Hardeep Singh Puri, oil import from Russia
Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. File photo: PTI

‘Bad marriage’: Puri rules out post-poll tie-up between BJP and Akalis

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday ruled out the possibility of a post-election alliance between the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab. The BJP leader categorically said the alliance of the two parties was a “bad marriage”.

The SAD did not allow the saffron party to expand its base in Punjab, he said, adding the Akalis did not even allow a Sikh leader to emerge from the BJP.

The minister for housing and urban affairs was talking to reporters in Ludhiana. BJP general secretary Dushyant Gautam and chief spokesperson of the party’s state unit Anil Sareen were also present.

“It was a bad marriage. We are happy that we got rid of it. Allying with SAD again is out of question. It is not even a slightest possibility. That alliance cost us dearly. They (SAD) never let any Sikh or Hindu leader of ours take a lead. They kept winning because of our urban vote bank… Look at the enthusiasm that is there for BJP this time without them,” Puri said.

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The SAD parted ways with the BJP in 2020 over three contentious farm laws of the Centre.

To a question on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arresting Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Singh, alias Honey, in a money-laundering case linked to alleged illegal sand mining, Puri said the BJP did not believe in vendetta politics.

On the promises made by the BJP and its allies Punjab Lok Congress and SAD (Sanyukt) ahead of the February 20 Punjab polls, he said those were related to the revival of the state’s economy. The Union minister added that the BJP delivered its promises. “If the BJP-led alliance is voted to power in Punjab, it would issue a white paper on the state’s economy,” he said.

Earlier, Puri addressed a meeting of the local industrialists.

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