Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday said it will support the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) candidate Droupadi Murmu in the presidential elections.
The SAD's decision came a day after BJP president JP Nadda reached out to SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to seek support for Murmu. The SAD had snapped ties with the BJP over the now-withdrawn farm laws in 2020.
"We have unanimously decided to support Droupadi Murmu for the post of the President," said Badal addressing the media in Chandigarh.
Citing issues of farm laws and the release of Sikh prisoners, Badal said his party has "many differences with the BJP" but the SAD always worked for the poor and weaker section of society.
He added, "This issue is of a woman who belongs to a poor family and she is getting an opportunity to become the President. Keeping our political differences aside, we have decided to choose the right path. The SAD's history says that it always fought for the poor, minorities and the weaker section. After considering for almost three hours, we [in the core committee meeting] unanimously decided that we will support Murmu ji."
Badal said Nadda had called him on Thursday to seek support for Murmu. He said Murmu, a tribal leader from Odisha, also called him for his party's support.
Shiromani Akali Dal has accepted the appeal of Ms Draupadi Murmu for support in the forthcoming presidential poll as she symbolizes the cause of minorities, tribals, the exploited and backward classes as well as the dignity of women. She has emerged as a symbol of the poor. pic.twitter.com/GOj9Axsw4L— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) July 1, 2022
The SAD had parted ways with the NDA in 2020 over the issue of three farm laws, which were later repealed. Harsimrat Kaur Badal had also resigned from the post of a Union minister over the same issue.
SAD president Badal is an MP from Ferozepur while his wife Harsimrat represents Bathinda parliamentary seat. The SAD has three members in the Punjab Assembly.
The numbers are in Murmu's favour as, earlier, with Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) support to her, the vote share of Murmu had crossed 50 per cent, virtually paving the way for her election as the first tribal president and the youngest as well.
(With PTI inputs)