Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal would kick-start the party campaign for the December 4 Delhi assembly elections on Friday.
Sukhbir has called senior SAD leaders, including MLAs and ministers, to Delhi for a meeting on Friday. Revenue minister and Youth Akali Dal president Bikram Singh Majithia said the party was planning intensive campaigning in the four assembly constituencies from where SAD candidates are contesting.
The SAD is contesting the elections in alliance with the BJP. Party candidates Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Shyam Lal Sharma are contesting from west Delhi's Rajouri Garden and Hari Nagar seats, respectively, on the SAD symbol (scales). From Kalkaji and Shahdara, Harmeet Singh Kalka and Jatinder Singh Shanty are contesting on the BJP's symbol (lotus).
"Our focus is on these four constituencies, where we had planned door-to-door campaigning, targeting every voter. SAD leaders would also campaign in other constituencies as and when required by the BJP," SAD's Delhi unit president Manjit Singh GK told HT, adding that Sikhs in Delhi were excited about SAD candidates, especially after the party's victory in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) polls early this year.
"Apart from senior leaders, MLAs and Akali cabinet ministers from Punjab, members of the SAD political affairs committee, district presidents and vice-presidents of the Youth Akali Dal and leaders from the Majha belt would take part in campaigning for the polls," said Majithia, adding that the SAD's prospects in Delhi were on the upswing, especially after Sirsa's victory over former DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna in the DSGMC polls.
The SAD's Delhi affairs incharge Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said the SAD would release its elections manifesto on Saturday, adding that the main issues were punishment to perpetrators of the 1984 riots, restoration of teaching of Punjabi language as a subject in universities and affiliated colleges in Delhi, and protecting rights of minorities.
Hi-tech poll push
Jalandhar: SAD secretary Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema told Hindustan Times, "All poll activities would be monitored by the central election office in Rakab Ganj Gurdwara (Delhi) and all candidates would open their offices in their constituencies." He added that a dedicated contingent of Akali leaders from Punjab would be deputed in all four constituencies for extensive campaigning.
Voters of the four constituencies would be contacted through SMS and e-mails to apprise them of the policies of the NDA in general and the SAD in particular in Punjab, he said.
Senior Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Channi told HT that he had been asked to prepare the list of Akali leaders who had influence in New Delhi.
"I have made a team of Akali leaders who would extensively campaign in Hari Nagar assembly segment," he added.
It is learnt that the state government has instructed Punjab Bhawan in New Delhi to accommodate all Akali leaders, whosoever want to stay there during campaigning.