Punjab: "Principles more important than forming govt," Sukhbir Singh Badal tells BJP

The Shiromani Akali Dal chief spoke up after an announcement that the BJP would go it alone in the state

Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal says "principles more important than the number game" (photo: PTI)
Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal says "principles more important than the number game" (photo: PTI)


After the BJP decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls in Punjab on its own, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday, 26 March, said that for his party, principles are more important "than the number game". He also slammed the national parties for "playing politics" over votes.

The BJP today announced that it would contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on its own in Punjab, indicating an end to the negotiations for re-stitching an alliance with the SAD.

Reacting to the BJP statement, Badal said, "The SAD is not an ordinary political party. It is a party of principles. For us, principles are more important than the number game."

He said that the 103-year-old SAD's responsibility was to protect its qaum (community), Punjab, and to maintain brotherhood and peace in the state.

"The Akali Dal was not formed to just form the government," he said.

He accused the Delhi-based national political parties of playing politics over votes. "We are not (playing) politics over votes. For us it is Punjab (that matters)," he added.

He also pointed to decisions taken by his party's core committee a few days ago that highlight its principles. "Our core committee has made it clear what our principles are," he said.

Later, in a statement, Badal said, 'Shiromani Akali Dal is not just a political party driven by number games, unlike some national parties. We are a 103-year-old movement with a clear vision and we have always stood by and for principles. That will continue to be our goal.'

'For us, it is principles above politics and issues above any political number', he added. 'We are the largest democratic representative organisation of farmers and have always led the fight for their rights from the front and introduced historic measures in governments for their welfare," said Badal.

The SAD stands by high principles and is committed to safeguarding the Panth and Punjab, he said.

Earlier, Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar said the BJP is going to contest the Lok Sabha elections alone in the state.

This decision was taken based on the feedback of people, party workers and leaders, he claimed. "The decision has been taken for the future of Punjab and the betterment of the youth, farmers, traders, labourers and the downtrodden," he further said.

The development comes almost a week after senior BJP leader and union home minister Amit Shah, when asked about the possibility of a tie-up with the SAD, had said, "Negotiations are on. We want all NDA parties to come together."

Even just last month, Shah had said that talks were going on when he was asked about the alliance with the SAD.

Amid the buzz over re-stitching the alliance, an indication towards going solo in the Lok Sabha polls was given by the SAD too on 22 March after its core committee meeting.

In the resolution passed by the party's core committee, which is its highest decision-making body, the SAD had said that it would "continue to put principles above politics".

The resolution had urged the Government of India to honour its "categorical written commitment" for the release of 'bandi Singhs' (Sikh prisoners) who had completed their terms. (The Akali Dal has long been demanding the release of Sikh prisoners.)

The resolution had further said the SAD would continue to champion the cause of the farmers and farm labourers and said that all promises made to them must be fulfilled.

Sikhs and farmers are the core constituencies of the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab.

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