BJP opts for solo Punjab contest after alliance talks falter

State BJP Chief Sunil Jakhar emphasised that the decision to contest independently was made after extensive consultations with the public, local leaders, and grassroots workers. Jakhar asserted that the BJP remains committed to Punjab’s future, particularly the welfare of its youth and farmers.

| Updated: 27 March, 2024 12:42 pm IST
BJP Headquarter, New Delhi (Archive Photo)

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced its intention to independently contest all 13 seats in Punjab, thereby putting an end to speculation regarding the Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) potential return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). This decision paves the way for a four-cornered electoral battle in the state.

According to sources, BJP Chief JP Nadda made a final attempt to negotiate an alliance with SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday night. However, negotiations collapsed as SAD insisted on certain demands, including the relocation of radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and other Sikh prisoners from Assam’s Dibrugarh to Punjab, citing difficulties faced by their families in meeting them.

ALSO READ: Adani Ports takes over Gopalpur port in Rs 3080 Cr deal

State BJP Chief Sunil Jakhar emphasised that the decision to contest independently was made after extensive consultations with the public, local leaders, and grassroots workers. Jakhar asserted that the BJP remains committed to Punjab’s future, particularly the welfare of its youth and farmers.

The breakdown in talks between BJP and SAD occurred due to the latter’s insistence on certain conditions for the alliance, including the withdrawal of cases against farmers involved in protests against the agricultural reform laws. SAD had withdrawn from the NDA in 2020 following the passage of these contentious laws in Parliament.

ALSO READ: BJP nominates 6 Congress turncoats in Himachal Pradesh

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, SAD sought assurances on minimum support prices for various crops and compensation for those affected by incidents such as the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, SAD demanded the release of Sikh prisoners, including Balwant Singh Rajoana, and consultation with the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on Sikh-related issues.

While SAD and BJP have historically been allies since 1996, their inability to reach a consensus on seat-sharing and other demands led to the dissolution of talks. The AAP and Congress are also contesting independently in Punjab, despite being part of the opposition alliance in neighbouring states. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress emerged victorious in eight out of the 13 seats in Punjab, while SAD and BJP secured two seats each, and AAP won one seat.

Also Read Story

JKNC announces Omar Abdullah’s candidacy for North Kashmir

MEA moves embassy due to worsening situation in Myanmar

INTERVIEW| Indian Army sufficient to counter China, don’t need to use my Dao: Pema Khandu on ‘names’

INTERVIEW| Manmohan govt took bribe to release North East funds: Arunachal Pradesh CM