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All NDA allies should stand together: Akali Dal

Friday, June 08, 2018

Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said his party remained a permanent ally of the BJP and urged other alliance partners also to stand together ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. "The SAD is a permanent ally of the BJP and the NDA," he told reporters after BJP president Amit Shah's meeting here with top Akali Dal leaders, including Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal. There is no conflict between his party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Akali Dal chief said.

He said SAD members discussed strategy for the upcoming 2019 parliamentary polls with Shah at the meeting, which was part of the BJP's ‘sampark for samarthan' (contact for support) exercise. Sukhbir Badal said his party wanted to appeal to all NDA allies to come together for the Lok Sabha polls. "The battle is just over six months away. Whatever differences may be there, we should forget those and make one plan,” he said.

As part of the same outreach programme, Shah was in Mumbai yesterday to talk to the Shiv Sena, an increasingly reluctant partner in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. The SAD is a key partner in the alliance and the two parties shared power in Punjab before the Congress won the February 2017 assembly elections. On seat-sharing between the two parties next year, Badal said, "We will form an internal committee which will discuss that." BJP leader Tarun Chugh said, "Both parties are old and permanent allies. Badal senior is our idol and under his leadership we are moving ahead in Punjab. The meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere."

Chugh said members of both parties appreciated the development undertaken during the four years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. Another senior BJP leader Avinash Rai Khanna said, “The meeting ended with determination that we have to win the 2019 Lok Sabha polls."  Khanna said there are no differences between the two allies and both are working strongly together. However, ahead of the meeting, senior SAD leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder said the Modi government had "ignored” the issues of Punjab in the last four years. Shah tweeted after the meeting, "It is always a delight to meet Badal Sahab. Met Shri Parkash Singh Badal ji and Sukhbir at his home in Chandigarh." Later, Shah held a meeting with the Punjab BJP unit to discuss election strategy for 2019.

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