Shiromani Akali Dal severs old ties with Indian National Lok Dal

In the past, SAD used to contest all elections in Haryana in alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), led by Chautalas.

punjab Updated: Dec 14, 2017 09:59 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Shiromani Akali Dal,SAD,INLD
There were times when Parkash Singh Badal and INLD founder enjoyed “brotherly” relations, and the INLD was called a sister party of SAD.(HT File)

The old political coalition between the Badals in Punjab and the Chautalas in Haryana has come to an end, with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) deciding to go it alone in all future elections in Haryana, from Lok Sabha to civic bodies.

In the past, SAD used to contest all elections in Haryana in alliance with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), led by Chautalas.

“Things between the INLD and us were not working out well, so we approached our leadership and asked them to strengthen Akali Dal’s cadres in Haryana,” said SAD Haryana president Sharanjeet Singh Sotha, who had a meeting with the top party leadership on Monday.

He said in the coalition with INLD in Haryana, SAD used to get a negligible share of only two assembly constituencies (out of total 90) – Kalianwali and Ambala. SAD candidate won Kalianwali for two consecutive times (2014 and 2009). The assembly elections in the state are due in 2019.

Sotha has been asked to select suitable Akali candidates for the forthcoming Ambala municipal corporation polls.

Notably, the SAD has been supporting the INLD in Haryana despite its alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Punjab and at the national level, thereby drawing flak from the saffron party.

In 2014 assembly polls in Haryana, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and party patron Parkash Singh Badal addressed rallies in support of INLD candidates, which the Haryana unit of BJP described as “backstabbing”.

SYL pushed allies apart

The previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab denotified the Sutlej-Yamnua link (SYL) canal land in 2016 and handed it back to its original owners, to which the INLD had objected and threatened to sever all ties with Akalis.

Talking to HT, INLD Haryana president Ashok Arora said, “Akalis were denying Haryanvis their share of river water by blocking the SYL canal, so we too cannot keep our ties intact with them.”

By maintaining silence on the issue for long, Akalis had been trying to put the onus of breaking ties on the INLD. “If they (INLD) don’t want to have any alliance with us, we can’t do anything in such a situation,” Sukhbir told HT.

“We have decided to expand our party in Haryana and contest all the elections — from civic bodies to parliament — on our own,” he said, adding that he had asked SAD’s Haryana unit to identify 30 assembly seats and three Lok Sabha seats, which the SAD would contest on its symbol.

There were times when Parkash Singh Badal and INLD founder Devi Lal enjoyed “brotherly” relations, and the INLD was called a sister party of SAD.

After Devi Lal’s death in 2001, his son Om Parkash Chautala took over the reins of the party. Chautala later became Haryana CM and maintained warm relations with the Badals.

Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala have been serving s ten-year sentence since 2013 after their conviction in JBT teachers’ recruitment scam. The incarceration of its top two leaders is seen as a reason for the political downfall of the party.

‘Don’t look for support from BJP’

SAD’s Haryana leadership does not look towards the BJP for any political support and would test their political strength in the state on its own.

“Despite BJP being an ally of SAD, the government has not helped the minorities, particularly Sikhs,” said Sahota, ruling out the possibility of an active alliance with the saffron party in Haryana.

SAD to celebrate 97th foundation day today

As an effort to resuscitate SAD workers and party supporters, who are upset with the Akali Dal after a series of incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in 2015, the party has decided to connect to the Panthic constituency, by celebrating its 97th Foundation Day in the Golden Temple complex at Amritsar on Thursday.

The party is holding a congregation at the Manji Sahib hall there to mark the occasion, wherein its entire leadership has been asked to take part.

“In 2020, we will hold our centenary celebrations at the Akal Takht. The decision was taken at a meeting of party’s core committee,” said SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 09:09 IST