CHANDIGARH: All is not well between the alliance partners Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Punjab, as both parties have started aggressive membership drives in the state cutting into each other’s strongholds.
While the saffron party demanded more seats in the 2022 assembly elections, Shiromani Akali Dal wants the two-decade old seat sharing agreement to continue. The saffron party, which has reportedly enrolled 5 lakh new members in a month to its existing 23 lakh members, is eyeing for a bigger share of seats for both the assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Punjab. Currently, the BJP can contest on 23 seats in Assembly polls out of a total of 117 seats in the state and three seats in the Lok Sabha out of a total of 13 seats.
Meanwhile, senior alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal has 55 lakh members and has also started an aggressive enrolment drive by appointing its sitting MLAs and former ministers as special supervisors to monitor the drive.
The target of the party is to expand its base in urban areas where the saffron party has the base and the assembly segments of the BJP. The saffron party tried to make inroads in the constituencies of the Akali Dal.
Clashes were witnessed between workers of both parties in Malwa region of the state last month. Former Minister and SAD spokesman Daljeet Singh Cheema said that one should not disturb the decorum of the alliance and called for maturity so that the understating in both parties is maintained.
He said that the assembly elections are two and half years ahead and thus no statements should be made. Recently, Punjab BJP president Shwait Malik had hinted at the party expecting a bigger share of seats.
While the saffron party demanded more seats in the 2022 assembly elections, SAD wants the two-decade old seat sharing agreement to continue. Currently, BJP can contest on 23 seats in assembly polls out of 117 seats and three seats in the Lok Sabha out of a total of 13