Though Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, who have reportedly arrived at a formula to contest the upcoming polls for the municipal corporation of Bathinda (MCB) in alliance, had announced to declare the formula at a joint press conference on Monday, yet the BJP's senior leadership failed to turn up for the event, giving rise to doubts that all is not well in the alliance.
Both chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and Bathinda (urban) SAD legislator Sarup Chand Singla and district BJP president Parminder Goyal were supposed to collectively address the media and announce the alliance formula for the civic body polls expected to take place in January.
Singla turned up for the event, but Goyal didn't attend the conference and, instead, sent district media in-charge of BJP Varinder Sharma as the party's representative, who, however, remained a mute spectator at the press conference.
Meanwhile, Singla said that the SAD-BJP alliance was intact and they would contest MCB polls together on the old formula of SAD contesting 28 seats and BJP 22 out of a total of 50 seats.
He also declared that the post of mayor will remain with the SAD. He, however, said that there can be some negotiations on the number of seats to be contested by each party.
As Bathinda MP and union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had trailed behind Congress candidate by over 29,000 votes from his assembly segment in the Lok Sabha elections, Singla said that Lok Sabha polls and civic body polls are contested on different issues so the party's performance during the Lok Sabha polls won't have nay impact on the alliance's performance in the MCB polls.
He also said that tickets would be allotted keeping in view the performance of ticket-seekers and their rapport with the people and the winability factor.
On the other hand, Goyal claimed that he was busy at a meeting of the district core committee of the BJP when the press conference was being held, so he couldn't attend the conference but claimed that he had authorised Sharma to be present in the event.
He, however, maintained that both the parties would contest the civic body elections in alliance, but said that there would a discussion on the number of seats to be contested by each party and the high command will decide on the issue whether or not to stake a claim over the mayor's post.
The alliance in the city has been reportedly facing trouble with a verbal duel between leaders from both sides over the number of seats to be contested by each party and the right over the mayor's post.
Goyal had earlier claimed that BJP was capable of going it alone in BMC polls and had also staked his party's claim over the mayor's post which was contradicted by SAD leaders.
With a view to burying the hatchet and project a united face of the alliance, Singla and Goyal had hosted a joint conference and a lunch on Monday, but BJP leaders preferred to stay away from both.
It has been over a year since MCB has been running without elected representatives. The elections for the first BMC house were held in June 2008 and the house's term had expired on July 9, 2013.