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Akali Dal, one of BJP's oldest allies, shuns NDA

Without taking any questions from the media, Sukhbir Badal said Akali Dal's alliance with the BJP ended

Saturday September 26, 2020 11:43 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Akali Dal BJP

[SAD Founder Prakash Singh Badal and PM Modi in a file photo.]

Chandigarh: Ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one of the oldest allies of the BJP, quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Saturday after differences over the three 'controversial' farm sector Bills passed by the Parliament.

The decision to sever ties with the NDA was announced here by party President and MP Sukhbir Badal after the party's core committee meeting late on Saturday night.

Without taking any questions from the media, Sukhbir Badal said Akali Dal's alliance with the BJP ended, taking the interest of the farmers into consideration.

Sukhbir Singh Badal had earlier said the Akalis - who initially supported the bills - are reviewing ties with ruling party.

Badal had also requested President Ram Nath Kovind to "please stand by farmers" and not sign off on the laws.

Badal's wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal had earlier resigned as Union Minister, hours ahead of the voting in the lower House on the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 as well as the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 on September 17, 2020.

"Political Compulsion"

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday termed the Shiromani Akali Dal's (SAD) decision to quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as nothing more than a desperate case of political compulsion for the Badals, who were effectively left with no other option after the BJP's public criticism of SAD over the farm Bills.

Referring to his earlier statement, in which he had pointed out that the NDA would throw the Akalis out if the latter did not leave gracefully, Amarinder Singh said there was no moral high ground involved in SAD's decision.

"The Akalis had no choice before them since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had already made it clear that it held SAD responsible for failing to convince the farmers about the goodness of the farm Bills.

"The SAD decision to quit the NDA was just the culmination of their saga of lies and deception, which eventually led to them being cornered on the issue of the Bills," said the Chief Minister, adding that Sukhbir Singh Badal was virtually caught between the devil and the deep sea after his initial unprincipled stand on the farm ordinances, followed by the sudden U-turn in the face of farmers' protests.

The Chief Minister said that with the BJP-led ruling coalition at the Centre exposing SAD's web of lies, fabrications and double-speak, the Akalis could not have done anything but the NDA.

But far from helping them save face, which they probably hoped to do, the Akalis will now find themselves in a bigger political mess, having been left with no place either in Punjab or at the Centre, he added.

Amarinder Singh said if Sukhbir Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and other SAD leaders had any shame left, they should admit to their deceitful actions as part of the Union government and should beg the farmers for forgiveness.

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