Delhi Assembly Elections 2020|Akalis say CAA stance in way of BJP pact
HT learns that while the Akalis initially asked for eight seats in a meeting with BJP leaders, they eventually agreed to two.Updated: Jan 21, 2020 02:55 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one of its oldest allies, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), will not be fighting the Delhi assembly elections together, the latter said on Monday, citing differences over the amendment to India’s citizenship law. On Monday, the BJP said its allies, the Janata Dal United (JD-U) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) would contest two seats and one seat respectively, but did not name any for the Akalis, which whom it had an alliance in the 2015 election.
The SAD claimed its stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) was responsible for this. The BJP’s leader in charge of Delhi elections, Union minister Prakash Javdekar, did not respond to HT’s queries. To be sure, the SAD supported the government during the passage of the CAA in Parliament but the party has since nuanced its position, and repeatedly said Muslims cannot be left out of the act which fast tracks citizenship for non-Muslims from three neighbouring nations.
Akali leader Majinder Singh Sirsa told reporters, “During our meeting with the BJP, we were asked to reconsider our stand on CAA but we declined to do so. Shiromani Akali Dal is of the firm stand that Muslims cannot be left out of CAA.’’ A senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity that the decision has nothing to do with CAA but the Akalis limited influence in Delhi. Not many agree with that. There are around a million Sikh voters in Delhi and analysts say they could affect the outcomes in around 10 of the 70 assembly constituencies.
HT learns that while the Akalis initially asked for eight seats in a meeting with BJP leaders, they eventually agreed to two. “If the BJP doesn’t want to take along the minorities, then it is up to them. They are the senior partners and so we have to go by their wishes,” said Sirsa to HT. In a recent interview, Akali leader and member of parliament Sukhbir Badal told HT, “My party’s view is that the CAA should mention minorities instead of naming religious communities (whose citizenship will be fast-tracked under the new law). Nobody in the country should feel that they have been omitted or left out.”
Other than the SAD, the BJP and its Haryana ally Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), will also not be contesting together. JJP leader and Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala did not comment on this.