Akali Dal in dilemma- to support BJP or not
Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in
After the stunning defeat in Punjab assembly elections and Sangrur parliamentary elections, hundred years old Shiromani Akali dal is in dilemma, after the BJP President JP Nadda called SAD supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal to support NDA candidate in the upcoming Presidential elections.
Now, the party leaders are in a “catch 22” situation- to support the BJP candidate or not. The parties had remained close allies for more than two decades and had formed governments in Punjab thrice through pre-poll alliance– in 1997, 2007 and 2012. SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal used to term the alliance as undetachable as “flesh and nail”.
As per available information, BJP national president JP Nadda is said to have spoken to SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who, replied that the party will take a call on the matter after consulting the senior leadership.
After this, the party has called an urgent core committee meeting to decide on this.
As per sources, if the party goes with BJP and support their candidate than the people of Punjab may not like this and may not support them in the upcoming municipal corporation elections in the state. The virtual disappearance of the mainstream Akali Dal has already opened up a huge space in the politics of Punjab, which is becoming difficult for the party to revive.
Whether they choose to reform or resort to the trademark post-failure lip service will determine their future. Akali dal has 2 MPs in Lok Sabha and 3 MLAs in Punjab assembly.
But, if they support BJP, they will revive their sour relations and may come on same platform for future projects.
As per sources, the akali dal form a 3-5 member committee of senior leaders to judge the mood of the voters, supporters, residents of Punjab.
“If they gain in Punjab by denying support to BJP, they may go for it to gain political mileage” said a political analysist .
As of now, one thing seems to be sure that BJP will contest 2024 parliamentary elections on their own party symbol and single handedly, without SAD’s (Badal) alliance.
SAD severed ties with the BJP in 2020 after the Narendra Modi-led central government passed the (now repealed) three farm laws, which the Akali Dal had earlier supported. When the resentment against Akali Dal swelled, it decided to cut ties with the BJP and the party’s lone representative in the Union cabinet Harsimrat Kaur Badal also quit. Almost two years have passed but the void between the two parties has only widened as they have started exploring the political space in the state without each other’s support.