Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have openly announced that they will be contesting the upcoming elections together. But, internal fissures have appeared which was evident as BJP leaders remained absent as SAD candidates filed their nominations here on Friday.
Apart from a few senior leaders like Prem Singh Chandumajra and district SAD president Daljit Singh Cheema, no one accompanied the candidates to the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) office for filing the nominations.
On asking about the absence of leaders, SAD MLA and halqa in-charge Didar Singh Bhatti said that there is no dissent in the party and that BJP leaders were supporting their candidates as the seat distribution had been worked out between the two parties.
On the other hand, Congress MLA Kuljeet Singh Nagra alleged that the SAD was threatening Congress candidates to abstain from filing nominations. He said that SAD was nervous as it can see its end nearing in Punjab as Congress has been garnering support from the people. He added that people were fed up of the SAD-BJP rule.
Bhatti called these allegations baseless and said that Congress would be wiped out in the state just like in the recent Delhi byelections.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders are maintaining distance from all three parties and some of the AAP leaders on condition of anonymity said that they would support independent candidates with a clean image.
The SAD-A has fielded their candidates in all the 74 wards of the district. While the PPP are being selective and have fielded candidates only in some of the wards of Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib council.
442 NOMINATIONS RECEIVED IN THREE DAYS
With 298 candidates filing their nomination papers on Friday, the total number has gone up to 442 in three days. The municipal council elections are slated to be held on February 25.
On Friday, 113 nominations were received from Mandi Gobindgarh and 91,51 and 43 from Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, Khamano and Bassi Pathana respectively.