Chandigarh, June 12
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday announced an alliance for the 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab.
The parties had jointly contested the 1996 Lok Sabha elections, where the Akalis had won eight, while the BSP three out of the total 13 seats.
Announcing the tie-up at a press conference, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal described it as a “new day in politics of Punjab”.
“Today, is a historic day…a big turn in Punjab’s politics,” he said in the presence of BSP General Secretary Satish Chandra Mishra. He said the SAD and the BSP will jointly fight the 2022 polls and other elections together. The Mayawati-led BSP will fight 20 of the 117 Assembly seats in Punjab, while the rest will be contested by the SAD, he said.
The seats include seven in Malwa, five in Majha, and eight in Doaba.
Among the seats which the BSP will contest are Kartarpur Sahib, Jalandhar-west, Jalandhar-north, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur, Tanda, Dasuya, Chamkaur Sahib, Bassi Pathana, Mehal Kalan, Nawanshahar, Ludhiana North, Sujjanpur, Boha, Pathankot, Anandpur Sahib, Mohali, Amritsar central and north and Payal.
SAD MP Naresh Gujral had reportedly held talks with Satish Mishra, All India General Secretary of the BSP, on Friday.
“It will be the beginning of a new socio-political movement not just in Punjab but also in the country where minorities and under-privileged classes will come together on one platform,” he said,
The Tribune had exclusively reported a series of meetings held between various leaders of both parties in December last year. The parties had agreed in-principle to contest the elections together but differences in sharing seats remained.
Sources said the seat adjustment was being discussed and it seems the senior leaders will make an announcement about it. The BSP wanted 35 seats but the Akalis were offering 20. Sources said it seems the Akalis will agree to give 23 seats to the BSP. These seats were the same which went in BJP’s quota when it contested elections in partnership with the Akalis.
Sources also hinted that the BSP was demanding more seats in the Doaba belt as it has a stronger base in that region. 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 the support of the Akalis, it hopes to have a major impact on the elections.
‘Will invite you to Punjab soon’
SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal later spoke to BSP chief Mayawati promising to invite her to Punjab soon.
“It is a new day in Punjab politics. Shiromani Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party to fight the 2022 Punjab Legislative Assembly elections and future elections together. Out of 117 seats in the Punjab Assembly, BSP will contest on 20 seats and SAD will contest the remaining 97 seats,” Badal said.
BSP MP Satish Mishra also called the alliance a “historic move” in Punjab politics.” He also recalled the election in 1996 when both BSP and SAD jointly fought Lok Sabha polls and ’emerged victorious on 11 of 13 seats.