To regain power in the 2017 assembly elections, the Congress in Punjab plans a grand alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left to counter the ruling SAD-BJP combine.
Hinting at the grand alliance with Mayawati’s BSP and the CPM and CPI, Amarinder said: “I will like to meet Mayawati to work out a possible poll alliance. She has an interest in Punjab as BSP founder Kanshi Ram was from the state.”
The talks are yet to be initiated, said Amarinder, adding that he sees a hope for a tangible alliance as BSP state president Avtar Singh Karimpuri has recently expressed willingness for an alliance with the Congress.Amarinder said the alliance with the BSP is being worked out by the party’s national unit for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. This can be replicated in Punjab too, he said.
The BSP contested on all 117 seats in the 2012 assembly polls in the state but failed to win even a single seat. However, BSP candidates lost elections by thin margins on many seats. The alliance will benefit both the Congress and the BSP, said Amarinder.
He also hinted of an alliance with the Left parties. “We had a poll alliance with the Left in the past which can be worked out again,” said Amarinder.
“The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is in doldrums. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received some support initially, but it is waning now. People have leaving AAP, but we can’t underestimate our enemies,” said Amarinder, conveying that he was not looking for a poll alliance due to any compulsion, but to make the Congress the strongest contender in the 2017 polls.
BSP OPEN TO ALLIANCE: KARIMPURI
BSP state chief Avtar Singh Karimpuri said the party was open to a sincere and concrete alliance with the Congress. “In case I receive a proposal, I will discuss it with the party leadership,” he added.
Amarinder said in 2017, the youth (18-40 years) population is expected to touch 90 lakh of total 290 lakh in the state. Keeping this in mind, the Congress plans to reach out to young voters in colleges and universities for which a plan would be unveiled on Sunday. The Congress is planning to depute 20 volunteers per polling booth, he added.
SEES PPP OVER AAP
Amarinder rated People’s Party of Punjab (PPP), which was merged into the Congress on January 20, by its president Manpreet Badal, better than the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). “The PPP may not win a single seat in the assembly polls, but it has an agenda and stood for the issues. On the other hand, the AAP has no agenda or a plan for Punjab,” he added.