JP Nadda meets SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal amid strained ties over CAA, BJP president makes pitch to strengthen Punjab NDA alliance

  • The visit to Badal's native village came days after the former Punjab chief minister said minorities "should be taken along" to run a government

  • The closed-door meeting, which lasted about an hour, assumes significance following the brief strain between the BJP and SAD that had announced it would not contest the Delhi Assembly election following differences on the CAA

Chandigarh/Amritsar/New Delhi: BJP president JP Nadda on Thursday called on Akali Dal patriarch Parkash Singh Badal at his home in Punjab's Badal village and deliberated on strengthening the NDA in the state, sources in the parties said.

The visit to Badal's native village came days after the former Punjab chief minister said minorities "should be taken along" to run a government.

The closed-door meeting, which lasted about an hour, assumes significance following the brief strain between the BJP and its oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that had announced it would not contest the Delhi Assembly election following differences with the saffron party on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

It later backed BJP candidates in the Assembly elections.

Coming out of the meeting, Nadda told reporters he had gone to the village to meet the veteran leader to extend a personal invitation for his son's wedding.

"We have good relations with the Badals," Nadda said.

The BJP president said on Twitter that he had paid a courtesy visit to “Parkash Singh Badal Sahab”, one of India's most "respected statesmen". "Meeting with Badal Sahab always inspires us," he said.

Nadda was accompanied by BJP vice president Prabhat Jha, also the party's in-charge for Punjab.

Nadda got a grand welcome with flowers and the traditional bhangra when he reached Badal village.

Addressing a rally in Amritsar on 13 February, Badal said all religions should be respected.

The SAD wanted Muslims to be included in the CAA, a legislation which seeks to give citizenship to members of persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but leaves out the community.

This was Nadda's first visit to Punjab after becoming BJP president and also his first meeting with Badal senior.

From Badal village, Nadda went to Amritsar and paid obeisance at the Golden Temple in the evening.

Asked about the relations between the BJP and the SAD, he said, "BJP and SAD have old, important and strong alliance, we remained together in good and odd circumstances....Further strengthening and making stronger the NDA, we both are committed for this cause."

"A few days ago, I had a meeting with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal...Alliance is very much strong and will remain intact in future too," he said.

Later, he had a closed-door meeting with Punjab BJP leaders at a hotel.

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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2020 23:49:22 IST


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