The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on May 22 dismissed speculations about the possibility of an alliance with its former partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Accusing the BJP-led Central government of taking several anti-Sikh decisions, SAD spokesperson and leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal said, “...the SAD is allied with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Punjab. The alliance is doing well. There is no proposal to have a truck with any other party, including the BJP. The SAD has never talked about any future alliance with the BJP and the latter should stop speculating on this issue on an everyday basis.”
Mr. Grewal said the SAD had broken its alliance with the saffron party, the BJP, on a matter of principle when the former, he said, “... betrayed the ‘annadaata’ (farmers) by forcing through the three black laws on agriculture in Parliament without any discussion with its alliance partner or the stakeholders”.
“Subsequently, the BJP has taken one decision after another to the detriment of both Punjab and the Sikh community which has resulted in a sense of disquiet amongst Punjabis. The key among these included the breaking of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) by creating a separate Gurdwara Committee for Haryana, besides interfering in the SGPC elections,” he said.
Mr. Grewal added that besides this, the BJP-led Central government had undermined the federal structure by increasing the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km from the international border in Punjab, besides ignoring Punjab’s rights in the appointment of members of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), including Punjabi as a minor subject in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), he said.
The SAD and the BJP were alliance partners since the late 1990s. However, amid the controversy over the Centre’s agriculture sector laws, the SAD — one of the BJP’s oldest alliance partners — decided to break away from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition in 2020.