Chandigarh, India, 19 October 2014. After breaking ties with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and Haryana Janhit Congress in Haryana, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Punjab have begun to flex their muscles making their old coalition partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) led by Parkash Badal, nervous.
Huge success received by the saffron party has encouraged its leaders furthermore to go alone in Punjab. This development haunts SAD top brass.
Although SAD leaders claim all is well with its partner and they are sure the SAD-BJP alliance will continue to rule over the state, they admit that they will have to prepare for any possible occurrence.
They hope the BJP will not break the coalition at this moment despite pressure of its state leaders since the SAD helped BJP in making its image secular at the national level.
These days, BJP is talking tough on issues of governance and demanding an equal say in running the government in the state.
Such developments worry SAD, and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Badal is upset over the way his government is being snubbed by the Modi-led government at the Centre as if it were dealing with an opposition-ruled state although the BJP is a partner in the state government.
Leaders of SAD apprehend that the BJP would contest Punjab assembly general elections due in 2017 alone. However, Badal’s son and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal does not like to be pressurized by the junior alliance partner. He is confident to win the elections on his own if need arises.
Systematic efforts being made by the SAD to bring Congress MLAs into its fold, make them resign and win the by-elections can be seen in this context.
These are to ensure its government has no problem if the BJP suddenly snaps the ties. The SAD has 57 legislatures, two short of a majority in the 117-member Assembly. Whereas the BJP has 12 MLAs in the House.
The traditional section of the SAD is suggesting to return to the Panthik agenda to retain its vote bank in the rural areas to combat the BJP’s quiet attempts for a reverse polarisation to consolidate the non-Sikh votes.
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