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Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal has called for constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to stand together, keeping aside all differences. Speaking to mediapersons after meeting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, Badal asserted that his party is a permanent ally of the ruling party.

Dismissing reports of differences between the SAD and the BJP, Badal said, “Shiromani Akali Dal is a permanent ally of BJP. There is no conflict between us.”

He further appealed to all NDA constituents to join hands saying, “I would like to appeal to all our allies that this is the time to fight (opposition unity) as the battle is in six months. We should get together and cast away all our differences.”

The call for unity by the Punjab strongman comes amid opposition parties, such as Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party etc, joining hands to form a joint front in a bid to stop the Modi juggernaut ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

On Wednesday evening, BJP president Amit Shah met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at ‘Matoshri’ in Mumbai to convince him to remain a part of NDA as the parties go for 2019 general elections. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had accompanied Shah to the residence of the Shiv Sena chief.

Following the meeting, while members in the BJP claimed that it was “fruitful”, sources told Zee News that Shah failed to convince Thackeray to give an assurance for the general elections. According to sources, Thackeray told Shah that it was not possible for the Shiv Sena to give any commitment on the alliance, as the party was unhappy with the BJP-led Maharashtra government’s attitude towards the ally.

Thackeray told Shah that the Shiv Sena would think about going for a pre-poll alliance with the BJP in 2019 if they see a change in attitude of the Fadnavis government.

The developments come just days after the BJP faced poll debacles in various Lok Sabha and Assembly seats that went for byelections.

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