In a major political development ahead of the 2022 assembly elections in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to form an alliance with Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) after leaving the NDA.
According to the reports, BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal met on Saturday. SAD chief Badal announced the alliance between the two parties for the 2022 Punjab assembly elections.
Announcing the alliance, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said BSP would contest from 20 seats — 8 in the Dalit-dominated Doaba region, 7 in Malwa and 5 in the Majha belt. SAD will contest the remaining 97 seats, Badal announced.
In the upcoming polls, Mayawati’s party will contest from Kartarpur Sahib, Jalandhar West, Jalandhar North, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur, Tanda, Dasuya, Nawanshahr, Payal, Ludhiana North, Chamkaur Sahib, Bassi Pathana, Mehal Kalan, Anandpur Sahib, Mohali, Amritsar North, Amritsar Central, Bhoa, Sujanpur, Pathankot in alliance with SAD.
Badal’s party had broken ties with the BJP last year over the passage of farm laws. BJP used to contest around 23 seats in Punjab in alliance with SAD. Essentially, SAD has offered the more or less same number of seats it used to accommodate for the BJP.
BSP-SAD alliance looking to corner Jat Sikhs and Dalit votes
Mayawati-led BSP has a considerable hold over the region as more than 31 per cent of voters in Punjab belong to Scheduled Caste. The concentration of the votes can be significant in the 23 seats of the Doaba region. While BSP eyes Dalit votes in the region, Sukhbir Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal can concentrate on the votes of Jat Sikhs, who are considered the core voters of the party.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, both SAD and BSP had fought independently. SAD had contested in 94 seats and won only in 15 seats, while BSP had failed to register any victory even after contesting from 111 seats.
Following the announcement, Sukhbir Badal said, “I am happy that the relationship, which was formed over 25 years ago by Parkash Singh Badal and BSP founder Kanshi Ram, has been revived. The Akali Dal and BSP alliance comes 27 years after the 1996 Lok Sabha elections when the two parties had fought the elections in an alliance, bagging 11 out of 13 seats in Punjab. The Mayawati-led BSP had won all three seats it had contested, while the Akali Dal won eight out of 10 seats.
SAD chief Sukhbir Badal said that both the parties aim to work for the underprivileged, economically downtrodden and labourers. “We need to bring Punjab’s economy back on track, and we are sure that it will be done following our victory,” he added.