Resolve differences, prepare for 2019 war: SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to NDA allies

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NEW DELHI: Pitching for strengthening the NDA in a “war-like situation”, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal says all alliance partners must settle their differences to ensure victory in the general elections next year. Badal’s comments, a day before BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to meet him and SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh, come in the wake of NDA ally Shiv Sena threatening to go it alone in 2019 and the TDP quitting the ruling combine over statehood for Andhra Pradesh.
“It is a war like situation…the general elections are due next year and we need to strengthen the NDA and should resolve our differences to emerge victorious in the next general elections,” Badal told PTI. Shah, who is in Mumbai today to meet Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, has embarked on an outreach exercise to win over allies, particularly those who have been criticising or expressing their dissent with the party, in a bid to strengthen the National Democratic Alliance.
According to Badal, the BJP and the SAD are ‘natural allies’. “It is not a relation of give and take,” he said.
Asked about the TDP leaving the NDA and the Shiv Sena announcing that it will contest the 2019 polls on its own, Badal in a limited response underlined that the Congress is the principal opposition party of all NDA allies in their respective states.
“I cannot comment on the relation between BJP and other allies, but one thing is clear. It is the Congress which is the principal opposition party for most of the NDA allies in their respective states and not BJP,” the former deputy chief minister of Punjab said.
Endorsing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the leader of the alliance, he said, “The momentum is with Modiji and he has performed as prime minister. He is the face of the NDA.”
Badal also expressed his gratitude to Modi for accepting the party’s demand to waive GST on food material used for ‘langar’ served in gurdwaras as well as on food served free of cost in all other religious places.
In the 2014 general elections, the SAD contested 10 out of 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab with the BJP fighting the other three. As of now, the SAD has four seat and the BJP one.

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