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Posted at: Apr 18, 2019, 7:08 AM; last updated: Apr 18, 2019, 7:08 AM (IST)

In a first, Badals to lend might to BJP campaign

Allying with INLD in past, SAD now to woo Sikh voters for saffron party
In a first, Badals to lend might to BJP campaign
SAD president Sukhbir Badal is going to be a star campaigner for the BJP in Haryana. File

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 17

Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and SAD president Sukhbir Badal are set to spice up the election campaign of the BJP for the first time in Haryana.

The father-son duo is set to be ‘star campaigners’ for the BJP in certain Lok Sabha seats in which there is a sizeable Sikh electorate. A detailed programme for their campaigning, especially with senior leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, will be chalked out soon, BJP sources said here today.

The sources said the duo would specifically be requested to campaign on the Lok Sabha seats in the GT Road belt — Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Sonepat — where the Sikh electorate could be a deciding factor. The two leaders would also campaign for the BJP in Sirsa, which borders Punjab.

The SAD, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Punjab, had an electoral alliance with the INLD in Haryana for a long time because of the close family ties between INLD founder Devi Lal and Badal Senior. In fact, sitting INLD MP from Sirsa Charanjit Singh Rori was a SAD legislator in the Haryana Assembly at one point of time. Till the last Assembly poll, the SAD and the INLD had a formal alliance.

Despite the SAD-INLD alliance in Haryana, the BJP had tied up with the SAD in several neighbouring states such as Punjab, Delhi and Uttarakhand. However, in recent times the ties between the Devi Lal and Badal clans have been far from cordial on account of the changing political equations between the BJP and SAD and the INLD’s dwindling mass base after the split in the party.

Recently, Badal Senior was present at Gandhinagar when Amit Shah filed his nomination papers, indicating that the SAD wanted the alliance with the BJP to be more broad-based.

This was followed by SAD vice-president and Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder sharing stage with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at Narwana where the latter termed the SAD as the BJP’s “natural ally”. They also announced their resolve to continue the alliance for the Assembly poll later this year.

Likely to cover GT Road belt  

  • Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir set to share stage with Modi, Amit Shah in Haryana.
  • The Badals likely to campaign in the GT Road belt seats — Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Sonepat — and Sirsa on the Punjab border.
  • Earlier, despite an alliance with the BJP at the national level, the SAD had an alliance with the INLD in Haryana.
  • Close family relations between Devi Lal clan and the Badal family have turned sour in recent times.
  • Recently Khattar termed SAD as the BJP’s ‘national ally’ and resolved to continue the ‘alliance’ for the Assembly polls too.

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