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Akalis aim high for polls

delhi Updated: Oct 23, 2008 23:35 IST
Atul Mathur
Akalis aim high for polls

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal will meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Arun Jaitley on Friday to discuss seat sharing for the upcoming state assembly elections in Delhi in November.

Senior SAD leaders said that the Akali Dal and the BJP have yet to finalise the seats on which the Akali leaders will contest the elections. Senior SAD leaders said the BJP is offering them seats where the Akalis have no potential to win.

“If the winability is the criteria, we are ready to compromise. But we should not be the sitting ducks. The BJP is offering us seats where they are traditionally weak. We are ready to accept those seats as a challenge, but we should also be offered a few seats where we have a sizeable chunk of traditional vote bank of Sikhs and Punjabis,” SAD Delhi president Manjeet Singh (Greater Kailash) said.

The SAD had initially staked its claim on 15 seats, which, the party felt, has sizeable number of Sikh and Punjabi voters.

The Akalis are especially eyeing assembly segments in West Delhi parliamentary constituency. However, Rajouri Garden is the only seat where consensus has reached between the two parties.

“We have also staked our claim for Hari Nagar, Moti Nagar, Tilak Nagar and Jankpuri seats among others. But the BJP is not ready to let those seats go. The BJP is offering us Adarsh Nagar, Shahdara, kalkaji and Jangpura seats where we have little potential,” said Singh.

In 2003, the Akalis had contested on four seats – Rajouri Garden, Gandhi Nagar, Jangpura and Adarsh Nagar — on BJP’s symbol and had lost all of them.

Apart from seat sharing, the two leaders are also expected to discuss the party symbol under which the Akali leaders will contest. “It is another bone of contention. We want to field our contestants on our own party symbol. The BJP, however, is reluctant. BJP leaders say the time is too short for the candidates to try a symbol which is new to the Delhiites,” a source said.