Shiromani Akali Dal patron and former chief minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal was among a galaxy of NDA leaders who turned up at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nomination filing in Varanasi on Friday.
The Prime Minister, who shook hands and greeted all NDA leaders, went a step ahead and touched Badal’s feet as a mark of respect.
“Shiromani Akali Dal is a very old party of India. And our relation with BJP is very close. And this relation is not political, it's a pure relation. We were the first party to support BJP and we are standing with BJP till now,” said the senior politician.
“Today Narendra Modi filled his nomination, so I came here in his support,” he adds.
Speaking on Modi as the next PM, he says, “People of India need to think who will be the next Prime Minister of India? Who can compete with Modi.. this (Rahul) Gandhi, it's like comparing an elephant to an ant.”
Speaking on the grand alliances in other states, “That Mahagathbandan is nothing, this kind of alliance always break.”
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has an alliance with the BJP in Punjab and Haryana.
As PM Modi filed his nomination from Varanasi on Friday, top National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies and North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) leaders accompanied him in a show of strength.
Apart from Badal, BJP President Amit Shah, Janata Dal (United) chief and Bihar Chief Minister (CM) Nitish Kumar, Shiromani Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio, Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan, Tamil Nadu Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, Apna Dal (Sonelal) chief Anupriya Patel, Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma, UP CM Yogi Adityanath, BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh sat joined the PM during nomination filing.