PM Modi should worry about his own party: Sukhbir Badal : The Tribune India

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PM Modi should worry about his own party: Sukhbir Badal

Sukhbir Badal, President, SAD

PM Modi should worry about his own party: Sukhbir Badal

Five days before Punjab votes in the General Election, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed confidence that his party would win at least 10 of the 13 seats in the state, garnering the highest vote share and relegating the other parties to lower positions. Talking about PM Narendra Modi’s reference to the “troubles” being faced by SAD, Badal said the PM must focus on his own party, instead. Excerpts from an interview with Sanjeev Singh Bariana:

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is winning at least 10 seats with the highest vote percentage. The remaining parties will share the rest of the seats.

As the campaign draws to a close, what do you make of the scenario in Punjab?

The Shiromani Akali Dal is clearly winning the elections. People of Punjab realise well that their interests will be best safeguarded by regional parties. The so-called national parties have no interest in the state, as has been shown by successive results in the past. They have very different priorities. The SAD is winning at least 10 seats, with the highest vote percentage. The remaining parties will share the rest of the seats.

SAD and the BJP were close allies since 1996, so what went wrong this time?

For us, the issues are most important. Punjab is more important than our alliance. Differences emerged first about the farmers. Our party will always stand with the farmers and the BJP has not agreed to any of their genuine demands, particularly the MSP on crops. We are also committed to Sikh issues. Also, the BJP has taken over the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee and the Patna Sahib and Hazur Sahib committees. They are directly meddling in our religion and that we will not tolerate

Before the elections were announced, there was talk that the alliance might be revived.

They contacted me, and I told them — ‘First you undo what you have done to our farmers and gurdwaras, then we can think.’

Talking to The Tribune, PM Narendra Modi said that Akali Dal workers have expressed their disappointment with your party’s working.

If our party workers are disillusioned, we wouldn’t be winning 10 seats. Wait for the results. You will see. There is a drastic change in the mood of the people. They want us to win.

Are his comments on your party disintegrating correct?

PM Modi should be thinking about his own party because the way things are going, they are nowhere on the scene here. They picked up big names as candidates, but they won’t get votes.

We do have examples such as senior Sukhdev Dhindsa, who left SAD to create SAD (Sanyukt).

I respect Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. He is a very senior leader. I can only say that I did not deceive anybody. Deceiving is not my way of life. I respect him. I have always kept him in confidence about my decisions.

Senior SAD leader Sikander Singh Maluka was praising PM Modi while your party was opposing him...

Maluka’s praise for PM Modi was not on behalf of our party, so we have nothing to say.

Former minister Adesh Partap Kairon, who happens to be your brother-in-law, was expelled a few days ago.

I don’t want to get into it, but will only say that everyone should respect the party leadership’s decisions. For me, the party is above everybody else.

Experts say AAP’s 2022 win reflected the people’s disenchantment with the Congress and BJP.

It was not disillusionment but a marketing gimmick of the AAP. They have shown dreams that will never materialise. In the past two years, they have lost all credibility. They have made fools out of people. It is actually AAP leaders who are promoting drugs in Punjab. Corruption is at the highest level and with a new sleazy video involving Local Bodies Minister Balkar Singh, the list of offenders has grown longer. Despite another objectionable video earlier, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Lal Singh Kataruchak continues to hold office. No action was taken against MLA Harmit Singh Pathanmajra, who was also seen in a controversial video.

What will be the results at the national level on June 4?

I’m quite sure that the BJP is not coming back to power at the Centre. Earlier they were saying “abki baar 400 paar”, now they’re talking about 300 seats. In fact, the number will be less than 200.

#Shiromani Akali Dal #Sukhbir Badal

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