Punjab

Punjab Assembly polls | NDA firms up alliance, BJP senior partner for first time

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda, Punjab Lok Congress President Captain Amarinder Singh and others during a meeting ahead of Punjab polls 2022, in New Delhi, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda, Punjab Lok Congress President Captain Amarinder Singh and others during a meeting ahead of Punjab polls 2022, in New Delhi, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.

The NDA on Monday announced its seat sharing arrangement for the Punjab Assembly polls, with the BJP to fight on 65 seats, the Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Loktantrik Congress on 37 seats and the Akali Dal (Sanyukt) led by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa fighting on 15 seats. Punjab Assembly has a total of 117 seats.

Making the announcement, and flanked by allies Mr Singh and Mr Dhindsa along with Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Shekhawat who is party in charge for the Punjab polls, BJP president J P Nadda said that the seat sharing could be adjusted for a seat or two this way or that, but that largely this would be the broader contour of seat sharing between the parties.

Alliance for Security

“We are coming together in this alliance not just with the aim of changing the government in Punjab, but to provide a stable government for the security of the state and of the entire country. Punjab shares 600 kms of border with Pakistan which has used the borders to smuggle in drugs, arms and ammunition and now via drones too,” he said. He spoke at length about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interventions with regard to long pending issues of the Sikh community and his “special bond” with Punjab.

“It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that not only removed the blacklist on certain persons, but also worked for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, he respected the valour and sacrifice of the two young Sahibzadas, sons of Guru Gobind Singhji, terming December 26th as Vir Bal Diwas. He also granted the Foreign Contributions (Regulation ) Act, 2010 clearance for Harmandir Sahib, and exempted langars (community kitchens in Gurdwaras) from Goods and Services Tax (GST). Punjab needs special attention now.

Despite being a progressive state it is under ₹3 lakh crore debt and we need to take forward the state is our responsibility. It will be our aim to bring back Punjab on track. Centre and state relations are important for stability and security,” he said.

Imran lobbied Sidhu to be minister

Mr Singh took this theme of Punjab being a sensitive border state with attempted infilitration from Pakistan being a continuous problem by claiming that he was sent a message through an intermediary of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan requesting Mr Singh to accommodate Mr Sidhu in his council of ministers after the latter had been sacked.

“Pakistan PM had sent a request, if you can take Siddhu into your Cabinet I will be grateful, he is an old friend of mine, you can remove him if he’ll not work,” Mr Singh said on the reported conversation. He also lauded the Central government for extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) to 50kms inside the borders of a state, stating that the new technology of drones and their reach had made this an advisable step. “Drones can now penetrate 32 kms from the border to drop arms, drugs, ammunition, we need this new jurisdiction to deal with this new threat,” he said.

“The amount of weaponry that had been caught just in my four and a half year tenure as chief minister of Punjab was around 1000 rifles, 500 small pistols, RDX, ammunition and drones,” he said. “We need a stable government in Punjab that is sensitive to all these issues,” he said, adding that the NDA would give such a government.

Grateful for withdrawal of farm laws

Mr Dhindsa on his part said that the NDA alliance came about because “the situation in Punjab is quite bad, farmers are under debt, industry isn’t there and in every election, there are issues of Hindu-Sikh or Hindu-Muslim, so we decided that we need to fight together to ensure our bhaichara (brotherhood).” He expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Modi for withdrawing the three contentious farm laws and declaring December 26 as, Vir Bal diwas giving due recognition to the sacrifice of the two Sahibzadas. “We would like that the demands of Sikhs that prisoners who had completed their sentences need to be released, but that is something we can discuss after the polls,” he said.


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Printable version | May 28, 2022 7:46:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-assembly/punjab-assembly-polls-bjp-to-contest-on-65-seats-punjab-lok-congress-on-37-sad-sanyukt-on-15/article38318901.ece