BJP needs to build its cadre in the state’s rural areas where it is facing strong opposition from farmers. It has been largely an urban centric party in Punjab, with limited influence in 7-8 districts, and no prominent Sikh face since the exit of Navjot Singh Sidhu.
With about ten percent vote share in 2019 and just two MLAs and two MPs from Punjab, BJP is now looking at smaller parties such as the splinter SAD group led by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa ahead of the 2022 elections, said party insiders. But Dhindsa said he would not want to look at BJP, but at other regional parties, and his priority was “resolving grievances of the farmers”.
BJP Punjab president Ashwani Sharma said SAD was wrong in saying that BJP was anti-farmer and farmers should not be misled as procurement on MSP had already begun in Punjab on Saturday.
BJP’s newly appointed national general secretary from Punjab Tarun Chugh told ET that the party will go to every farmer to convince them of the “Kisan Vikas Modi Mantra”. He said BJP had maximum farmers as MPs and MLAs in the country. “BJP suffered electorally in Punjab due to the anti-incumbency faced by SAD in 2017 and 2019 polls,” said Chugh.
The bitterness between the oldest allies is a far cry from the time when Prakash Singh Badal had travelled to Varanasi last year for being present when Prime Minister Narendra Modi filed his nomination
Senior BJP leaders in Delhi told ET the party’s approach was dictated by its priority to push farm bills, BJPs relative unease to work with Sukhbir Badal instead of the senior Badal and a feeling that SAD's unpopularity has been hurting the the saffron party’ urban vote in Punjab since the last elections. BJP had earlier refused to accommodate SAD during the Haryana and Delhi elections. “Harsimrat Badal did not give any written dissent to the ordinances or the bills during cabinet meetings. Sukhbir Badal first wanted a letter from the Centre ensuring Minimum Support Price (MSP) will be provided. The letter was given. Then he wanted this to be said from the floor of the House. That was also done,” said a BJP leader.
However, BJP was clear that MSP could not be made part of the bills – a point on which Badals ultimately walked out of the cabinet and then the alliance. “Given their public posture taken in Parliament, it was decided not to indulge the Badals further and the resignation of Harsimrat was promptly accepted the same evening,” said a senior party functionary. Sukhbir's recent words that the resignation had “shaken up Modi” have also not gone down well with BJP. A BJP leader said the senior Badal would never use such language. Congress state president Sunil Jakhar said the PM had neither met the Badals after the resignation nor called up Prakash Singh Badal. “They were shown the way out and deserved this only,” said Jakhar.
Detached from BJP, Akali Dal is banking on its Panthic agenda in Punjab. Sukhbir Badal has announced marches will be held from the three big Sikh shrines in Punjab to Chandigarh on October 1. “I will lead the march from Akal Takht in Amritsar, Harsimrat Badal will lead one from Anandpur Sahib, and other SAD leaders will lead it from Talwandi Sabo. I urge all SAD cadre to bring out their tractors on roads and drive to Chandigarh,” said Badal.
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5 Comments on this Story
Santosh Asija60 days ago
Now BJP can never make govt in Punjab ð ªð ªð ª#Farmer #
Soumyadarshan Biswas60 days ago
It's correct that BJP was finding SAD to be a baggage on it's shoulders because of SAD leadership's ill reputation & unpopularity. Probably this farmer issue provided a convenient opportunity to BJP to unload it's burden.
Subbu India60 days ago
Too much confidence in any Party is not good for that Party.