‘Solidly’ behind BJP, says Badal

PHAGWARA, Pb, June 16:  On a day when JD(U) severed its ties with NDA, the BJP-led coalition’s key partner Shiromani Akali Dal’s patron Parkash Singh Badal today said his party was “solidly” behind the BJP, and does not believe in “interfering” in their internal matters.

The five-time Punjab Chief Minister asserted,”Akalis were with BJP solidly and will continue to be so”.

Badal claimed that all will shake hands with BJP after the General Elections.

“Though every party, including JD(U), has its own interest uppermost in its mind, yet all will shake hands with BJP after the general elections,” he told reporters at Khatti here.

“The real combinations will emerge after Lok Sabha polls,” the 85-year-old Aakali veteran said.

His reply came when reporters asked to comment on the rift between JD(U) and BJP, besides its implications on the prospects of NDA, just before JD(U) took the step.

The veteran Akali politician said that BJP will emerge as a single largest party after next General Elections as voters will reject the Congress party.

“Voters of the country will prefer throwing their votes in ‘khuh’ (well) rather than voting for the most discredited Congress party,” he claimed.

He also did not see much possibility of emergence of a Third Front.

On being asked if he had approached the JD(U) or other BJP allies in the wake of recent developments within the NDA, he said, “Although I want that all the NDA partners should go along cordially, but I haven’t approached any ally…”

When asked that clouds of disintegration of NDA had started looming large after BJP anointed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as party’s election campaign chief, Badal said “SAD was with BJP solidly and will continue to be so”.

He said that neither the BJP nor the SAD has ever interfered in each other’s internal matters, which has further cemented the alliance between the both the parties.

“BJP can make anyone its poll campaign in-charge or project anyone as its prime ministerial candidate. We won’t interfere in their internal matters as they (BJP) have never interfered in our internal matters,” he said.

To another query, Badal said, “I have neither met (Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar nor plan do do so in the wake of his objections to Modi’s elevation. We are with BJP and won’t indulge in any ‘panga’ (trouble) by interfering (in BJP’s internal matters) in this regard.”

To a question about Sikh martyrs memorials for the victims of terrorism, Badal asked media to have mercy on Punjab and its hard-earned peace which he pleaded “should not be disturbed with such questions”.

“Akalis and BJP have also lost their leaders during dark days (of terrorism in Punjab). Moreover, the martyr memorial (at Amritsar) was constructed by SGPC, not by me,” said Badal.

“It made no difference if political parties were brought under the ambit of RTI,” Badal said when asked about the issue.

Replying to another query regarding the next month’s panchayat polls in Punjab, the Chief Minister said the state government was committed to ensure free and fair polls in the state for strengthening democracy at the grass-root level. (PTI)


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