The BJP on Monday formally announced its alliance with the Punjab Lok Congress headed by former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh (retd.) and former Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s new outfit, Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).
The BJP said the three parties would issue a common “vision document” for the Assembly polls and form a committee with two members from each party to decide on the particularities of sharing of seats.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, BJP in charge of Punjab polls announced this after he, along with Capt. Singh and Mr. Dhindsa, met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda. The meeting took place at Mr. Shah’s residence here.
“A meeting attended by Mr. Shah, Mr. Nadda, Capt. Singh and Mr. Dhindsa was held and it was decided that the BJP, Capt. Singh’s party and Mr. Dhindsa’s party will jointly contest the coming polls,” Mr. Shekhawat stated.
“We have decided to form a committee to thrash out the nitty-gritty of seat-sharing. Two members from each party will be proposed for the committee. Once they decide on the seats, these will be gone through by party leaders of all the three parties. The second assignment of this committee would be to propose a draft of a vision document to work as guiding principles for the government formed by the alliance” he told The Hindu . For the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the main face of the campaign.
BJP for bigger share of seats
He stated that while it would be “premature to comment on seat-sharing”, the circumstances from when the BJP was in alliance with the Akali Dal (when it contested only 23 seats out of 117) were different, a clear hint that the BJP was holding out for a bigger share of seats.
According to senior sources in the BJP, the party is holding out for nearly 70 out of the 117 seats in the Assembly with the Punjab Lok Congress fighting on 25-30 seats, and adjustment of Mr. Dhindsa’s party in the rest.
According to the BJP, of the three main areas in the State- the Majha, the Doaba and Malwa, the party would fight more seats in Majha and Doaba and Capt. Singh given more seats of Malwa. “Patiala falls in Malwa and Capt. Singh being its maharaja and former Chief Minister has a traditional influence there,” said a source. Mr. Dhindsa’s party is expected to get votes nearabouts Sangrur.
Capt. Singh formed his party days after he resigned as the Chief Minister and quit the Congress. The Shiromani Akali Dal had walked out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance after more than two decades of alliance over the contentious farm laws. The BJP had played the junior partner in that alliance. The alliance with Capt. Singh and Mr. Dhindsa would associate the BJP with prominent Sikh faces in the State.