The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday decided to contest 12 seats independently in the Delhi Assembly elections scheduled for December 4 after a deadlock with alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the sharing of seats.
The SAD will field its candidates in 12 seats even if it means taking on the BJP. The parties are part of the ruling alliance in Punjab, and the SAD is a member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
Sources said the decision came after the Delhi unit of the SAD held a lengthy meeting with party president and deputy Punjab chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on the issue. There has been no official announcement by the party of the decision yet.
“The BJP is mired in its own problems and indecisive on sharing seats with the SAD. As not much time is left for the elections, our party leadership has asked us to go ahead independently and contest seats that have large Punjabi and Sikh populations,” said a SAD leader who did not want to be named.
The decision may, however, harm both the parties. SAD sources said it could win only one seat if it decided to go it alone.
BJP candidates, on the other hand, would lose crucial votes to their SAD rivals. This comes at a time Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party hopes to make inroads in Assembly seats across the city.
The SAD plans to field candidates in Rajouri Garden, Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Moti Nagar, Timarpur, Adarsh Nagar, Greater Kailash, Kalkaji, Parparganj, Shahdara, Shakur Basti and Vishvas Nagar seats. Sources said the party would organise meetings in the constituencies from Tuesday.
A series of meetings last month between the top leaders of the SAD and the BJP did not lead to an agreement over the sharing of seats. While the SAD wanted both the Rajouri Garden and Tilak Nagar seats, the BJP was prepared to give it only one. The SAD was to field its candidates in only four of the 70 Assembly seats as part of an alliance.
“We haven’t received any communication. As far as we are concerned, our alliance is intact and negotiations are on,” Rajiv Babbar, BJP spokesperson, said.