SAD 'bartered away' constitutional principles by backing BJP in Delhi: Amarinder

Chandigarh, Jan 30 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday slammed the SAD for supporting the BJP in the Delhi assembly polls, accusing the Akalis of 'bartering away the constitutional principles' for their political interests.

The Shiromani Akali Dal earlier this month had said that it will not contest the elections as it was asked by its ally BJP to change its stance on the Citizenship Amendment Act, which it claimed to have refused.

Lashing out at SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, Singh said these 'flip-flops' nailed Akali 'lies' on their stand on the 'unconstitutional and divisive CAA'.

'Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh lashed out at the SAD for bartering away the constitutional principles to promote their political interest with their latest U-turn over supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Delhi polls,' an official statement read.

BJP national president J P Nadda on Wednesday had announced that the SAD would support the saffron party in the February 8 elections.

The Punjab chief minister also sought to know whether the BJP had agreed to amending the CAA in line with SAD's earlier stand or the Akalis had once again 'surrendered' themselves to the BJP at the 'cost of the nation's interest'.

'You owe an explanation to people,' Singh said, chiding Badal for the SAD's 'unprincipled' stand on this issue, which had been getting 'exposed' every second day since they supported the CAA in Parliament.

'The SAD's decision to backtrack on its earlier stand to extend its support to the BJP in Delhi just a week before the scheduled polls indicated that they had used the CAA as a bargaining chip to secure some political gains,' claimed the CM.

This development clearly exposed the Akalis' 'selfish intentions' and the Badal family's 'desperation' to hold on to power as part of the ruling alliance at the Centre, the Punjab chief minister alleged.

Amarinder Singh further said rather than quitting the ruling NDA, which would have been the right thing to do after claiming not to support the CAA without the inclusion of Muslims, Badal had chosen to stay with the BJP, whatever the cost for the people of India.

The Punjab chief minister also said the Akali 'U-turn' in Delhi had accentuated the divide within the party, which appeared to be on the verge of another split.

'Obviously, they need the BJP to hand-hold them on the political ladder, especially in view of the fact that the elections in Punjab are just two years away and they have no political leg to stand on,' said Singh.

Reacting to the CM's statement, SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema in a statement said, 'Before asking the SAD why it supported its old and time-tested ally BJP, the CM should have offered his explanation why he is going to support the Congress Party which had massacred thousands of innocent Sikhs in the streets of Delhi and other parts of the country.' Cheema also dared the Punjab CM to visit 30,000 Sikh families who came from Afghanistan and settled in Delhi after facing religious persecution.

'It will give Amarinder Singh a reason why the SAD supported the CAA,' said Cheema. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK