Punjab’s ruling coalition partners Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had announced to contest the polls to 129 civic bodies in the state, including six municipal corporations, as per the seat-sharing arrangement of the previous polls, but they remain indecisive on the formula for Pathankot and Mohali (SAS Nagar).
Polls to the six corporations — 50 seats each — are scheduled for February 22l; and to the remaining 123, smaller civic bodies on February 25. Of the six corporations, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Phagwara, Mohali and Pathankot are going to polls for the first time, while it is the second time for Bathinda.
But, as of Monday, there remained a stalemate over the SAD-BJP seat-sharing for Pathankot and Mohali.
For the other four corporations, the formula has been finalised — in Moga the SAD would contest 33, BJP 17; in Bathinda, SAD has 28, BJP 22; and for Hoshiarpur and Phagwara the formula is 33 for BJP, 17 for SAD. Even if there are some changes for the other two corporations, overall the BJP, known to have an urban base, would retain its larger share.
About Pathankot, a source in the BJP said, “In the previous polls, SAD contested only two of the 50 seats, and the rest had BJP candidates. This time the SAD wants a bigger share, up to 10 seats, which our leaders have denied outright.”
“We would give the SAD three or four seats in Pathankot, not more,” BJP state secretary Subash Sharma told HT when asked about the formula.
As for Mohali, according to a BJP leader, in an earlier meeting with SAD leaders it was decided that of the 50 seats the BJP would get 18 and the rest would have SAD candidates. “Now the Akalis are demanding more seats,” said the leader, adding that if the stalemate continued the BJP was even planning to contest all seats alone.
But SAD leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who is in-charge of Mohali for the party, insisted, “Everything is fine; and in case there are some issues, we would settle them by tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.”
Meanwhile, late on Monday the BJP announced a list 79 candidates — 39 for Pathankot, 26 for Phagwara and 14 for Moga.
Among the smaller civic bodies, the alliance is still indecisive on seat-sharing in Maur (Bathinda), and Bhikhiwind and Tarn Taran (both in Amritsar) municipal councils. As per reports, public works minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon of the SAD has not agreed with the formula for Maur, while Bhikhiwind and Tarn Taran are reportedly held back at the insistence of local bodies minister Anil Joshi of the BJP. Tarn Taran is Joshi’s hometown.