The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, June 12
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) entered into an alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday for the 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab.
Announcing the decision, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said BSP will contest from 20 seats — 8 in the Dalit-dominated Doaba region, 7 in Malwa and 5 in the Majha belt.
The two parties are joining hands 27 years after the 1996 Lok Sabha elections. Badal’s party had broken ties with the BJP last year over the Centre’s contentious farm laws.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, BSP had contested from 111 seats but had failed to win any.
In the upcoming polls, however, 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, while 97 others have been left for SAD.
Following the announcement, Sukhbir and BSP General Secretary Satish Mishra met Prakash Singh Badal, who even called Mayawati to congratulate her.
“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,” Sukhbir said, while pointing out that when the last time the two came together in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls, they had won 11 of the 13 Lok Sabha seats.
Explaining as to how the alliance came together, Sukhbir 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.
He also criticised the Congress government, accusing them of “discontinuing or scaling down” welfare schemes for the Dalits in the state.
Saying that the Bhagwan Valmiki Ram Tirath temple was being developed at Rs 300 crore and projects worth Rs 200 crore are planned for Khuralgarh, the holy place linked to Guru Ravidass, Sukhbir rued that “development work is the only thing that has stalled” since the formation of the Congress government in 2017.
BSP General Secretary Satish Mishra said, “It is a historic day. Every BSP worker welcomes the move.” He added that Mayawati herself wanted to be present on the occasion but had to drop her plans owing to Covid-induced restrictions.