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‘SAD-BJP will form Punjab govt next year!’ Sukhbir bluffs on back of Modi’s push for parallel elections

The SAD-BJP alliance lost power to Congress last year after two consecutive terms of lasting a decade.

punjab Updated: Feb 10, 2018 10:21 IST
Prabhjit Singh
Prabhjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Bathinda
SAD-BJP,Punjab govt,Narendra Modi
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal addressing a rally at Bhai Rupa village near Bathinda on Friday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

“We are forming the government in Punjab again next year as states will have elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections,” Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal said at a rally in Bhai Rupa village near here on Friday. The former deputy chief minister said this is “in line with the move of our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi”; but he ignored the fact that the move has no legal standing yet.

The SAD-BJP alliance lost power to Congress last year after two consecutive terms of lasting a decade.

While Sukhbir’s assertions came in the absence of even a draft legislation or a formal move by a constitutional authority such as the Election Commission of India, his keenness for simultaneous elections stands also in contrast to his party’s ideological standing for federalism. Several analysts and regional parties see the BJP’s proposal as being against the country’s federal structure and against the interests of regional outfits.

As of now, the parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievance and law has sought opinion of the public, including political parties, on the proposal. Experts says a number of constitutional amendments would be needed.

Meanwhile, in his speech at the SAD’s ‘pol khol’ (‘revelation’) rally, Sukhbir further said the Congress regime led by Capt Amarinder Singh has “already lost popularity, within a year of its formation”. It was at this point that he made the claim of simultaneous elections. He also claimed that the state government is not short of funds.

‘Goonda tax’: Takes dig at MLA , cousin

He termed Congress MLA (Rampura Phul) Gurpreet Singh Kangar and another party leader Kikki Dhillon as goons, accusing them of collecting ‘goonda tax’ from construction contractors of the Bathinda oil refinery.

He also took a dig at his estranged cousin and state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, with a suggestion to the chief minister: “Oust Manpreet Badal for sustaining your government! We had ousted him from the party and ruled smoothly for 10 years.”

First Published: Feb 10, 2018 10:20 IST