:22 PM IST

With the Lok Sabha elections for the Chandigarh seat less than a month away, allies Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP are finding it difficult to pull along here with both playing the blame game.

While city's SAD unit blames the BJP for taking their support for granted and misleading the voters, the saffron party feels it has done nothing wrong to put the alliance in jeopardy.

"We believe our alliance with SAD is not for Punjab alone, but both allies are committed to support each other in other parts too," says city BJP president Yash Pal Mahajan.

SAD city unit chief Gurpartap Singh Riar, while refusing to buy this logic, said "We don't have any problem to support them, provided clear instructions come from our party high command. So far, SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal has not said that alliance is on for Chandigarh".

Riar said they were never consulted when Satya Pal Jain's candidature for this seat was announced.

"SAD's (national general secretary) Kanwaljit Singh had earlier told us that BJP had decided to consult and take us in to confidence on major decisions that has a bearing on the alliance. But, we have been sidelined and to rub the salt in our wounds they are trying to show us they have a direct rapport with our senior party leaders and that can sidetrack the SAD's city unit," he said.

The problem for the BJP has also been complicated with its erstwhile ally INLD deciding to seek Badal's support for former Union minister Harmohan Dhawan, who will contest from here on INLD ticket.

Haryana Chief Minister and INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala, who has family relations with Badal, has decided to approach the Akali stalwart to campaign for Dhawan.

The BJP, on the other hand, will be putting pressure on Badal not to seek votes for INLD candidate.

Thus, Badal may find himself stuck between honouring his friend's wish and trying to overcome his own political compulsions.

The BJP has been claiming that two-time MP Jain will win with a record margin this time and to make it a reality they will quickly need to iron out the differences with its ally.

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