Punjab Elections | Other States

BJP to contest all 117 Punjab seats

The Bharatiya Janata Party on October 28, 2021 announced its plan to reach voters with the slogan “Nawan Punjab – BJP de naal” (New Punjab with BJP) for the Assembly elections in Punjab, due early next year. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday sounded the poll bugle by announcing that it would contest all 117 constituencies in Punjab in the 2022 Assembly elections, a day after former Chief Minister and Congress leader Amarinder Singh declared he would float his political party and hinted at a “seat arrangement” with the BJP, if the ongoing farmers’ protest was resolved.

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In the run-up to the polls, the BJP at an event announced its plan to reach the people in the State with the slogan ‘Nawan Punjab – BJP de naal’ (New Punjab with BJP). Even as the BJP kicked-off its campaign and its leaders asserted that the Government at the Centre was open for talks with farmers on the farm laws, which remains a road block for a possible “seat arrangement” with Capt. Amarinder, the focus of the BJP looks targeted on issues revolving around the ‘Sikh’ community and national security.

As it has been facing farmers’ backlash on the controversial farm laws, the BJP’s apparent strategy for now looks to garner the support of the Sikh community by presenting itself as the party, which during the past seven years at the Centre, has worked towards their interests — be it the initiative to start the Kartarpur corridor, which connects the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district, waiving of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from ‘langar’ (community kitchen) or granting Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration to Gurdwara Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), enabling it to receive foreign donations.

The “national security” issue is all set to get prominence during the party’s campaign amid recent incidents of drug smuggling and drones carrying weapons from across the international border. The party has made it clear that the Centre’s decision of extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km along the international border was taken as “national security” can’t be compromised.

In Punjab, the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had been over the years in alliance with a seat-sharing formula in which the SAD contested 94 seats and the BJP 23. However, amid the controversy over the farm laws, SAD had decided to break away from the National Democratic Alliance coalition.

Launching the campaign, Union Minister and election in-charge of Punjab Gajinder Singh Shekhawat asserted that the party would create history by forming the next government in the State.

Political recognition to every segment

Mr. Shekhawat said the BJP will give due political recognition to every segment of society and hit out at the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party accusing them of ignoring the State and its people’s interests over the years.

Also Read: Plenty of Congressmen are coming in, says Amarinder Singh on new party

“The three parties are completely bereft of any vision to lead the State to prosperity. The people of Punjab are disgruntled with the miserable performance of these parties and they will evict them. We will go the people with an agenda of bringing prosperity and opportunity for everyone.”

Mr. Shekhawat said the BJP in the last seven years has delivered justice to the Sikhs who suffered in the 1984 riots.

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On the issue of farmers’ agitation against farm laws, the Union Minister said 11 rounds of talks have so far been conducted with the unions and the Government took the extra step of stalling the laws for 18 months. “Our initiative to address the issue can never be doubted. Our doors are always open.”

Jurisdiction of BSF

On the Centre's notification extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km along the international border, Mr. Shekhawat said national security can never be compromised and the incidents of drug smuggling and drones carrying weapons had increased manifold.

Also Read: BSF jurisdiction: parties in Punjab oppose Centre’s decision

“Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had raised this pertinent issue [drug smuggling and drones] with Home Minister Amit Shah several times and even Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had recently brought up this issue with the Home Minister. The special session of the Assembly, which has been summoned on November 8 on the issue, is nothing but a strategy to divert the people’s atention from the failures of the Congress Government and the good governance of the BJP at the Centre,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:18:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-sounds-poll-bugle-in-punjab-to-contest-all-117-assembly-seats/article37215442.ece

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