SAD, BSP seal seat-sharing deal for 2022 Punjab polls

Published on Jun 12, 2021 10:11 PM IST

Blurb: Akali Dal spares 20 seats — eight in Doaba, seven in Malwa and five in Majha — for the Mayawati-led party Chandigarh The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday announced the electoral tie-up for the 2022 Punjab assembly polls, striking a deal to contest 97 and 20 seats, respectively

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Blurb: Akali Dal spares 20 seats — eight in Doaba, seven in Malwa and five in Majha — for the Mayawati-led party

Chandigarh The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday announced the electoral tie-up for the 2022 Punjab assembly polls, striking a deal to contest 97 and 20 seats, respectively. The state has 117 assembly seats.

The formal announcement of the alliance was made by SAD chief Sukhbir Badal in the presence of BSP’s national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra at a joint press conference held at the SAD headquarters here.

Sukhbir said the BSP will contest eight seats in Doaba that is considered party’s stronghold because of its deep-rooted rapport with the Ravidasia community. The party will contest seven seats in Malwa and five in Majha regions, he said. Nearly 40% population in Punjab belongs to Dalits.

The BSP will contest Kartarpur, Jalandhar West, Jalandhar North, Ludhiana North, Pathankot, Amritsar Central, Amritsar North and Mohali. The Mayawati-led party will also fight from Phagwara, Hoshiarpur City, Tanda, Dasuya, Chamkaur Sahib, Bassi Pathana, Mehal Kalan, Nawanshahr, Sujanpur, Bhoa, Anandpur Sahib and Payal seats.

Reacting to the development, Mayawati, through a tweet, termed the alliance “a new political and social initiative that will usher in a new beginning in the prosperity of Punjab”.

SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal described the alliance as the “beginning of a secular, federal-democratic revolution in the state and the country for a total socio-economic and political revamp of polity”. “The process of justice and equality for the poor, the downtrodden and the minorities will also get a boost with this development,” Senior Badal said in a statement.

Of the 20 seats given to the BSP, eight are reserved for Scheduled Castes candidates and 11 are ones which SAD would leave for the BJP when the two parties were in an alliance. Eight seats are dominated by urban voters having sizeable chunk of Dalits.

“Today is a historic day... A big turn in Punjab’s politics. This is not just an alliance for the 2022 assembly polls but for other coming elections as well as SAD has the history of not betraying its alliance partners,” Sukhbir said at the joint press conference.

Sukhbir said both the SAD and the BSP has the same ideology and has always worked for the welfare of farmers, the poor and ‘khet mazdoor’. He said each and every facility extended to the weaker sections, be it aata-daal, old age pension or Shagun scheme, was started by Parkash Singh Badal. “The Congress party has not initiated a single welfare scheme for the weaker sections and is responsible for terminating schemes like the SC Scholarship scheme. It was because of these factors that there was a demand from the grassroots level of both the SAD and the BSP to come on a common front,” he said.

Mishra said the BSP has chosen to align with the “strongest party” in Punjab and both parties had come together after 25 years since the 1996 Lok Sabha elections when the alliance had swept 11 out of the 13 seats.

He said BSP president Mayawati wanted to come and announce the alliance herself but couldn’t make it due to Covid restrictions.

Sukhbir said both parties will soon constitute a co-ordination committee to further chalk out a common strategy. After the announcement, top leaders from both factions met SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal at his MLA flat. Mishra made Mayawati speak to the senior Badal and according to a video of this conversation released by the SAD, senior Badal also suggested Mayawati to contest from Punjab.

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