Speculations over BSP-Akali Dal Alliance in Punjab
The inked alliance between Akali Dal and BSP ahead of Punjab polls in 2022 have now become headline in the media circles and different speculations are now floating over its pluses and minuses.
Earlier the alliance could not be matures over the allotment of number of seats in Punjab to BSP. Now the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has formed an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the Punjab Assembly elections in 2022 after breaking ties with BJP last year over the Centre's contentious farm laws.
Naturally, with the new alliance, the Sukhbir Singh Badal-led party aims to fill the gap in several seats after its split with the BJP in September last year and the BSP will contest the seats earlier assigned to the BJP.
BSP had been in alliance with Akali Dal in Punjab 25 years before. However, for the last many elections BSP had contested Punjab assembly polls on its own. Last time, when they had contested an election jointly, they had swept 11 out of 13 seasts in the Lok Sabha elections of 1996.
Both the parties – Akali-BJP had contested the local bodies’ elections in Punjab and suffered humiliating defeat. In such a situation, both were looking forward to counter ruling Congress party in the coming Assembly elections in Punjab 2022.
Now, out of 117 seats, 20 seats have been allotted to BSP and to ensure victory of alliance candidates, Mayawati BSP supremo herself would campaign in the entire state.
The chances of revival of BSP in Punjab in alliance with Akali are due to its founder late Kanshiram hailed from Punjab and contested Parliament elections from there. Other than U.P., Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Maharashtra BSP has a base of workers in Punjab.
SAD-BSP was in the alliance in 1996. After that in 1997 Akali Dal left Bahujan Samaj Party and had an alliance with Bharti Janata Party (BJP) but now in the changed circumstances with break of alliance with BJP, SAD and BSP had joined hands to fight the 2022 Assembly elections.
The only common agenda is restoring the pristine glory of the parties and to ensure that Agriculture laws are not implemented by supporting the farmer community which has huge vote bank in Punjab. The BSP has a considerable hold over the 31 per cent Dalit votes in the State. The concentration of these votes is mainly on 23 seats in Doaba region. Earlier, the BJP used to contest 23 seats in Punjab in alliance with the SAD. The Akali-BJP alliance had come to power in 2007 before being ousted by the Congress in 2017.
Despite the fact that BSP has represented twice from Ferozepur but this time, not a single seat has been considered for the coming elections. But now with the SAD-BSP alliance, the benefit is likely to go to the SAD. Only time will tell as to how BSP leadership and supporters honour the alliance status. Anyhow, BSP with the support of Akalis, hopes to have a major impact on the elections. Will SAD-BSP alliance take Sukhbir Badal to Punjab CM’s Chair? Only the coming time will decide.
State Executive Member Punjab BJP, Advocate Ashwani Dhingra – based at Ferozepur – which district once known for the stronghold of BSP, is of the opinion that Akali Dal has accepted its defeat before elections on having alliance with BSP.
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