Party leadership to take up the issue with Chief Minister Badal

BJP-Akali Govt’s performance in recent polls to Municipal Corporations was ‘satisfactory’

Charges that BJP rebels after winning in civic polls had started joining SAD refuted

CHANDIGARH: The BJP, an ally of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, on Thursday said its demand for the post of Deputy Chief Minister had not been put on the backburner.

First meeting

“The BJP’s demand for the Deputy CM’s post still persists,” the BJP leader in charge of political affairs in Punjab and Chandigarh, Kiran Ghai, told reporters here after holding her first meeting with party activists and office-bearers here.

“I will take up the issue (appointment of a Deputy CM from the BJP) with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,” she said, adding that “the demand of the party is still alive.”

Logical end

“The issue will be taken further to its logical end by BJP,” she said.

Ms. Ghai, who was flanked by Punjab BJP chief Rajender Bhandari and Cabinet Minister Manoranjan Kalia, claimed that the BJP- Akali government’s performance in the recent elections to four Municipal Corporations in the State was “satisfactory”.

No prestigious issue

“The issue of Deputy CM is still alive but it is not a prestigious issue for the party,” said Mr. Bhandari.

Seeking to play down the issue of BJP’s not-up-to-the expectation performance in civic polls, Ms. Ghai said “the party faired well in the polls but still there were certain shortcomings.”

Issues different

When pointed out that BJP’s performance in the Municipal Corporation polls when compared to Assembly elections earlier this year was dismal, she said “the issues raked up during the Assembly polls are different from those in civic elections.”

She refuted the charge that BJP rebels after winning as independents in the civic polls had started joining SAD. “It is in the knowledge of the party Central leadership,” she said.

Ms. Ghai refused to comment on the role played by SAD workers in areas where BJP had fielded its candidates in the civic polls. -- PTI