Millennium Post

BJP introspecting on defeat in Punjab polls: Amit Shah

BJP president Amit Shah said on Saturday that the party was "introspecting" on its defeat in the Punjab Assembly polls and asserted its alliance with the SAD was intact.

"You all know that we were a junior partner (in the SAD- BJP alliance) in Punjab. We within the party are introspecting on the defeat in the Punjab Assembly election and we are also trying to bring improvement," Shah told mediapersons here. He was asked why the 'Modi magic' –the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which had helped the party win in several states –failed in Punjab.

Asked whether the BJP's alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will continue after the humiliating defeat, Shah said, "At present, our alliance is continuing."

He evaded a direct reply to a question whether the BJP would fight the next Assembly polls in Punjab on its own.

"Will you (reporters) leave some work for us to decide or will you do it on your own. We will discuss within the party and when we take any decision, we will let you know about the same," he said.

The Congress formed the government in Punjab after winning 77 of the 117 seats in the March election, while the new entrant AAP won 20 seats.
The SAD managed to win 15 seats and its alliance partner BJP won three seats. Two seats were won by candidates of the Lok Insaf Party, an ally of the AAP.

Shah dismissed the claims of the BJP state unit that many AAP MLAs were in touch with it and might join the party.

"Nobody (from the AAP) is in contact with us. A statement may have been given (on the same) which I do not know. But nobody is in touch with the BJP. If anybody is in contact at personal level then I cannot say," he said. Earlier this month, BJP state secretary Vineet Joshi claimed that 11 MLAs of the AAP were in touch with the BJP and might join it.

On the contentious issue of the Satluj Yamuna Link Canal between Punjab and Haryana, the BJP chief said Union minister Rajnath Singh had held a meeting with all the states concerned on the issue.

"Home Minister Rajnath Singh took a meeting of all the sides recently (on SYL issue) and he is mediating regarding this matter. I feel that all the sides will find a solution on the same," he said.

On May 12, Singh had chaired a meeting of the Northern Zonal Council here and discussed several issues including the river water-sharing.

Punjab had recently expressed inability to share water with its neighbouring states and sought a realistic solution, while Haryana demanded quick construction of the incomplete part of the SYL Canal. The matter is also being heard in the Supreme Court.

Putting to rest the ongoing speculations regarding change in the state leadership, Shah said that Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will continue in office.

When specifically asked to comment on the speculations that Khattar is likely to be changed in coming days, in the wake of reports on "dissident" activities by at least 16 MLAs, Shah said, "there is no change".

63-year-old Khattar, a former RSS pracharak, was picked up as the Chief Minister after BJP formed government in Haryana on its own in 2014, for the first time.

There were many front runners for the Chief Minister's post when BJP came to power in the state including Anil Vij, Ram Bilas Sharma and Capt Abhimanyu, all of whom are ministers now, but Khattar pipped them to become the CM.
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