CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will remain a permanent partner of the BJP in the
National Democratic Alliance (NDA), as few SAD leaders reportedly raised the issue that all these years the central leadership of BJP had been ignoring the Akali Dal.
As saffron party’s national president Amit Shah today met SAD patron and former CM Parkash Singh Badal his son SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and other top akali dal leaders.
In the wake of its recent by-election defeats and the coming together of opposition parties, thus BJP has started a damage control exercise.
After the meeting SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal called upon NDA allies to contest elections together as he said that akali dal is permanent ally of BJP and NDA.
"The SAD is a permanent ally of the BJP and the NDA. We discussed the strategy for the 2019 parliamentary polls with Shah," he said.
Sukhbir said, "The time has come for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls all NDA allies must
come together to fight the opposition.’’
"The two sides also discussed several other political, economic and religious issues, including the farmers problems. Both sides agreed that with rising costs of agricultural inputs and adverse market conditions for farm produce, agriculture is no longer a remunerative profession. In fact, farmers,
especially in Punjab, are sticking to the profession only because they have no choice,’’ he said.
The SAD and BJP agreed to form a high-level coordination committee comprising senior
leaders from the two sides to ensure close working together of the parties at every level.
Both Parkash Singh Badal his son Sukhbir Singh Badal had a closed door meeting with BJP national President Amit Shah.
"There was one to one close door meeting of Amit Shah and both Badals for thirty five minutes where no one else was present,’’ said a senior leader said.
Sources said that a few senior akali dal leaders raised the issues of the state and Sikhs with Amit Shah including SYL and how the BJP central leadership has been ignoring the Akali Dal all these years.
Besides that the all-important farmers issue was discussed, as akali dal raised the issue of wooing farmers. It is learnt that Shah told the akali dal leaders that the farmers insurance scheme and the Rs 5 lakh medical insurance of poor which central government has floated these schemes which are implemented by other states have not been taken up by the present Congress Government in Punjab and the SAD should come up with some strategy.
SAD had rolled out a red carpet for Shah. But at the same time just before the meeting started. Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha and senior Akali Dal leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder expressed
resentment that in the past four years the BJP had ignored several Punjab and Sikh issues, "All of a sudden the BJP now thinks of meeting us. We will raise all these issues with Shah including the SYL, traders, industry, unemployment and farmers issue including Swaminathan Commission report,’’ he said.
It was great meeting "The Flying Sikh" Sardar Milkha Singh ji and his wife Smt Nirmal Milkha Singh ji as part of "Sampark for Samarthan" initiative at their home in Chandigarh. Discussed with them the developmental initiatives of PM Narendra Modi's govt in the last 4 years. pic.twitter.com/6YN7RZoUam— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 7, 2018
Another Rajya Sabha MP and Secretary General of SAD, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said they were among the oldest allies of the BJP and issues of the state had been ignored and they would raise these issues.
"We thanked the BJP-led NDA Government for its magnanimous gesture of exempting all purchases for Langar from GST and also thanked the Union Government for allocating Rs 800 crore out for sugar cane growers in Punjab out of a total of Rs 8000 crore for the entire country. This will be a big relief for the Punjab farmers growing sugar cane,’’ said Sukhbir.
The akali dal leaders will be meeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow and will also thank him for GST exemption on Langar.
After the meeting Shah tweeted, "It is always a delight to meet Badal Sahab. Met Shri Parkash Singh Badal ji and Sukhbir at his home in Chandigarh.”