BJP ally not to fight Delhi polls over CAA-NRC

NEW DELHI: In another setback, BJP’s long-standing ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) announced on Monday that it won’t contest the forthcoming Assembly elections in Delhi.

“India is a secular country with rich religious, cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity. This diversity is the strength of our unity. We cannot compromise on this vision of India for which our ancestors have made supreme sacrifices,” the party said in a statement.

Addressing the media here, SAD spokesman Manjinder Singh Sirsa and the party’s Delhi unit President Harmeet Singh Kalka said that there are strong ideological differences between the two parties on the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act, as SAD wants Muslims to be included in the Act.

On the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC), they said that SAD is firmly opposed to it.

SAD said that differences on this sensitive and critical issue have come to the fore during the debate on CAA.

Party President Sukhbir Singh Badal took a principled decision to stand with the minorities and uphold the principles of secularism in the spirit of “sarbat da bhala”.

This stand was endorsed by party MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder in the Rajya Sabha also.

“That stand is non-negotiable. We are firm that all minorities, including Muslims, along with Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, who are facing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, have to be protected by our great nation. The Muslim community must not be left out of the CAA process as leaving them out would go against the basic principles of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the great teachings of our great Gurus,” the SAD spokesman said.

The party said during several rounds of meetings with the BJP, its leaders were pressing upon the Akali Dal to withdraw its stand on the CAA vis-a-vis the Muslim community.

SAD categorically stated in no uncertain terms that the party will stand by each and every word it said in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and thereafter in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha that along with Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis, the Muslim community should also be included in the CAA process.

SAD also made it clear that NRC should not be implemented. “People of India cannot be made to stand in queues to prove that they are Indians,” it said.

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