SAD, BJP arrive at understanding
Unlike in 2008, the block samiti, zila parishad and panchayat elections scheduled in May will be a smooth affair between the SAD and the BJP. The two parties had competed against each other in the last elections despite being allies.chandigarh Updated: Apr 24, 2013 20:44 IST
Unlike in 2008, the block samiti, zila parishad and panchayat elections scheduled in May will be a smooth affair between the SAD and the BJP.
The two parties had competed against each other in the last elections despite being allies. Clashes between their workers were also reported from some places, prompting national-level BJP leaders to intervene to iron out the differences between the coalition partners.
As a mark of protest, a cabinet minister of the BJP in the previous government (2007-12) had even threatened to resign, but SAD-BJP leaders managed to pacify him.
"We took up the matter with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and he immediately agreed to a seat-sharing arrangement," said Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma. A two-member committee comprising Dr Daljit Singh Cheema of the SAD and Tiksan Sud of the BJP has been constituted for the purpose, he said.
"Instead of working out any arithmetic for seat-sharing, we will simply field candidates who have better chances of winning, irrespective of whether they belong to the SAD or the BJP," said Sharma.
In all, 323 wards of 22 zila parishads and about 1,700 wards of 145 block samitis will be going to the poll.
The process of filing nominations will begin on Friday. While the zila parishad and block samiti polls will take place on May 12, the elections to 13,162 panchayats will be conducted from May 26 to 30. There are 81,631 wards for the panchayat polls.
"We have arrived at a mutual understanding with the BJP to ensure smooth elections. Field reports from MLAs and constituency in-charges are pouring in, and we are in the process of finalising candidates," Dr Cheema told HT.
During the previous elections, the SAD did not allow the BJP to make its presence felt in rural Akali strongholds. Political analysts feel that the 2012 assembly elections have changed the dynamics of Akali politics. Having made inroads in urban areas, the SAD is now shedding its image of "a party of peasants with rural base", and is hence allowing the BJP to have its share in the rural pie.