Sinking SAD extends tacit support to Congress to stop AAP influence in Punjab
By Satinder Bains/Punjab News Express
CHANDIGARH: The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) which seems to dumped its hopes of making a comeback in the February 4 assembly elections in Punjab has extended tacit support to Congress candidates in many seats to stop the emerging influence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The allegations by AAP that ruling SAD-BJP alliance and Congress were jointly fighting elections against AAP is not without substance and the mass exchange of leaders between SAD and Congress is strong indication of secret pact between two parties. AAP is riding high on strong anti-incumbency wave in Punjab and challenged the traditional political parties for the first time.
A news item in a daily English newspaper with the headline ‘SAD-BJP leaders extend support to Cong’ endorses the allegations of AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal to certain extent. Even the reports coming from various reliable quarters have suggested that SAD and BJP where they are on weak wicket have told its cadre to support the Congress candidates as a last ditch to counter AAP.
The said news item is related to Kharar assembly constituency where Jagmohan Singh of Congress is pitted against Kanwar Sandhu of AAP and a real estate baron Ranjit Singh Gill of SAD. Gill a resident of Ropar is not considered a winning candidate who is from a non-political background and hardly socialized with the people of area. The position is similar to JJ Singh of SAD who is fielded against Capt Amarinder Singh at Patiala. It is largely believed that JJ Singh is choice of Sukhbir Badal to make the contest easy for Capt Amarinder Singh.
About six sitting MLAs of SAD had crossed over to Congress and several Congress leaders have jumped the wall to join SAD. It is believed that both parties have stage managed the shifting of leaders for common political convenience.It is recalled that three Congress MLAs Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu from Talwandi Sabo, Joginder Pal Jain from Moga and Arvind Khanna, all close confidents of Capt Amarinder, had resigned from Congress and two of them Sidhu and Jain were re-elected on SAD seats while thir seat of Dhuri was also won by SAD. It is understood that Capt Amarinder Singh had helped Sukhbir Badal to win three seats to enable him to get majority in the assembly to check BJP pressure. It is in this context that Sukhbir Badal is now helping Capt Amarinder Singh.
The political observers said that SAD is sure of its defeat due to high anti-incumbency and now the game plan is to stop AAP and boost chances of Congress. Badal family will feel safe in the hands of Congress while AAP if voted to power may dig out the scams in drugs, illegal mining, transport and other sectors.