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Akalis ignore BJP demand for more seats in elections to municipal bodies

The alliance had different seat-sharing pacts for the civic body polls in municipal corporations of Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala in the previous corporation polls.

punjab Updated: Dec 02, 2017 10:55 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab civic polls,BJP,Akali dal
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal (left), and Punjab BJP chief Vijay Sampla(HT Photos)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) on Friday failed to convince its alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to increase its share of seats for the civic body polls in municipal corporations of Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala, to be held on December 17.

The alliance had different seat-sharing pacts for the three cities in the previous corporation polls.

In Jalandhar, the BJP and SAD had contested on a ratio of 65:35 while in Amritsar, they fought on 60:40 basis. In both these cities, the BJP had grabbed the post of mayor.

In Patiala, SAD had the lion’s share with 70% seats in its kitty, leaving BJP with 30%. Akalis had the post of mayor in the city.

BJP’S ARGUMENT

However, since the number of wards has increased sharply after the delimitation process this time, the saffron party was seeking a larger share, especially in the newly formed wards, claiming that it has bigger base in urban areas.

The BJP’s district chiefs in all cities have been seeking more seats, citing many reasons. One of these was the argument that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very popular among urban people and the party enjoys better goodwill than Akalis.

Sources said the BJP was expecting to increase its share of seats by at least 5% in both Jalandhar and Amritsar. The party was also seeking larger share in the municipal councils going to polls on the same day.

‘SAD DID NOT TAKE NOTICE’

They, however, said the SAD leadership in a meeting of the alliance partners on Friday did not even take notice of any demand raised by the BJP leaders and pressed for the existing formula.

Those present in the meeting were BJP’s Punjab affairs in-charge Prabhat Jha, state party president Vijay Sampla, former state chiefs Kamal Sharma, Manoranjan Kalia and Ashwani Sharma. SAD representatives were led by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

A SAD statement released after the meeting specifically mentioned that “where new wards have been created, they will be divided as per existing ratio”.

It was also decided in the meeting that senior leaders of both parties will go to the election areas on Saturday and take along local leaders to divide the wards between both the partners.

At the state level, a two member coordination committee comprising BJP chief Sampla and SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema will look into the poll issues.

NOMINATIONS FROM TODAY

Meanwhile, nominations for the civic polls will open on Saturday, when the state election commission (SEC) will issue a notification in this regard.

Nominations will be accepted between 11 am to 3 pm till December 6. The scrutiny will be held on December 7 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is December 8. Polling will be held on December 17 from 8am to 4pm.

First Published: Dec 02, 2017 10:52 IST