The party state president Ashwani Sharma, meanwhile, said he found the reasons given by the Akalis for snapping the ties as "very surprising" but added that he "felt sad" over their decision.

A day after the Shiromani Akali Dal walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the farm Bills, the state unit of BJP held a meeting of its core committee to analyse the way forward even as several senior leaders said the saffron party was ready to contest the 2022 state Assembly elections alone and “form the government”.

The party state president Ashwani Sharma, meanwhile, said he found the reasons given by the Akalis for snapping the ties as “very surprising” but added that he “felt sad” over their decision.

“The BJP has always given respect to every party associated with the NDA. But the SAD is a political party and they chose another line. Surely I felt sad as they were the oldest ally. But the two reasons they (Akalis) gave (for snapping ties) were very surprising,” Sharma said after the meeting.

Defending the three farm Bills that got the presidential assent too later in the day, Sharma said that the PM had assured that the minimum support price (MSP) system and government purchase model would continue. He cited the support of Rs 6,000 given to farmers under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sammann Nidhi scheme, supplying neem-coated urea, Kisan Bima and Fasal Bima schemes among others.

Referring to SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s annoyance over the non-inclusion of Punjabi in the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020, Sharma said adequate protection had been extended to Punjabis in J&K.

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“Under a new clause 4, which has been inserted in the new law (Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020), a provision has been made to promote the Punjabi language in Jammu and Kashmir,” Sharma claimed.

“BJP is accountable to Punjab, Punjabiyat and people of Punjab. Therefore, the reasons Akalis gave for leaving are not sufficient,” he added.

Sharma also accused Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh of using the shoulder of farmers in a bid to hide his government’s failures and rampant corruption and existence of liquor and mining mafias.

Other BJP leaders too came out with statements on SAD walking out of the alliance. Former union minister Vijay Sampla said that it was unfortunate that Akalis had chosen to break the alliance. “However every challenge also brings an opportunity with it. I am sure BJP will now emerge more strong in Punjab and fulfill aspirations of the people,” he said.

Also read | ‘Decision to sever ties will harm Akalis more than BJP’

Senior party leader Master Mohan Lal described the Akalis’ move of pulling out of the NDA as a “decision taken in haste”. He said the Akalis should have held a meeting with BJP’s core group.

“I could understand if the core committees of both the parties had sat across each other and taken a decision to go their separate ways like brothers. However, to decide in a jiffy was something which was not comprehend-able,” he said, but added that the saffron party was ready to fight 2022 Punjab Assembly polls alone and win it.

Another senior leader Manoranjan Kalia said it was unfortunate that a long association has been broken and said that the new leadership of Akalis lacked “patience”.

Kalia said that there was a generational change in the Akali Dal as several senior leaders like Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Sewa Singh Sekhawan who used to work with Akali Stalwart Parkash Singh Badal had left the SAD now. “Now, the second generation has taken over and some leaders are more reactive now,” said Kalia.

Interacting with media in Jalandhar, Kalia also said that it was surprising how Akalis had taken an U-turn after publicly praising the ordinances and defending them.

On 2022 Punjab Assembly polls, Kalia said that the party was ready to contest polls alone. “We are ready. We will fight and we are going to form the government,” he said.

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