Ruling out the possibility of going back to its earlier alliance partners, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Punjab BJP instead prefers a tie-up with former Congress chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh for the forthcoming state assembly polls, says the party’s state chief Ashwani Sharma.
The announcement to repeal the three contentious farm laws by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has opened up interesting political possibilities in the state, with the Punjab BJP hoping to shed its image of a “pariah” party and start courting interest of other political outfits for a poll alliance.
But the state unit chief vehemently denies any possibility of going back to an alliance with the SAD. Speaking to News18.com, Sharma said: “An alliance is an equal partnership but the SAD was contesting on 84 per cent of the seats last time and BJP chose to remain the second fiddle in the alliance because it was thought out in the benefit of Punjab. But we don’t see any possibility of going back to that alliance."
Sharma says the announcement of the repeal of the farm laws will make it possible for the big leaders to move around in a more conducive environment. “At the ground level, it was not difficult for the party workers to move around. The big names and known leaders were facing the heat,’’ said Sharma.
He said that on ground, BJP workers have moved around to work for the people during their difficult times, especially during the pandemic. “The party workers have been conducting programmes at district level and there have been responses as well,’’ said Sharma. He said with the PM’s decision, the BJP would now start working toward holding bigger programmes.
“I have been assigned 117 assembly seats (the strength of Punjab assembly) and that is what I am working towards,’’ said Sharma. He said the BJP was not a party about a family where the family decides, there is a parliamentary board that will take the decision which he said would be taken in the benefit of the party workers and the people of Punjab.
Speaking about the possibility of an alliance with Captain Amarinder Singh, he said: “Captain saab has an appeal in the urban areas and he has expressed his willingness to work on an alliance with the BJP."
Captain too seems to be making overtures towards the BJP, with the former CM penning an article praising PM Modi for repealing the farm laws.
“There was no conditional or phased withdrawal and the PM took a firm decision. The fact that the Prime Minister himself announced this was not missed on people. It was easy for the announcement to be made by someone else or even announce it on the floor of Parliament. Yet, this was done without any political considerations of win or loss. To see the Prime Minister’s decision as a “climbdown” or “weakness” is not true. In a democracy, there is nothing bigger than listening to the will of the people and there is no bigger democrat than a leader who does that," he wrote in the Times of India.
Sharma said it was up to the BJP leadership to think about the strategy and way forward. “At the ground level, it is about strengthening the party base, ensuring proper outreach programmes by the part and be in a position to take advantage of the ongoing power struggle in the ruling Congress,’’ said Sharma.
He said that the Congress is in disarray, power struggle between the two top leaders are out in the open and false promises being doled out by the chief minister was being observed by the people of Punjab.