Now, Akali Dal announces support for BJP in Delhi

Now, Shiromani Akali Dal announces support for BJP in Delhi

The BJP wanted the Akali Dal to drop its demand for inclusion of Muslims in CAA. Badal, son of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, had demanded that Muslims should be included in the CAA while participating in the debate in Parliament but had voted in favour of the Bill.

Akali Dal on Wednesday announced that it will support the BJP in the Delhi Assembly elections, nine days after it declared that it will not the polls citing differences with the BJP on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

The decision came after BJP president J P Nadda drove to the residence of Akali Dal party chief Sukhbhir Singh Badal in Delhi where both the leaders held discussions.

"The Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance is not just a political alliance. It is bound by emotions. Being in the interest of the nation, it's intact for the past 20 years. There were some misunderstandings that have been sorted out. Akali Dal extends full support to the BJP in the upcoming Delhi polls," Badal tweeted after the meeting.

At a joint press conference, Nadda said the Akali Dal was an "old and strong" ally. He said he was grateful to the SAD that they have decided to support the BJP in elections while Badal emphasised that their alliance was not merely a political coalition but an "emotional" one.

"I thank Sukhbir Badal. Akali Dal is one of the oldest constituents of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. It has always been at the forefront of serving the society. The strong coalition between the BJP and the SAD will remain intact," Nadda said.

"The BJP-SAD alliance is in national interest, and is meant for Punjab, its people and the Sikhs across the country," Badal said, asserting his party carder in Delhi will work for victory of BJP candidates.

On January 20, a day before the last date for filing nominations, Akali Dal announced that it will not be contesting Delhi elections, saying it cannot change its stand on the CAA on the BJP's insistence. It also then said that it was against National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The BJP wanted the Akali Dal to drop its demand for inclusion of Muslims in CAA. Badal, son of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, had demanded that Muslims should be included in the CAA while participating in the debate in Parliament but had voted in favour of the Bill.

Akali Dal's decision not to contest, the BJP leaders had said, would send a wrong signal to Sikh voters, as the party was hoping to take advantage of the denial of tickets to sitting AAP MLAs from the Sikh community. In 2015 polls, Akali Dal was allotted four seats in Sikh-dominated areas and this time too, it was slated to get the same number of constituencies to fight.

There has been simmering tension in the relationship between BJP and Akali Dal over the way NDA was functioning with leaders like Naresh Gujral, a senior Rajya Sabha MP, calling for better coordination.