The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will contest the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in alliance with “like-minded parties”, as party president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced on Monday in New Delhi.
The Punjab deputy chief minister has also planned a campaign to study the issues of UP’s Sikhs and the Punjabi community, and formed a five-member committee to identify 40-to-45 seats dominated by these voters where it could contest.
The committee of Rajya Sabha member Balwinder Singh Bhunder; Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra; cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike; SAD Delhi unit president and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) chief Manjit Singh GK; and senior leader Avtar Singh Hit has two weeks to submit a report. The Akali alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party would continue, said Sukhbir.
He appointed former UP chief secretary Rai Singh in charge of the party in that state. “Sikhs and Punjabis have contributed a lot to UP’s development but haven’t got their due, so the SAD will cater to their aspirations,” said Sukhbir, adding that being second oldest party in the country, SAD had a rich history of contribution to the freedom struggle as well. UP Congress leader Tejwant Singh Raina and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Harjit Singh joined the SAD on the occasion.