Confusion over the seat-sharing arrangement between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the upcoming assembly elections in the state shows no signs of clearing with BJP state affairs in-charge Prabhat Jha claiming on Monday the party high command is yet to take a decision on the issue.
The statement comes a few days after the newly elected state BJP chief and Union minister Vijay Sampla said the party will stick to the existing arrangement and contest on 23 seats in the elections scheduled in 2017.
“The decision in this regard (sharing of seats) will be taken by the high command at an appropriate time before the elections. There has been no final official announcement on the issue so far,” said Jha, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with party workers in Jalandhar on Sunday.
The controversy over the issue began after SAD chief and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal’s meeting with BJP national president Amit Shah in February this year.
Even though Sukhbir announced that the BJP’s national leadership had given its nod to stick to the existing seat-sharing arrangement, many state BJP leaders, including former chief of the state unit Kamal Sharma and national secretary Tarun Chugh, contradicted his claims.
On being questioned as to why he was touring the 23 constituencies from where the BJP had contested in 2012, when nothing was final on the seat-sharing yet, Jha said he was asked by the party high command to take feedback from the workers in the existing constituencies.
‘Make voters aware of Modi’s policies’
During his visit to Jalandhar, Prabhat Jha addressed party workers in three constituencies: west, north and central. Jha told the workers to make voters aware about new pro-poor and pro-farmer policies implemented by the Centre.
“If you make people aware about historical initiatives taken by the Modi government to uplift the downtrodden, there is no doubt they will vote for the SAD-BJP alliance in the Punjab assembly polls,” Jha told party workers. Jha said the BJP’s base has increased in Punjab, with the party membership reaching 23 lakh this year from 3 lakh a few years ago. He, however, admitted pressure on party workers to increase the number of assembly seats in the coming election. BJP state organisation secretary Dinesh Kumar said the SAD and BJP are like two brothers functioning “well”.