CHANDIGARH: The BJP’s seat negotiations with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections just got tougher with the party not faring well in the Delhi Assembly polls. It is learnt that after Tuesday’s results, the Akalis are in no mood to give them even a single extra seat.
The AAP won the four seats — Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar, Shahdara and Kalkaji — which have a sizeable Sikh population in Delhi. Till 2015, SAD used to contest from these seats but this time the party had to withdraw from the contest on January 21, a day before nominations were to close, due to differences with the BJP on CAA and seat-sharing. Sources in the Akali Dal said that now the BJP is not in a position to ask for more seats in Punjab.
The SAD gives 23 seats to the BJP and party contests the remaining of the total 117 seats. Local saffron party leaders had been demanding at least half of these 117 from SAD.
“We are happy that the BJP has lost in Delhi as their leaders have been flexing their muscles and wanted to get more seats in Punjab. The BJP did not even win the four seats, which SAD used to contest from in Delhi,” said an Akali Dal member requesting anonymity.
Another leader said, “The four seats had Sikh voters the saffron party’s defeat vindicates the SAD’s stand on CAA.” SAD spokesperson Daljeet Singh Cheema said the party this time did not contest in Delhi but supported the BJP, had the party contested it would have improved the BJP’s vote share. “Our alliance with BJP is intact in Punjab,” he added.
AAP looks at Punjab rebirth
The AAP sweeping the Delhi elections has charged up the party’s Punjab unit hit by desertions, internal conflicts and splits.
It is now eyeing to become a third alternative in Punjab. Efforts are on to reunite the rebel groups. Kanwar Sandhu, Kharar MLA, who heads one rebel group of MLAs, in a string of tweets, hinted that he is again cosying up to AAP.
Sources said Congress MLA and minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been approached by the political platform, led by Prashant Kishor, to convince him to join AAP. Sidhu was not available for comments.