Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the two-day BJP National Convention | PTI
File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the two-day BJP National Convention | PTI
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SAD leaders insist RSS must stop meddling in Sikh affairs, and BJP’s attitude towards allies must improve. Ruling party downplays the boycott.

New Delhi: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Thursday boycotted a meeting of the NDA, accusing the RSS of meddling in the religious matters of Sikhs and the BJP of not treating its allies properly.

This signalled the continuing winter of discontent in the ruling alliance at the Centre, with the BJP already facing heat from the Shiv Sena and other allies. Since the party came to power at the Centre in 2014, it has lost 16 allies, including Andhra Pradesh’s TDP and Bihar’s RLSP.

The meeting was convened on the first day of the final session of Parliament in the tenure of the 16th Lok Sabha, and was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was attended by union ministers Rajnath Singh and Narendra Singh Tomar and party president Amit Shah on behalf of the BJP, while the allies were represented by the Republican Party of India (Athawale)’s Ramdas Athawale, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel and the Lok Janshakti Party’s Ram Chandra Paswan.


Also read: Why Akalis & AAP are reigniting 1984 anti-Sikh riots issue in Punjab


BJP downplays boycott, but Akalis raise their voice

Asked about the Akalis’ reported boycott, Narendra Singh Tomar, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said SAD MP Prem Singh Chandumajra had come for the meeting, but left after citing some “urgent business”.

Some BJP leaders brushed off the boycott as a “minor incident” prompted by the need to negotiate for seats ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, and said they were sure the SAD wouldn’t leave the NDA fold.

But Akali MP Naresh Gujral confirmed that the SAD, one of the BJP’s oldest allies, was indeed boycotting the meeting.

Confirming that his party his “angry”, Gujral said: “The RSS is interfering in our gurudwara elections and other religious affairs. This is unacceptable.”

Among other reasons, Gujral said the SAD has been raising farmers’ issues for years, but these had been neglected by the BJP.

“We have been crying hoarse for years over the issues related to farmers, but there has been no response to that by the government. We are upset,” he said.

Another senior SAD leader, on the condition of anonymity, said the BJP’s treatment of its allies was a matter of concern, and that the party has raised the issue with its ally.

One more reason cited by leaders who wished to remain anonymous was “motormouth” BJP leaders.

“They say objectionable things about minorities and make them feel unsafe. We too are a minority and they should realise this,” said another leader.


Also read: Sukhbir Badal’s offer to resign does nothing to heal the rift in Shiromani Akali Dal


Winter of discontent

This is not the first time the BJP is having trouble with its allies this winter. Bihar ally Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP left the fold on 10 December, citing mistreatment, as a ‘respectable’ number of seats were not offered to him.

At present, all its Northeastern allies are upset because of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha last month.

In between, Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP too made a few noises over seat distribution in Bihar, while the Shiv Sena has long maintained that it will quit the alliance and contest on its own, but has remained part of the governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra.

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3 Comments Share Your Views

3 COMMENTS

  1. India’s size is no longer a constraint to governance. We have far better physical and electronic communications than the British did, when they ran the entire subcontinent from Raisina Hill, with steam engines and the telegraph. However, our diversity is something that remains undimmed after seventy years of nation building. A unitary Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan view does not travel well beyond a handful of heartland states. The party and its parent need to be more mindful and deferential to variations that can turn violent and vicious if they are disregarded or sought to be suppressed. 2. The Citizenship Bill is a particularly thoughtless intervention in one of the most complex identity related parts of India, undoing patient politics over a long time to bring it into the fold. The South has risen like a Wall. Barring Karnataka, it will be impervious to seduction. The East too is unimpressed. Great wisdom in listening to the allies, heeding their concerns. That would be true even if the party repeats Mission 272 in May. A less intrusive role for ideology in the Vajpayee years delivered superior outcomes.

    • Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala(Punjab)

      MR.ASHOK,
      Complacency, Arrogance,Ego and Megalomania are playing the devil in NaMo’s case !

      These will certainly prove to be a vital cause of his Political-Poll HAMARTIA !

      He is far far away from TRUTH, FACTS , STARK REALITIES of Indian Life !

      No one can dare to ask him for course correction because blind following is the order
      of the day ! Who cares and bothers for the nation?

      NDA allies must rise to the occasion in the best interests of the nation otherwise nation
      is on the brink of disaster and chaos !
      National Spirit-Feelings must reign supreme now !
      That should be everyone’s watchword !

      Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
      Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  2. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala(Punjab)

    If Shiromani Akali Dal is really serious instead of this drama of boycott, it should take the daring step of moving out of NDA following suit of other NDA 16 allies like TDP, AGP,RLSP and many others ! Earlier it is done, it will be better !
    Otherwise, it should be ready to face the music when it will be too late !

    Prof PK Sharma.Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala(Punjab)

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