Punjab BJP chief says disappointed over SAD's departure from NDA, 'reasons for leaving very surprising'

In addition to the SAD's opposition to the Centre's farm bills, the party was also unhappy over Punjabi being left out of the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020

Press Trust of India September 27, 2020 21:03:49 IST
Punjab BJP chief says disappointed over SAD's departure from NDA, 'reasons for leaving very surprising'

Chandigarh: Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma said on Sunday the reasons given by the Shiromani Akali Dal for snapping ties with the NDA were "very surprising", but also mentioned that he "felt sad" over their decision.

The SAD on Saturday night announced to quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the farm bills issue. The party's chief had also expressed anguish over the non-inclusion of Punjabi in the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020.

In the wake of this development, the Punjab unit of the BJP held a meeting of its core group core on Sunday.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Sharma said, "The BJP has always given respect to every party associated with the NDA. But the SAD is a political party and they chose another line. Surely I felt sad as they were the oldest ally."

"But the two reasons they (Akalis) gave (for snapping ties) were very surprising," he said.

"On the issue of farm bills, the Akalis alleged that the BJP was not pro-farmer. But, ever since Narendra Modi became prime minister, several decisions have been taken by the farming community," Sharma said.

He cited the support of Rs 6,000 given to farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sammann Nidhi scheme, supplying neem-coated urea, Kisan Bima and Fasal Bima schemes among others.

Strongly defending the three farm bills, Sharma said the prime minister had assured the minimum support price system and government purchase would continue.

The Punjab BJP chief said the Akali Dal also raised the issue of non-inclusion of Punjabi language in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Under a new clause 4, which has been inserted in the new law (Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020), a provision has been made to promote the Punjabi language in Jammu and Kashmir," Sharma claimed.

He said the BJP is accountable to Punjab, Punjabiyat and the people of Punjab. "Therefore, the reasons they (Akalis) gave (for leaving alliance) are not sufficient," he said.

Sharma also accused the Congress and the AAP of trying to mislead the farmers.

Taking on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the state BJP chief accused him of using the shoulder of farmers in a bid to hide his government's failures and rampant corruption and existence of liquor and mining mafias.

He lashed out at the Congress, alleging that it ruled the country for 60 years and gave false hopes to the poor and the farmers and never took any decision to raise their standard of living.

Reacting to the SAD's decision of breaking ties, BJP's senior leader Manoranjan Kalia said it was unfortunate that they broke a long association.

He said there was a generational change in the Akali Dal as several senior leaders like Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Sewa Singh Sekhawan, who used to work with Akali stalwart Parkash Singh Badal, have left the SAD.

"Now, the second generation has taken over and some leaders are more reactive now," said Kalia. Another BJP leader Master Mohan Lal described the Akalis' move of pulling out of the NDA as a "decision taken in haste". He said the Akalis should have held a meeting with BJP's core group.

"I do not understand what were Akalis' compulsions and why they took this decision," he said.

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