Out of poll fray, SAD to back BJP in Delhi

Akali Dal to support BJP candidates in Delhi assembly polls

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29

Days after deciding not to contest the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections, the Akali Dal today said it would support BJP candidates in the polls. Of the total 1.46 crore voters in the National Capital, an estimated 12 lakh are Sikhs.

BJP president JP Nadda met SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to iron out the recent differences in the long-standing alliance. The Akali Dal had opted out of the poll fray citing differences with the BJP over exclusion of Muslims from getting citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The SAD was asking for four seats — Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar, Shahdara and Kalkaji — of the total 70 in the Delhi Assembly. Since then, the Akali Dal had not come out in support of BJP candidates. With today’s announcement, SAD supporters will work with BJP at the grass-roots. In Delhi, the Sikhs form a vocal and moneyed base in the National Capital. The community has some 350 Singh Sabhas (local congregations), a majority of which vote as per community voice. The cash-rich Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) headed by Manjinder Singh Sirsa is dominated by the Akali Dal.

Nadda visited Badal’s Safdarjung Road residence today, following which the decision was announced. Nadda hailed the party as an old and strong ally, while Badal asserted the alliance was about peace in Punjab.

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