Amid the ongoing protests, the SAD on Saturday parted ways with long-time ally BJP over the contentious farm Acts. Speaking to Sanjeev Singh Bariana, the SAD president shares his views on the reasons behind the breakup
Being the oldest ally in the NDA, how do you view the breakup?
The alliance was based on a common minimum programme in which the welfare of farmer, labour, trader and other economically weaker sections was the fundamental principle. Another key driving force was to ensure peace and communal harmony in the state. I am sad the BJP has become insensitive to both these principles. We tried to persuade them to listen to the farmers. But when they refused to budge, we had to come out and stand by the beleaguered farmers.
Questions are being raised on the SAD staying mute even after the Cabinet cleared the ordinances?
Harsimrat (Kaur Badal) had put it on record in Parliament that she had raised objection to the ordinances before these were promulgated. But she was told it was a temporary measure and the farmers’ concerns would be addressed when these would be converted into Bills and Acts. But when the Bills were drafted, this promise was not kept.
The BJP says it’s Akalis’ loss to walk out of the alliance. The BJP has been posturing for increased representation in Assembly and a bigger seat share in parliamentary polls. What do you have to say?
BJP leaders are entitled to hold their views. People know who stands where. For the BJP, it may be about bigger seat share and greater representation in power. For us, the issue is how to save farmers and their interests alone.
Farmers have been asking parties to stay away because they don’t trust them. Do you think the SAD needs to have a relook at its strategy to bridge the gap?
It is the choice of these organisations. A farmer wants unity in this fight. On our part, we offer support to any organisation seeking justice for farmers. Divisions in the ranks of pro-farmer forces can only help the enemies of farmers. I am in favour of a united fight. We are ready to follow anyone who supports the cause.
Former CM Parkash Singh Badal and Home Minister Amit Shah have spoken publically about the need for unity between the two parties in the border state to ensure peace. Do you think the break-up will impact security?
The alliance achieved a lot, including starting the process of justice for 1984 riot victims and peace in Punjab. Even yesterday, when I announced the breakup, I reiterated SAD’s commitment to peace and communal harmony. We wanted the BJP to realise the importance of the tie-up for this goal. But they seem to have become insensitive to these crucial national interests. The SAD will continue to uphold these ideals.