Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 26
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are in the process of forging a pre-poll alliance in the state for the next Assembly elections.
Senior leaders of both parties have held a series of meetings in Punjab and New Delhi to ink a pact. Leaders said both parties agree their alliance will be ‘natural’ in the state owing to the fluid situation over the farmers’ protest and the prospect of a multi-party contest as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made statements on contesting all 117 seats on its own in the state.
“We think we are close to reaching an understanding with the BSP over a poll alliance. Both parties have a number of common public welfare agendas,” said an Akali leader privy to the discussions. He said the election year had almost begun and going by the fluid political situation over the farmers’ protest, political parties were in the battle mode already.
BSP state president Jasvir Singh Garhi said discussions were on with the SAD and national president Mayawati would take the final call. “The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have double standards. These have been exposed on their stand over the farm laws,” he said.
The talks come in the backdrop of increased political activity of the BSP in recent months. The party has held 14 rallies in the past two months. It is organising protests in favour of farmers. “We dedicate 2021 to farmers. We are standing by them in the protests,” said Garhi.
The SAD was earlier an ally of the BJP. In protest over the farm laws, the party broke ties. It aims to fill the vacuum being felt in some seats after the end of the ties. Also, the BSP has a considerable hold over the 31 per cent Dalit votes in the state. The concentration of these votes in 23 seats of the Doaba region is more significant.
The BSP was a part of a third front in the last Assembly elections. It had contested the Lok Sabha elections jointly with the Left parties, Lok Insaaf Party and Punjab Ekta Party. The party is focusing on key Dalit seats where with support of the Akalis, it hopes to have a major impact on the elections.
Both the SAD and BSP are looking for an early alliance also because the role of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in the elections is still not certain.
Though Sidhu represents the Congress, there are reports he may lead a new political front in the state providing an alternative to undecided voters.
Increased political activity
- The talks come in the backdrop of increased political activity of the BSP in recent months. It has organised 14 rallies in the past two months
- The BSP has a considerable hold over the 31 per cent Dalit votes in the state. The concentration is more significant in 23 seats of the Doaba region
- The SAD, a former ally of the BJP, aims to fill the vacuum being felt in some seats after the end of the ties over farm laws
- Both SAD and BSP are looking for an early alliance also because the role of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu in the elections is still not certain
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