BJP reaches out to SAD, seeks support for NDA presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu
BJP national chairman JP Nadda on Thursday – some 21 months after the two parties called off an alliance between them – called Shiromani Akali Dal chairman Sukhbir Badal and asked for the NDA candidate’s support for the upcoming presidential elections, Draupadi Murmu.
On Thursday, Harcharan Bains, Sukhbir Badal’s top adviser, posted a tweet in which he said, “Yes, I got a call from BJP National Chairman JP Nadda about this. Badal said he would return after discussing with SAD leaders, as he was not allowed to make such decisions on his own.
Bains said on the call, Nadda said Murmu symbolized and represented the oppressed minority segments of the country, a cause SAD has always championed. “However, only senior party leaders are allowed to make a final appeal on the decision,” he said. Bains said the party will hold a meeting on Friday afternoon where it will decide who it will support in the presidential elections.
While Sukhbir Singh Badal is MP for Ferozepur, his wife, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, is the elected MP for Bathinda constituency.
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The Akali Dal and the BJP had been in an alliance in Punjab for 27 years, with the cartel elected to lead three governments in the state during the period. However, on September 27, 2020, this alliance was canceled by the SAD, over three controversial agricultural laws passed by both houses of Parliament. Although initially in favor of the Farm Bills, the SAD later reversed course with the resignation of Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal as Union Food Processing Minister. The later called party then killed off its alliance with the BJP, with Akali boss Parkash Singh Badal even returning his Padme Shri in December 2020 as farmers began their protests at Delhi’s borders.
“After the failure of the alliance, we have no communication with them. This is the first time the BJP has contacted us for a very long time. Both sides were mature enough, they just didn’t agree on the issue of the three controversial farm bills,” a SAD leader said on condition of anonymity. Both sides, however, have repeatedly stated that there is no chance of them coming together to form an alliance again.
Sources at SAD said the party would not vote for opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha because he spoke out in favor of the Sikh genocide. They said there was a definite soft corner in the party for the NDA candidate for the presidential poll, but a decision regarding the same would be taken by the party leadership.