SAD to back Droupadi Murmu in presidential polls though ‘serious reservations with BJP remain’

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Parkash Singh Badal | Photo: UNI

Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal, which has been an ally of the BJP, on Friday announced that it will support NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu in the presidential elections.

A party release said the party decided to support Droupadi Murmu in the forthcoming presidential poll "as she symbolizes the cause of minorities, the exploited and backward classes as well as women and has emerged as a symbol of the poor and tribal segments in the country."

"While our serious reservations with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the prevailing atmosphere of mounting divisive and communal polarization, especially the growing insecurity in the minds of the members of the minoritiy communities under the present NDA government remains strongly intact, the SAD is eventually inspired and guided by the ideals placed before humanity in supporting Ms Murmu as she not only symbolises the dignity of womenfolk but also belongs to the very downtrodden and the minority classes in whose cause the great Guru Sahiban made supreme sacrifices, " said a resolution passed at core committee meeting of the party.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal told the media that the party was also deeply concerned over the dangers posed to human rights, "especially to the democratic values like religious tolerance and freedom of speech as witnessed in the banning of material that highlights injustice to Punjab, especially against the Sikhs".

"The party will never swerve from its core pro-Punjab, pro-minority, pro farmers and pro-poor agenda. But in the presidential poll in question, the options before the party is either to support and candidate sponsored and supported by the Congress and its direct and indirect allies, or to be led by its conviction based on the ideals of the ideals great Guru Sahiban and we have chosen to go by the latter," he said.

He said SAD can never support a candidate who had been propped up by the Congress party.

Badal also noted that several issues related to the Sikh community and Punjab remained unresolved and that the party was committed to doing its utmost to ensure they reached their logical conclusion.

He said these included "securing the release of all Sikh detenues whose sentences had been commuted by the central government on the occasion of 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Devji, handing over Chandigarh to Punjab".

The SAD president also met Droupadi Murmu at the union territory guest house here along with senior party members Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Charanjit Singh Atwal.

He told Droupadi Murmu, who had earlier rung up the SAD president to seek support of her candidature, that the party's core committee had taken a unanimous decision to support her candidature.


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