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Badal-BJP hints breakup before 2017 Punjab assembly election; Both claims capability to content alone

November 6, 2014 | By

Chandigarh/ Punjab: What was being termed as “husband-wife” relationship by Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) patron Parkash Singh Badal seems to be heading towards a “divorce”. The relationship in question is decades long alliance of Badal Dal and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in Punjab.

Since the formation of political alliance with the Badal Dal in Punjab, the Hindutva political outfit was seen in the role of junior partner in the power-alliance in Punjab. But the results of last Lok Sabha elections have turned the equations other-way around. The BJP became more assertive in Punjab after securing power on it’s own in the Center.

SAD (B) decision to contest elections in Haryana in alliance with INDL added more bitterness to it’s relations with the BJP. It was being speculated by political analysts that the BJP may part it’s ways before 2017 state assembly elections in Punjab.

But now the BJP’s newly appointed Punjab affairs in-charge, Ram Shankar Katheria, left little to speculation on Wednesday as he talked of the party contesting the assembly polls due in 2017 on its own, breaking up with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

“The BJP has no problem in running the government in alliance with SAD; but in case the workers and party leaders wish to fight alone, and a favourable scenario develops in the state, we may have to think like that,” Katheria replied to a query on November 05, before ending his two-day visit.

BJP could walk-away anytime: SAD (B) Spokesman

A news reported by Hindustan Times says, a Badal Dal spokesman responded curtly, telling HT that the BJP could “walk away anytime”. “[T]hough chief minister and SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal said in Bathinda that the alliance should remain intact for communal harmony”, HT report added.

When contacted for reaction to the BJP in-charge’s statements, SAD general secretary and spokesman Maheshinder Singh Grewal told HT that the BJP could walk away anytime: “SAD is the mother party of Punjab, and doesn’t need crutches for survival.”

Reiterating that the SAD would not take the initiative to break up, he added, “The SAD supported BJP in national interest… But in case the BJP decides to go it alone, the SAD has no problem. We are equipped to fight alone, as one of the oldest parties in the country.”

He acknowledged that CM Badal wanted to continue the relations with BJP: “But we can’t compromise beyond a point.” He stressed that the SAD had “maintained its identity” in the most difficult of times, and would continue to do that.

Contradiction in statements by BJP leadership:

Katheria’s remarks too seemed contradictory to Sunday’s statement by BJP’s top leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley that the alliance would continue for many years. But, in the context of a below-par show in Punjab in the Lok Sabha polls and then the SAD’s alliance with BJP’s chief opponent Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in Haryana, Katheria was non-committal on retaining the alliance with the SAD.

“We will stick to coalition dharma; but if a Haryana-like situation develops the BJP can contest Punjab assembly polls alone,” he stated.

Having won simple majority in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP recently broke up alliances in Haryana and Maharashtra – winning the former alone for the first time, and emerging as the single largest party in the latter to form the government.

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