Chandigarh, Sep 1: The Haryana unit of BJP has asked its central leadership to keep Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal away from campaigning for the Indian National Lok Dal for the upcoming state assembly polls. Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD, which is the State’s main Opposition party, has declared 86-year-old Badal as the star campaigner for the upcoming polls, which are due in October.
“We have told our central leadership to resolve the issue. We want that Badal should be stopped from campaigning for the INLD and he should not come (to Haryana to seek votes for INLD),” Haryana BJP’s legislature party leader and Ambala MLA, Anil Vij told PTI over phone today.
He said that “we have put our point before our central leaders and now it is up to them to resolve the matter”. He did not make further comments on why Badal should not campaign for the INLD, though he added that the SAD, which is a key ally of the BJP, has in the past also taken plea that they have an alliance with the Chautala-led party in Haryana. The Haryana Janhit Congress last week snapped its three-year-old alliance with BJP accusing the saffron party of repeated betrayal.
The BJP is now contesting the Haryana polls independently and is eyeing to win more than 60 of the total 90 seats on its own. The SAD and BJP run an alliance government in Punjab while the Akali Dal is also a key partner and ally of the NDA. Out of a total of 90 seats, INLD has left two seats for the SAD to contest in Haryana–Ambala City and Kalanwali. INLD’s Hisar MP, Dushyant Chautala had yesterday in Jalandhar declared Badal as the star campaigner for the party for the assembly polls in Haryana.
The Badal and the Chautala clans also share close family relations. Dushyant said Badal and other SAD leaders would campaign not only for SAD candidates, they would also campaign for INLD across Haryana.
INLD’s State unit chief Ashok Arora said that his party and SAD have an old alliance in Haryana and no-one should have any objection.
“We also fought the 2009 assembly polls together and even in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Punjab Chief Minister and other SAD leaders campaigned for us. Now again, for the October assembly polls, we are fighting the polls together, why should anyone have an objection,” Arora said.
SAD’s General Secretary, Maheshinder Singh Grewal said that INLD was an old and trusted ally. When asked about Haryana BJP unit taking objection to Badal campaigning for the INLD, Grewal said, “I have not talked to Badal sahib or SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal. Only they can make any further comment on this matter”.
In the absence of Om Parkash Chautala who is serving a prison term in connection with a teachers recruitment scam in Haryana over 14 years back, the INLD, is banking on the Badals to actively campaign for the party to boost its prospects. However, the Haryana BJP does not want to give away any advantage to the main opposition party, especially when the party is looking to wrest power from the ruling Congress and form a government on its own.
The BJP had put up an impressive performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls winning seven of the eight seats it had contested. In the recent Lok Sabha polls as well, Badal had campaigned for INLD in Haryana and in his speeches claimed that he would make efforts to bring INLD and BJP together, which, however, did not materialise.