BJP gets ready to bargain for more seats in Punjab

December 29, 2015 12:08 am | Updated 12:08 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A section of the BJP feels ‘neglected’ in the ruling alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab and is pushing the party, if not to break the alliance, then at least to bargain for a larger share of seats in the upcoming State Assembly elections in 2017.

There is a broad feeling among BJP workers and leaders in Punjab that despite being an active coalition partner of the government, including holding four cabinet berths in the State government, the party hardly has any role in the decision-making process.

The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats, with the distribution of seats in the BJP-SAD alliances heavily slanted in favour of the latter, with BJP contesting on 23 seats and the SAD on 94 seats.

“Yes, a section of the party cadre recently shared their sentiments of contesting the Assembly polls independently, and I have conveyed their thoughts to the central leadership,” Kamal Sharma, BJP’s State president, told The Hindu , adding that the party leadership would be taking a final decision on the matter.

“As of now, we are very much in an alliance with the SAD,” said Mr. Sharma.

Notably, the BJP cadre had been actively working over the past one year, especially in the rural areas of Punjab, to strengthen its position ahead of the Assembly polls.

BJP’s recent membership drive in the State enrolment shows nearly 23.50 lakh members.

Ties under strain

The BJP-SAD alliance in Punjab has been under strain after the alliance’s performance in the 2014 parliamentary elections was seen as below par on both sides.

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